Change just one thing: the staircase
A modern terrace house on a private estate in north London has been transformed from dark and soulless into an oasis of cool. In a £300,000 project, London-based interiors architect Thomas Griem of TG-Studio completely reorganised the internal layout of the house to allow natural light into every corner.
Griem tackled his brief — to create a light and bright space and make the most of the property's unusual layout — by designing a central staircase that would line the six half-levels of the home. A minimalist design with glass balustrades and pale wood treads connects the upper three floors consisting of three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with the lower floors dedicated to living, cooking and dining.
The staircase was designed as a focal point, one you can see from every room in the house. Its clean, angular lines add a sculptural element, perfectly complemented by the minimalist interior of the house. The use of glass allows natural light to flood the house, and was central to the brief of the Norwegian owner.
The owner's Scandinavian roots are echoed in every aspect of the design, with exclusively white walls and ceilings and white pigmented pine floors as a backdrop to furniture, furnishings and accessories in natural materials such as linen, pale wood, glass and stone, all in white and neutral colours.
The top floor has an impressive six-metre ceiling height, where a huge chandelier in handmade crystal glass makes a wonderful play of light on the walls. The drama of the chandelier as well as the owner's collection of modern art displayed throughout adds personality and wit to perfectly finish a very successful transformation.
Griem says: "To create a minimalist interior without it appearing cold and impersonal is difficult and relies on a very well-executed layout, selection of finishes and ample storage. When only one non-colour is allowed (white) the depth of the design can only be reflected to the viewer by the surface of the materials. It is the hardest thing to do. In this project we used matt white walls, reflective white stone and kitchen units, soft and organic white stained wooden floorboards, soft white linen and see-through cloudy white curtain fabric."
TG-Studio is an interior architecture practice offering tailored bespoke concepts and architectural services to create intelligent and innovative designs. German-born Griem recently worked on penthouses in Hong Kong and London's St Pancras Chambers, plus projects in Russia and Ibiza.
He says: "I'm a designer. I don't want to create something that is just beautiful. For me it should also work really well. Design has to add value. It should be simple and logical, it has to survive and give longevity — only then is it logical and clever."
Thomas Griem: 020 7636 3838; tg-studio.co.uk
Kitchen: by Leicht (leicht.de/en); Appliances: Miele (miele.co.uk)
Bathrooms: Thassos Marble (thassosmarble.com); basins and toilets by Flaminia (ceramicaflaminia.it); fittings by Hansgrohe (hansgrohe.co.uk)
Pine floor and bespoke staircase: both by Dinesen (dinesen.com)
Recessed lights: Deltalight (deltalight.co.uk)
Curtains: Silent Gliss (silentgliss.co.uk)
Victorian chandelier: Kensington Lighting Company (020 7938 2405)
Giant floor lamp: Anglepoise (anglepoise.com)
Side tables: by TG-Studio (as before)
The full version of this article appears in the February issue of Self Build & Design
Photographs by Philip Vile