Celebrating mid-century character
Reframed for a brand-new generation.
Our clients, a young couple with three small children, asked us to help them rework their lively family home.
Having purchased a striking 1970s property, set in the conservation area of a pretty Buckinghamshire village, our clients' aim was to complete ground-floor renovation works before the arrival of their new family addition!
The project involved a complete ground-floor strip out and refit, including new infrastructure installation and a little remodelling to boot.
Working to the carefully considered specification of Last Interior Design, as well as previously drawn up plans from our client’s architect, the Barr Build team set about meeting the brief of a full update throughout, including internal remodelling to improve the flow of the space. Our clients felt that the house was rather dark and somewhat outdated – so a complete refresh of fixtures, fittings and finishes was in order. Works also included a full plumbing and electrical update, including the installation of a new boiler and underfloor heating system. Apertures were adjusted in readiness for a full fenestration refit, replacing the 70s dark brown timber windows with clean line bronze aluminium frames.
In tandem, Last Interior Design set about tweaking the proposed internal layout, with structural guidance from the Barr Build direct-to-client team – their aim to improve the flow and function of the space, as well as the desired aesthetic. Bathrooms, doorways, floors, and ceilings were removed, as well as a couple of internal walls, subtly but significantly reconfiguring the space. Working closely with our clients, the Last Interior Design team’s project scope included designing the internal Crittall-style glazing, layout and cabinetry for the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as lighting, fixtures, fittings and furnishing throughout.
Rachele Bowley, Last Interior Design Director, says:
“The property had great 1970s apertures – characterised by elongated shapes with deep sills – which was a great focal point for our design work. Also, inspired by our clients’ love of their stunning wrap-around garden, we were keen to accentuate the connection between the inside and outside space, leading us to layering green shades onto a neutral base palette. The kitchen cabinetry, for example, is painted in Paint & Paper Library’s Hornblende – a deep olive green which looks great with the brushed brass and light oak. We also added light oak sills in strategic places. The kitchen sill extends to wrap seamlessly into the shelves above the worktops, and the shadows from the green leaves outside dance around it, drawing the eye to the garden beyond.
“The overarching concept was inspired by nature and mid-century design. We mixed this with a contemporary aesthetic to keep things simple and calm. We thought hard, not just about how our clients can use the house now, but their changing requirements as they grow as a family. We were also very mindful of the original architect’s design aesthetic and the importance of keeping any changes relevant to this.
“Space and practical living for a young family was very important. We created storage under the window seats for kids' toys and bookshelves – which can grow with them. We also designed a library/workstation area at the back of the living room – the built-in desk provides a second office as well as a future homework space.
“The original 1970s architecture included lots of visible stone and brick inside the house, which we left exposed wherever possible. The original windows, a dark brown stained timber, were weather-beaten and dated. Replacing them with aluminium frames in a deep bronze brown RAL colour gave more depth and finesse, whilst still nodding to the period of the architecture. Earthy tones feature in fabrics and artwork and the kitchen chairs were sprayed in a bespoke terracotta shade, complimenting the olive green of the kitchen, and connecting to the natural terracotta pots scattered inside and out. We added shallow picture shelves behind the dining table – where the kids' drawings can be on display – without resorting to Blu Tack or pinboards – a space which may evolve into a grownup artwork display in future years!”
Opening the hallway, through the removal of a structural wall and inserting steel supports, was a game changer for the property – a case of minimal remodelling for maximum gain. It created views right through the house from several angles, giving a transformative feeling of space and calm. Using Crittall-style French doors allowed us to divide the internal spaces without compromising the feeling of space and light. Their matt black finish contrasts starkly with the warm off-white walls and makes a bold statement amongst the softer lines and finishes surrounding them.
From a build perspective, the reimagining of Pheasant Cottage was a wonderful direct-to-client project for the Barr Build team. We were delighted to be able to start fast and finish on time – creating a space in which this growing family felt they could belong – both now and through the years to come.