City View House is a first floor apartment in a former bakery. The flat is long and thin, nearly 3.5 metres tall and 11 metres deep and prior to its refurbishment was lit almost entirely by two large windows on the western elevation. The living space was open plan: Its western third was used as a kitchen and living room; the rest of the flat was split along its length. One side was a dining room, the other walled off to form a bathroom and dressing room with a sleeping platform above. The platform was only large enough for a mattress and accessible by ladder.
RUSSIAN FOR FISH converted the former studio flat into a bright and airy one-bedroom apartment. A new window was inserted into the eastern elevation, taking advantage of the morning sun, and the kitchen was relocated beneath it to create a dual aspect living space. This allowed for a spacious bedroom to be created to the western end of the apartment, next to the original windows. Full height double doors allow the bedroom to be closed off for privacy. The existing bathroom was subdivided, creating a new master ensuite, and a guest WC. A new corridor behind the bathrooms creates a spacious dressing room. The mezzanine was extended and the ladder replaced with a staircase. A low-level wall around the additional sleeping area affords it some privacy.
The reconfiguration of the plan takes advantage of the increased light level, which in turn means no area of the apartment is redundant of use.
The available construction budget required us to think playfully around materials and reuse. The dark timber floor, laid throughout the apartment by the former owner, was painted with a bold chequer board pattern. The diagonal lines generated by the chequerboard floor create the elusion of width, whilst helping to unified and lightened the space.
White oil on birch-faced plywood was used for the kitchen and built-in furniture throughout the apartment. The grain of the timber can still be seen through the oil and compliments the other textures and finishes such as the white painted brickwork and straight timber planks that are still intentionally visible through the chequerboard paint.
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