The most passionate renovator might be put off by water-filled floors, hair-encrusted paintwork, and a mold-speckled, corpse-strewn bathroom.
But for the young couple Madeleine Ike and Jonty Hallett, they were just small details in what they immediately knew was their dream project.
“We had been looking for just the right apartment for a long time, but after an endless parade of soulless places it hit the right note,” says Ike, 32, from the one-bedroom garden apartment.
“The place took so much love and care, but our architectural and design backgrounds allowed us to put the years of accumulated dirt and repair work right behind us to see the potential. The Victorian proportions and scales were still grand and private garden was an added benefit. “
(( Open feeling: the couple added a rear extension to create a 895 m² living space (Ståle Eriksen). /. Ståle Eriksen )
Less is more
Today, six years after that first visit, the remodeling of the Endymion Road apartment on the edge of Finsbury Park is complete. It is less of a renovation than a transfiguration, but rather a master class in transforming a neglected home into a calming urban oasis.
Against a harmonious backdrop of pale wall colors and floors, stained Douglas fir joinery, a rear extension clad in English larch, and bespoke metal furniture are the focus of Hallett and Ike’s unwavering devotion to minimalism and the calming power of tidy rooms.
Hallett spent about £ 470,000 buying the apartment and said that for the first four years of its existence they only made cosmetic enhancements to do the main work as they set about starting their London-based architecture and interior design studio, studiohallettike in 2018, .co.uk.
“At first we actually did very little,” says Hallett, also 32. “Simply pull back the dark, painted wooden floor, remove peeling wallpaper and paint the walls white.” Just enough to remove the traces of DIY jobs of the youngest owners while revealing the beauty of the living room’s exquisite Victorian cornice and fireplace.
Hallett is used to working on high-end housing projects for cash clients and admits that keeping to a budget for one’s own home has been a challenge. “Our ambitions for space often far outweighed what we could afford,” laughs Hallett. “So it was important to know when to retire.”
With a budget of around £ 70,000, the two set out to turn their vision into reality with the bespoke, covered entrance door made of Corten steel that replaced the former, humble entrance and set the tone for a one-of-a-kind design.
The fascinating rear extension, which gave the apartment a total living space of 894 square meters, is the couple’s highlight. The apartment only had one living room and one bedroom, so the couple wanted to create more entertainment and guest areas.
(( Natural choice: the second bedroom / home office is clad with hand-charred larch (Ståle Eriksen). /. Ståle Eriksen )
They transformed the cramped galley kitchen into a light-flooded dining area with hard-wearing Douglas fir as the key material, which is used as the main joinery as well as on bench seats and window frames.
A playful cat-shaped cutout in one of the benches serves as a hiding place for your cat Lunar. Stainless steel worktops create an industrial feel. A down-to-earth door leads into the garden, which they found to be a muddy area of moss-infiltrated grass and which they have since persuaded into an exotic plant and a harbor filled with ferns.
The additional second bedroom / home office is clad in hand-charred larch that changes color depending on the weather and season – sometimes silvery, sometimes warmer. “We were out there with a blowtorch and got the right effect,” says Ike.
“If we had just painted or stained it, the grain wouldn’t have stood out so nicely.”
That obsession with texture, nature, and craftsmanship is a constant refrain throughout the house, which is also evident in Hallett and Ike’s choice of terrazzo in the kitchen and shower – “Marble or stone with strong veins would have been too overwhelming a look,” says Ike – and in the neutral gray hybrid plaster on the walls in both the master bedroom and the living room by the Danish company Detale CPH.
(( Cut back: Minimalist design makes the room appear larger (Ståle Eriksen) /. Ståle Eriksen )
Both Hallett and Ike say the living room is their favorite space, with its original elegant features, a touch of Farrow & Ball’s subtle gray Cornforth White on the architraves, and their own specially designed furniture.
Classic pieces, mostly made of black steel and with the natural patina of use over time, include a coffee table and storage units, as well as lightweight, uncomplicated terrazzo bases that are used to display ceramics or as side tables.
Her bespoke creations are interspersed with carefully selected pieces that combine her own contemporary work with that of her 1950s design heroes. In the living room, Serge Mouille’s dramatic three-armed pendant made of black steel, brass and aluminum hangs from the ceiling, and in the master bedroom a gray Eames plastic armchair sits on rockers.
However, if you look carefully, you’ll also find elaborate high street finds – part of the duo’s thrifty sense of knowing where to indulge and where to save. In the living room, the Ivar pine cabinet from Ikea offers additional storage space. “We spent part of the last lockdown doing some Ikea hacks,” says Ike. “We sanded the device back and painted it Cornforth White, which totally changed it.”
Budgeting for home renovations wisely, she says, means knowing which big ideas require significant investments – such as: B. Structural work – and which “minimal moves” don’t always require large expenditures – such as furniture and works of art. A powerful way to tie rooms together is to use similar palettes and graphics.
In the midst of Jonty’s own canvases are abstract prints of the Poster Club, leaning against the walls in high-quality frames.
Although the couple only recently completed the project, they have decided to sell the apartment and put it on the market for £ 749,950 (mrandmrsclarke.com). They are planning another renovation project in central Oxford where they can afford to buy a bigger house.
Fortunately, they work so well together. Says Ike, “I’m an incredibly hands-on person who’s spent a lot of time on construction sites, while Jonty is all about craftsmanship and always reminding myself that the devil is in the details. It’s a pretty good combination.”