Second floor study / library / music room / guest room
Over the past two decades, Dale Loth has gradually remodelled this 1850’s house in a highly integrated design. While desirable original features have been retained, each floor has been opened out and unconsidered ancillary areas have been totally revamped to suit contemporary living. Building joins landscape, modern elements compliment original features. Interior and exterior lighting effects, natural materials and colour dispel winter gloom and heighten summer enjoyment.
Second floor - Study / Guest room - Completely reconfigured as a study, library, music room, and guest bedroom in one space, the top of the house relates to the basement through shared colours and finishes. As elsewhere the design fuses aesthetics and practicality. Frameless fire-resistant glazing to the stairway maintains a feeling of openness and the utility room hides behind a midnight blue screen wall. The party wall is lined with maple storage units, its bookshelves rising to the roof. An ascent of the filing drawer stacks gives access to the shelves, loft storage, and a glass platform with a reading eyrie. The extended stair window and large rooflights prolong daylight and give magnificent sunset views over Hampstead Heath.
The first floor is the master bedroom suite. A turquoise copper ‘cube’ of wardrobes encapsulating a shower room is set into a front corner as a bold incursion. With over-lapping planes of grey Cornish slate, rust coloured wall panels and full-width mirrors, the interior of the cube feels rich yet surprisingly spacious. The bedroom area - with original fireplace, cornice and woodwork - is defined by dark grey walls. Built-in bookcases, platform bed and japanese-screened wardrobes are untreated Cedar of Lebanon. Dimmable lighting from discreet sources creates a range of moods.
Ground floor - The living room is the part of the house most recently completed – in early 2011. Since the fireplace had been removed by the previous owners, it made sense to reconsider a focal point for the room. The solution derives from historical precedent. Shallow wall sculptures or bas-reliefs often surmounted fireplaces in larger Tudor houses. We collaborated with sculptor Glynis Owen who created this abstract aluminium bas-relief with ever-changing textures, complex enough never to become boring. The York stone plinth, aluminium-faced low-level cabinets and slender opaque glass cabinets straddling the shutter boxes integrate the sculpture and intrude on the room minimally.
Behind the house, the small, dank ‘area’ has been excavated to create a formal pond, with its recirculating waterfall descending a stainless-steel clad retaining wall. Spoil was used to form an upper terrace, where potted palms take the place of a railing. Rear windows have been enlarged to french doors. A transparent metal balcony and stairs connect the ground floor to the terraces. A main axis runs through the house and garden. From the new french doors, a japanese maple is centred on a distant pair of blue grey conifers.