Let the sunshine in: no atypical Victorian terrace | Life and magnificence


A dramatic, interlocking plywood staircase, engraved with e-mail exchanges between architect and consumer; worn exterior window frames repurposed inside; and a glass ground within the hallway. This is not any atypical Victorian terrace; as an alternative, it’s a radical refurbishment of a former squat in east London, expanded for a younger household.

“The old staircase was designed to be impressive,” says Japanese architect, Taro Tsuruta. “But it was big, disproportionate to the rest of the house, and hogged space.” Consequently, the rooms that radiated out – which included seven bedrooms (there are actually 4) – had been cramped.

Rising 2 storeys above the bottom ground, the brand new staircase and landings are significantly slimmer. The treads and banisters are constituted of about 2,000 plywood items, assembled on web site by carpenters. Slits between the items permit for dramatic views because it soars up the home. Look intently and you may learn emails carved into the facet, despatched through the course of the construct: “Can you remind me on what basis you will calculate your fee?”, reads 1; “high quality fish oil, probiotics and vitamins” reads a snippet of one other. “We thought, why not incorporate some of these conversations into the design,” says Tsuruta. “When a building is finished, these conversations tend to be forgotten or deleted. We wanted to keep these memories as part of the house’s history and highlight the process behind redesigning it.”

The spacious new bathroom.

The spacious new rest room. Photograph: Tim Crocker

Built in 1895, the home is now residence to British documentary film-maker Ramon Bloomberg, his French-born spouse Marie Cesbron, who works within the magnificence business, and their daughters Lucie and Ines. It has 4 storeys, and a 2m-deep extension on the rear. On the bottom ground are a front room, kitchen and utility room, main out to a metal balcony and a set of steps right down to the wood-decked backyard. The balcony supplies a sheltered space beneath, at backyard stage, for outside meals. “We wanted the house to feel connected to the garden, and sociable,” Cesbron explains.

On the primary ground, a small rest room was enlarged to create an even bigger rest room; one other spacious new rest room occupies the identical space 1 ground up. Bedrooms are on the primary and prime flooring. In the basement, at backyard stage, is a self-contained flat, the place associates and relations keep.

Exposed plaster finishes on many walls gives a rich and tonally varied finish, and clever storage solutions include room for suitcases under the eaves.

Exposed plaster finishes on many partitions provides a wealthy and tonally different end, and intelligent storage options embrace room for suitcases below the eaves. Photograph: Tim Crocker

Plywood has been used all through: it fronts cabinets, the kitchen desk, and the lounge shutters. “It’s cost-effective,” says Tsuruta. White melamine (“scratchproof and wipeable”) is used within the kitchen. The home, which just lately gained a RIBA London regional award, weaves previous components with new: unique, ornate cornices have been retained within the hallway; there’s unique uncovered brick in the lounge, master suite and loos; unique pine flooring have been sanded. Exposed plaster finishes on many partitions “are quite Japanese”, says Tsuruta. “We like hand-applied plaster. It’s richer and more tonally varied than all-white walls.” Window frames from the again of the home have been recycled to create inside “walls”, with new glass, within the loos; stripped of paint, the wooden has a heat, worn patina. They draw extra gentle into the home. Fixed to the again of those, contained in the loos, are lengths of plywood that double as shelving.

Storage is plentiful. In the kitchen are double-height cabinets (Tsuruta designed a bespoke ladder); there are built-in wardrobes and cabinets within the hallway, utility room and basement; storage models line 1 wall of Bloomberg’s first-floor research; and suitcases are saved below the eaves on the highest ground.

Pywood is used throughout the house, fronting cupboards and the kitchen table, and is, Tsuruta says, cost-effective. Double-height cupboards are reached via a ladder.

Pywood is used all through the home, fronting cabinets and the kitchen desk, and is, Tsuruta says, cost-effective. Double-height cabinets are reached through a ladder. Photograph: Tim Crocker

Most impressively, Cesbron has a walk-in wardrobe off the master suite within the attic. “Taro didn’t think there was much need for storage, but it was a big part of our brief,” Cesbron says. “I love clothes and shoes, but also like storing my children’s dolls houses, toys and books. And whenever I go to France, I bring back large stocks of food you can’t find easily here – chocolate bars, salt from the island of Noirmoutier.” Her husband may be a minimalist who prefers nothing on the partitions, however Cesbron is a not-so-secret hoarder, stocking recollections to be handed on to the following era. “When I become a grandmother,” she explains, “objects like these will be no more – everything will be digitised. It’s like having my own personal museum.”

House guidelines

A set of steps lead from the four-storey house to the wood-decked garden.

Photograph: Tim Crocker

Pet interiors hate Wall-to-wall carpets.

Biggest extravagance A robust and discreet kitchen hood extractor.

Best factor about your neighbourhood The phenomenal Ridley Road market in Dalston.

Favourite room Our loft bed room with a tree-top view of the sky.

House guidelines No taking a look at any display (TV, iPhone and so forth) earlier than breakfast or after dinner. No footwear upstairs.

What type of residence did you develop up in? Cesbron: an house in Paris’s 15th arrondissement. Bloomberg: a housing property in Kenton, north-west London.

Last factor you obtain to your residence A ping-pong desk.


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