House tour: Visit a 1960s townhouse transformed by its striking contemporary interior

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Scandinavian-born architect and lighting designer Christian Andersson-Wood’s home had an interior fit for a Victorian house when he took it on. He showed us round a property that’s now spacious, light-filled and modern.

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Can you tell us a bit about what the house was like before, and how you wanted to change it?
‘It had rotten windows, a warm air heating system with vents that took up a considerable amount of space in the service riser and some of the rooms, and a very small impractical kitchen. The interior decor accentuated the low ceiling heights and did not make the best use of any of the rooms. We wanted to create a sense of space and light and enhance and make use of the many unique features of the home.’

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Your kitchen’s super sleek. Talk us through the look you chose here?
‘We are very sociable and wanted to create a space that would work for parties and general entertaining. The main considerations were practicality in terms of its being easy to clean and maximising the storage without having any high level units so we could make the most of the full height windows. No visible handles and the ability to hide away all appliances enhances the minimalist look and even the extractor fan rises from the worksurface when needed and sinks away when not in use.’

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You’ve given the house a very open layout. Why did you want this, and how did you go about making it work?
‘We wanted to create a modern living space that’s perfect for entertaining. Because it’s a 1960s town house, the floor-to-ceiling height is only 2.3m so to overcome this and to create a sense of drama, a section of the floor in the kitchen area was removed, creating a double-height space linking the kitchen with the new dining room below.

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‘The kitchen is at the heart of the house and provides easy access to the dining space below, the lounge to the front of the property and the roof terrace above.’

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Lighting a hallway can be difficult. Can you share some expertise with us?
‘For period properties we often use a mix of pendant lights, decorative lighting on side tables and picture lights, but for this modern property, because of the ceiling height, we chose to illuminate the artwork by recessed directional luminaries. We also incorporated small LED lights illuminating the stair treads of the main staircase.’

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Talk us through your bathroom scheme. It’s super luxurious but it’s not a huge room.
‘Through the use of glass screens for the shower and a large mirror, the space feels bigger than it is. Items the users touch are important, but by mixing expensive and reasonable sanitaryware you still give the illusion of a high-end specification. The bathroom tiles, although they look like onyx, are in fact ceramic at a fraction of the price of the real thing, so it is possible to create a luxurious feel on a budget.’

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And these guys clearly appreciate a bit of luxury...

Images: Andersson Wood Architects

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Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor

View all posts by Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor

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