View Article - Architecture for London


View Article - Architecture for London
islington Home
islington Home
under the
The auction room provided the answer
to one couple’s search for a home, with
this fabulous Grade II-listed find
Words: Alison Nicholls Photography: Simon Maxwell
106 kitchens bedrooms
bathrooms 107
islington Home
islington Home
Previous pages (106-107): Ben took
full advantage of the fabulous high
ceilings by using tall wall cupboards
to maximise the all-important storage.
The units are Howdens carcases
finished with bespoke doors.
Right: Ben and Susanne have
furnished their flat with classic midcentury and Scandinavian-inspired
pieces that look perfectly at home in
the pared-back scheme. The floors
were sanded and stained with white
Swedish floor soap, adding to the
contemporary feel.
“We liked the idea of the bedroom being black, the bathroom
being grey and the living room being white to create a
sliding scale of tone but also make sure each space felt very
different, which we thought was important in a compact flat.”
Bottom right: The couple relaxing in
their new living area. The sofa is from
Bluesuntree and the foot stool from
Interior Addict.
Opposite page: The kitchen area
shares a space with the living area
where the Carrara marble provides
a visual link between the kitchen
splashbacks and worktops to the
beautiful marble surround of the
open fireplace.
rchitect Ben Ridley and his partner,
Susanne Gohnouie, an events planner, were in search of their
first home together when they found themselves thwarted by
several properties that fell through. Frustrated by the lengthy
process of buying a flat through the conventional route, then,
the couple decided to take a gamble in the auction room
and it paid off when they secured a fabulous flat within a
Grade Il-listed Georgian terrace, nestling in one of Islington’s
desirable leafy streets.
“On the day of the auction there was only one other
bidder,” Ben recalls. “We think the fact the property was listed
discouraged developers due to the complex approval process
associated with it, so we were very happy to get it within
our budget.”
The project was also an exciting opportunity for Ben to
provide a showcase for his architectural practice, Architecture
for London, in which he is a partner. The firm specialises
in creative residential design so Ben soon got to work. “I
had a clear vision for the flat, although at times Susanne
needed convincing on some of the design moves, so it was
similar to working for a client,” he smiles. “The apartment
was originally a studio flat owned by a housing association
so was in pretty poor state with lino covering the original
floors, a very basic bathroom and a kitchen that didn’t even
have an oven!”
Ben created a one-bedroom flat out of the studio by
installing a new kitchen in the living room and converting
the existing kitchen into the bedroom, while the rest of the
flat was renovated throughout. Here he tells us more about
the project. u
108 kitchens bedrooms
bathrooms 109
islington Home
islington Home
Right: In a listed property full of
beautiful Georgian features it was
important to carefully restore details
such as the intricate cornicing,
which proved both time-consuming
and costly, but ultimately it was
very rewarding. Stunning fullheight original windows complete
with shutters flood the room with
natural light.
Opposite page: Farrow & Ball’s OffBlack paint has been used to great
effect in the bedroom. By painting
everything in the same shade Ben has
created a calming, nest-like retreat.
Owner and architect Ben Ridley says…
Did you make any major U-turns during the project?
Nothing too drastic. We did have to change the bathroom tiles at the last
minute due to supply issues.
Were there any budget surprises?
Repairing the original cornicing in the living room and stripping 150 years’ worth
of paint layers from it was time-consuming and therefore expensive.
Any piece of advice for someone embarking on a similar project?
It’s worth keeping a Pinterest board of inspiration for each room – this will be
useful as a discussion tool with your architect.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Not for this project, but the next project will be a complete change as I love
exploring different materials and ideas.
What was your vision for the kitchen within the context
of an open-plan living space?
As the kitchen was relocated to the living room we wanted
it to be as visually unobtrusive as possible to allow us to
keep using the living area without feeling like the whole
room had become a kitchen. For this reason we finished
the units in white to match the walls and took a minimalist
approach with handleless doors. The white Carrara marble
worktop and splashback matches the new fireplace
surround at the other end of the room so this ties the space
together nicely.
What were the most important factors when designing
the kitchen?
Clever storage and space-saving features were key as the
kitchen is very compact: a slimline dishwasher, combined
washer-dryer and very tall wall units allow the kitchen to
function well with enough storage and working space even
for larger dinner parties. A bespoke curved unit at the end
provides room for the toaster and extra storage while allowing
the original window shutter to operate. We also have dimmable
LED lighting mounted under the wall and base units, which
is great for altering the mood of the room for evening time.
How did you want the different areas of the apartment
to relate to each other?
