Notting Hill Flat

Our clients had recently bought this purpose-built flat in a 1960s block near Kensington Gardens.  Although the building was well designed with generous room sizes and good natural lighting, this flat had been characterlessly updated in the 1980s.  The bland makeover obscured much of the simple appeal of its original design.  The clients came to us with many imaginative renovation ideas and a passion for good design.  We engaged in lively design sessions and found ourselves the more cautious ones, warning about over-designing and overspending. 

Before long, we agreed on a general approach and all spent a great deal of time making it work as perfectly as possible.  The idea was to create a welcoming, stylish contemporary feeling while respecting the building’s original character, using colour, lighting and finishes strategically to transcend limited ceiling heights and rather boxy spaces. 


Developing one of our clients' ideas, we designed a copper-clad door from the entrance hall into the living room.  A glazed walnut screen leads to the bedroom hall, with a wall of antiqued gold leaf mirrors behind giving a warm glow at an uncertain distance.

Simple elements such as back-lit pelmets and furniture redolent of the 1960s link this interior to the attractive building in which it is set. We often try to relate our redesigns to concepts current when the structure was built, not reproducing but re-interpreting them to suit modern technology and lifestyles.

A glimpse back towards the dining area, entrance hall and kitchen shows how the doorways and a reopened kitchen hatch were reconceived as a single void incorporating a walnut post and breakfast bar.  The brushed copper door with its raised horizontal bands relates to the horizontal wall cupboard in the kitchen and is reflected in linings to the opening over the breakfast bar.

On the kitchen side, walnut shelves are suspended in front of the sliding perspex screen. The convex cut-away in the countertop follows the line of the door swing.  Lowered soffits beneath ventilation ducts allowed recessed downlights; elsewhere concrete ceilings required judicious use of surface-mounted fittings.

Apart from the antiqued mirror, the hall leading to the bedrooms is completely hardwood lined.  All of the ‘structural’ joinery in the flat is walnut, but to avoid too much uniformity the flooring here and in the living room is engineered oak.  It is laid over electric underfloor heating elements on sound-separating insulation to reduce the common problem of footfall noise to the flat below. 

Projections and concealed LED strips increase the sense of spaciousness in this small internal room. The vanity base echoes the ellipse of the basin.

The walnut elements in this bathroom float above the slate floor.  Tumbled marble tiles give a light contrast.  

In the shower room, our client wondered about extending the vanity unit into an unused duct. We lined the new alcove in walnut panels into which glass shelves are set.

Most of the shower room's light comes from LED strips shining up and down from the walnut soffit which appears to float but actually conceals original ventilation ducts.  The walnut, slate and marble match those of the bathroom;  golden yellow walls distinguish it.  

Jo G writes:

Dale Loth and Neil Fletcher have been the perfect architects for our Notting Hill flat refurbishment, they have interpreted our requirements beautifully.

From the very beginning they understood exactly what we wanted, redesigning the flat to use every inch of available space and still managing to give us a calm space full of light, which flows well and is an absolute pleasure to live in.  The design detailing is immaculate throughout, and the materials exquisite; walnut joinery and oak flooring, interior copper door, bespoke gold-leaf back mirrors and subtle effortless lighting.  We are delighted with the result.  The flat feels spacious and it's as beautifully designed and finished as a super yacht;  The aesthetic is utterly modern but the space has a classic simplicity which makes it seem timeless, which will feel as fresh tomorrow as it did on the first day we walked into it.

While many people envy expensive homes, money does not buy taste, restraint or refinement.  It is all too easy to be vulgar where money is no object.  We feel that we have made a wise investment through good design, and Dale Loth Architects have co-created an exemplary London home.  What sets them apart in our eyes, is perhaps an innate feeling for which solution to an architectural conundrum will make the better home.  This is a quality that we suspect is almost impossible to learn, but they have it in spades.

We would not hesitate to recommend them and certainly hope to work with them again on a future project.