1930's Apartment

Knox Bhavan Architects, London, 2019



Photography by Nathalie Priem     Download Original

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This tiny one bedroomed flat in a 1930s block in central London was bought by our client in the 1980s and not touched since

With no storage, it was tired, uncomfortable with an impossibly small kitchen and bathroom. The brief was for a practical, beautiful Pied-a-Terre, in keeping with the buildings 1930s vintage, paying homage to our client’s life in the shipping and passenger ocean liner industry.

The flat was stripped, the plan flipped, services rearranged to facilitate a good-sized bathroom with laundry, and (through judicial use of a fire curtain) the previously pokey corridor, kitchen and bathroom space was combined and transformed into a comfortable kitchen/dining area for four.

Every inch has been used, with ingenious storage and furniture seamlessly incorporated. The combination of veneered and sprayed finish follows a clear strategy, warm cherry veneer for the living room and bedroom and sprayed white joinery for the kitchen, bathroom and sinuous curving connecting walls. Hidden within these walls are service risers, sliding pocket doors, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, ironing board and storage. Everything has its place, with an upholstered niche to sit and put your shoes on. The screen wall to the bathroom incorporates the client’s caste glass ‘Lalique ladies'.

Between the kitchen and living room is a clear glass fire-rated screen allowing light and long views through the flat to maximise the sensation of space. Ceilings respond to the spaces below, with higher coffers between the down-stand concrete beams. The bulkheads to these beams are lined with mirror continuing the illusion of space and luxury.

The brass ironmongery, designed specifically for this project, made use of waterjet cutting and folding techniques to produce an affordable option to compliment the joinery influenced by RMS Queen Mary (the same vintage as the building), a streamlined Moderne style.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was provided as follows: 500kg/year (For health reasons the elderly clients had not been staying at the flat during 2020 so energy usage is negligible).


  • Begun: May 2019
  • Completed: Sep 2019
  • Floor area: 42m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £190,000
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: Apr 2019
  • Procurement: JCT MWD 2016 / Traditional
  • Address: London, WC1, United Kingdom

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