My clients had been living in their Queens Park house for around ten years before they approached me. They had three children: twins who were 12 and another who was 16. I realised straight away they needed more space.
When one of the clients said, “what if we just add a room”, I replied by telling them that if they were going do a renovation, it was worth doing one properly.
The brief was to make the house feel private but connected, with a strong relationship to the outside. The privacy element was particularly important as the property is situated next to a park.
The plan was to construct a proper upstairs, with enough room there for a bedroom for everybody – plus a study for the parents.
I set about reconfiguring the spaces. As much as the bathroom, positioned near the staircase, looked like it had been well designed, it had in fact been placed in completely the wrong location – where there was maximum north light.
Originally the courtyard was not a particularly nice area. It had a deck that diagonally divided it, and a green space (which did not grow much grass) that wasn’t good for anything.
I decided it was important to transform this courtyard into almost its own living space, united with the areas around it and the living spaces feeding off it. We also personalised the property by allowing the clients to make their own mosaic, in tiles for the internal courtyard.
When the renovation was completed, the clients were delighted! Seeing the huge smiles on their faces as they walked through their freshly renovated house was enormously gratifying.
The Queens Park house is a truly lovely property, and working on it was a deeply memorable experience.
I sometimes mention it to the other clients, reminding them that houses need to have the capacity of modulation. Ideally they should also change as a family’s needs and dynamics evolve with time.