Park life: London living with a touch of luxe

Working to the interior architecture and design of Lorna Wright, the Barr Group team transformed a classic Victorian parkside apartment from faded to fabulous.

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When Lorna Wright trained in interior design – nearly a decade ago – she was already armed with an impressive career prologue and reflected transferable skill set. A "first" career in global commercial marketing had ingrained stringent and wide-reaching project management skills.

In conjunction some serious industry-based "endurance training", acquired through the strip out and refit of multiple buy-to-let properties, had meant working alongside construction trades, suppliers and specialists of every description. The professional sum is an (utterly engaging) creative dynamo, with a serious toolkit!

Lorna first encountered Barr Joinery at Decorex 2019, where her attention had been captured by the "uniqueness of the cabinetry design" and their mixed materials capability. When developing the Battersea Park apartment project scope, the Barr Group offering – of design-led construction and precision cabinetry manufacture – perfectly fit the bill. The project scope was a complete strip out and refurbishment (every inch considered and no stone left unturned) – exactly the kind of challenge the Barr Group team embrace.

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The mansion block apartment hadn’t been touched for forty years and, as such, was in need of a complete overhaul. Lorna worked closely with Barr Joinery and Barr Kitchens Director Chris Leigh Cattrall, not just on the bespoke cabinetry and kitchens offering, but in his Barr Build project management capacity, overseeing all operational aspects, from planning and process to logistics and design execution.

Designer Lorna says: “The apartment was in essence a blank canvas – we knew we had to rip everything out and that a certain amount of spatial reconfiguration would be required in order to make it work. The original apartment layout was great, in that the living room and kitchen were at the front and centre, with the bedrooms and bathrooms towards the back. We needed to open up the front of the apartment to create better flow and the bathroom layout needed work.

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“Chris is solutions driven, extremely knowledgeable and easy to work with. There was no architect involved, just structural calculations for the remodel where required. The buck really stopped with Chris and I – it was a truly collaborative project. One of the main challenges was to get the proposed works signed off by the mansion block management company. The preference is 'wet over wet' and 'dry over dry' but precedents had been set in the layout of other apartments in the block and with Chris’ help we were able to show that our solutions were practical and workable.”

“Another limitation of the freehold was that we were not allowed to use recessed lighting. Chris came up with a dropped ceiling solution – which allowed us to use shallow downlights and some pendants – whilst retaining the cornice and other original architectural features.”

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After being stripped bare and undergoing some major infrastructure surgery, the apartment was redressed to the very highest standard. Lorna worked hand-in-hand with Barr Joinery and Barr Kitchens to bring a full cabinetry refit to life. Manufactured from natural timbers, as well as textured decorative surfaces by XyloCleaf, cabinetry throughout complements the original Victorian architecture of the apartment.

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Carefully sourced fixtures and fittings include Luccini downlights and picture lighting by John Cullen, and ironmongery by Joseph Giles. In the kitchen, flat-fronted cabinetry is spray-finished for durability and a streamlined aesthetic. Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue on the base cabinets contrast with Paint & Paper Library’s French Grey Pale on the tall larder cupboards and the solid walnut draw boxes. Bedrooms exhibit fabric wall finishes with matching upholstered wardrobes, as well as inset antique mirrored cabinetry, amongst a wealth of other finishing touches.

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The overall impression is one of subtle lux, all perfectly set for easy sophisticated living... with absolutely nothing not to love.