For designer Dean Keyworth, renovating his west London apartment ought to have been all in a day’s work. But transforming the pedestrian space into a stylish home proved much harder than expected. ‘This property stood out as it boasted 12 windows, which put it head and shoulders above all the others we had looked at,’ says Dean. ‘We were advised not to make any changes to the flat until we’d extended it, otherwise we’d pay more in the long run.’
So Dean and Gavin bought the two-storey apartment, then waited for a couple of years for the lease to be renewed. ‘The place had been rented out before we bought it, so it was a homage to magnolia paint and laminate flooring,’ recalls Dean. ‘We wanted to give the flat a sense of cohesion. It was also important to let the style of the building inform the decor, and the Victorian apartment still retained a sense of grandeur, particularly because of its high ceilings.’
The structural changes were particularly challenging as it meant both the kitchen and bathroom were out of use. One major alteration involved enlarging the bathroom to take in a redundant corridor, allowing for a walk-in shower, while access to the kitchen was relocated to the sitting room to extend the workspace. Once the rooms were finished, period-style cornicing was installed. ‘It makes our home seem more substantial,’ says Dean. In the living room, Dean stripped out the 1950s fireplace in favour of a granite design, and panelled the chimney breast in leather. ‘Both the fire surround and the classing are strong focal points, and make the room feel cosy during the winter,’ he says.
For the kitchen, Dean chose handleless stained-ash cabinetry, adding glamour with a crystal extractor. But even a designer is prone to the odd mistake. ‘I wired in LEDs beneath the wall units, thinking they’d be effective,’ says Dean. ‘Sadly, the lights aren’t bright enough, although they illuminate the fruit bowl quite nicely.’
In the bedroom Dean wanted to create a restful atmosphere using soothing tones and textures, while for the dining area, Dean found chairs in the local antiques shop, which adds a further touch of elegance.
Dean is philosophical about his designs. ‘You can try things out in your own home and be a bit experimental,’ he explains. ‘Be nice to your builders too, especially if you want them to carry a range cooker all the way up the fourth floor!’
Words adapted from: Emma Page-Roberts Photography: Robert Sanderson
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