We liked the idea of the bedroom being black, the bathroom
being grey and the living room being white to create a
sliding scale of tone but also make sure each space felt very
different, which we thought was important in a compact flat.
Black is an unusual choice in a bedroom. Tell us about
your inspiration here?
The walls and ceiling are all painted in Farrow & Ball OffBlack to create a calming space that feels like a retreat.
Skirtings, architraves and shutters are also all unified in the
same colour and matt finish to reduce visual clutter. And
with the high ceilings and a large window with lots of natural
light, it prevents the room from feeling claustrophobic.
Is there any one aspect you feel is especially successful?
The bathroom is my favourite area of the flat. I love the
natural tones and metallic reflections of the slate, and the
herringbone tiling wrapping all over the walls and floor
makes for a great space. The heated fog-free mirrors also
double up as discreet touch-latch cupboard fronts that are
flush with the wall.
110 kitchens bedrooms
bathrooms 111
islington Home
islington Home
Below: Ben had bespoke wardrobes
installed in a slightly darkened grey
mirrored finish to maintain the mood
but to also add a sense of space
to the room which seems almost
endless in the reflection. LED strip
lights under the joinery enhance the
soothing atmosphere.
Right: The bath was supplied with
Victorian-style cast-iron feet that
Ben and Susanne didn’t feel were
right for the space. The quirky yellow
feet were originally designed for Ikea
furniture, but the couple thought the
colour and shape were perfect so
had them modified to fit the bath.
Opposite page, bottom: Maximising
space was once again a priority in the
bathroom, so Ben employed some
clever features such as wall-hung
fittings and discreet recessed storage
tucked behind mirrors that sit flush
with the walls. These are also heated,
eliminating the need for a radiator,
and the roll-top bath has been sunk
into the wall slightly to gain more
floor space.
Far right: Ben and Susanne loved
the inherent beauty of the grey slate
for its natural patina and variation.
The herringbone strip formation that
wraps around the bathroom gives a
refreshingly contemporary take on
all-over bathroom tiling.
112 kitchens bedrooms
bathrooms 113
islington Home
Left: Westmorland Planks from
the Stone Planks range from
Stone & Ceramic Warehouse,
priced £71.88 per sq m. (020
8993 5545 or
Right: Bora Da throw
in Pink Slate by Donna
Wilson, from SCP, priced
£220. (020 7739 1869 or
Right: DLM Side table in
Powder by Hay, from Nest,
priced £141. (0114 243
3000 or
Left: Ritchie armchair in Anthracite
Grey with Rainbow buttons from
Made, priced £349. (0344 257 1888
Above: Vince oak dining
table from Habitat, priced
£695. (0844 499 4686 or
Above: Black Arrow
cushion from Naken
Interiors, priced £49.
(01502 715064 or
Architect and designer Ben Ridley of
Architecture for London (020 7127 0696 or
Cabinetry Howdens (020 8427 7281 or Bespoke doors, for similar
try The (0800 345 7561 or
Worktop and splashback Marble Granite
Craftsmen (020 7978 2055 or
Appliances Oven, Miele (0845 365 6600 or; Hob, Logik available from
Currys (0344 561 0000 or;
Dishwasher, Indesit (0844 824 2424 or; Fridge-freezer and
washer-dryer, Hotpoint (0843 636 2617 or
Sink Franke (0161 436 6280 or
Tap Aston Matthews (020 7226 7220 or
114 kitchens bedrooms
Dining table SCP (020 7739 1869 or
Dining chairs Hay from Nine United UK Ltd
(07703 676020 or
Flooring Oak. For similar try
Wood and Beyond (0800 690 6864 or
Sofa Bluesuntree (0116 267 0267 or
Shelving and cushions Haus (020 8533 8024
Armchair, stool and floorlamp Interior Addict
(020 3290 9137 or
Side table Hay from Nine United UK Ltd,
as before
Paint Off-Black by Farrow & Ball (01202 876141
Bed Habitat (0844 499 4686 or
Bedside table and bedspread Hay from Nine
United UK Ltd, as before
Cushion Haus, as before
Mirrored wardrobe Bespoke. For similar
try Sharps (0800 789789 or
Chair Bluesuntree, as before
Bath The Albion Bath Company (01255 831605
Basin Laufen (01530 510007 or
WC Duravit (0845 500 7787 or
Brassware Aston Matthews, as before
Tiles RR Stone (01539 822666 or
Bath screen CP Hart (0845 873 1121 or
A similar kitchen would cost around £7000, a
similar bathroom around £9000 and a similar
bedroom around £5000 including joinery