Architecture, Interior Design, kitchen design, lighting, Project, Renovation
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The Georgian Apartment – Open Plan Living Space Final Reveal

The Georgian Apartment Final Reveal

Well it’s been a while since I posted about this one hasn’t it? A project I introduced back in June 2019; ya know, the one with those ceilings. It’s time for the final reveal of The Georgian Apartment. Whoop!

Georgian Apartment

Before – May 2019

All the major works for this room were completed in time for Autumn 2019 with a list of smaller, fiddly jobs left to sort before it was #instaready. Then 2020 arrived… say no more.

Georgian Apartment

Before

Back in June 2019, it all kicked off with the wall coming down between the tiny kitchen and the main living/dining space. This really opened up the space, creating a greater sense of width whilst allowing light and views from the wrap around gardens to enter from two aspects.

Georgian Apartment

During

As the works were already underway during my initial consultation, I had a week to come up with the design, specification and plan for first fix electrics and plumbing for the living space and kitchen. The new homeowner, let’s call him Mr B, was set to move in by the end of the month. No pressure then.

For reference, here’s my recommended process, which I refer to as “The 5 Stages”. It’s something I now include in my working agreements for all new projects so clients understand how the interior design process works, for me any way. All designers will have slightly different processes, but this be mine:

Stage 1 – Initial Consultation

Two hour meeting with the client at the property to ascertain the brief, expectations, timescales, budget and to discuss initial ideas. A site survey will also be carried out.

Stage 2 – Initial Design Concept

Colour scheme, layout and floor plan, room drawings, and skeleton shopping list. Presented in another meeting before moving onto Stage 3.

Stage 3 – Concept Development and Feasibility 

Revisions to initial concept, samples requested, shopping list finalised, technical drawings produced where necessary and meetings with specialist trades and contractors to confirm feasibility and cost for works. Another meeting to sign off the completed amendments before moving to Stage 4.

Stage 4 – Implementation

Schedule of works planned. Site visits, liaising with trades, dealing with orders. Some clients choose to project manage themselves, in this case, we will perform the role of ‘project co-ordinator’ to ensure works are carried out as planned, in the correct order and to a high standard.

Stage 5 – Project Completion

Snagging, final installation, styling of the room(s), project signed-off and photography.

It’s fair to say, I had limited input with this project, completing Stage 1 and 2 but the timescales didn’t allow time for Stage 3 which made me nervous, especially with a kitchen. And Stage 4 was already underway during my initial consultation (Stage 1). Have I lost you yet? Basically, it’s not how i’d recommend working as missing out on chunks of the process means you are already implementing a scheme before it’s been fully formed. A bit like starting to bake a cake before you’ve bought your eggs and flour.

After

So, given the tight schedule and my reduced contact, I kept the overall design and colour palette simple; monochromatic with clean, definitive lines. This allowed the architectural features to truly shine. The statement ceiling being the real star. Nothing I could put in this room was going to top that, that and those huge sash windows.

After

I selected Paint and Paper Library’s Perse Grey for the ceiling, which is a dark grey with violet undertones, and Masque for the walls and woodwork, an off-white with pink undertones. Going monochrome can sometimes make a space feel cold and clinical with a lot of greys/off-whites appearing blue in natural light (which I didn’t want) but with these warm pinky undertones, it helps to make this minimal colour palette feel warm and cosy – as cosy as you can in a room with 3.6m high ceilings anyway!

Georgian Apartment

During

The room was calling out for a feature pendant light over the dining table, but I didn’t want to disturb the original plasterwork on the ceiling. No siree. We’d also have needed to take some floorboards up in the flat above to access the ceiling below. Not an option. It was important for new ceiling light to be light weight as it would be getting fixed directly into the plasterboard – no heavyweight chandeliers allowed.

Working with what we had, I suggested we use one of the old wall lighting points to wire in our new ceiling light. This required over 25m of fabric cable to swag and hang from a five point lighting rose onto a three way hook on the ceiling directly over where the new dining table would be.

#ceilingporn

And I think it worked rather well. A pretty cost effective way of getting a feature light too.

Swagged Pendant Light

All of the lighting components and bulbs were from Dowsing & Reynolds where you can configure your light exactly how you’d like it. This took some planning with some long ladders, lots of string, my trusty laser measure and tape measure.

Oh and because i’m sure someone will ask, the TV stand is from Amazon. I originally suggested the Samsung Serif, because Mr B didn’t need a media unit for all of the associated TV paraphernalia, and ya know, they’re bloody beautiful televisions. But in order to save money and use his existing TV we sourced a simple black tripod stand from Amazon for about £150. Looks pretty cool doesn’t it?

Onto the kitchen:

Before

Mr B works in the trade and was set on using Howdens for his kitchen. So off I went to their website and put together a list of finishes for cabinets, door/drawers fronts, worktop, and flooring which was to run throughout, none of which i’d actually seen or touched. No time for samples either (Stage 3)…. did I mention this was all pretty stressful!?

Yes you did Karen, stop going on about it.

After

Because i’d kept the kitchen fronts, cabinets and worktop in the simple greyscale palette, it all worked out (phew!). Would I make changes? Sure. But let me give you some context here, I am HYPER critical of all of my work. Whenever I see the finished shots, my “critique glasses” go straight on with my beady eyes going straight to the bits I’d like to twiddle with.

What bits would you twiddle with Karen?

I’ve ummed and ahhed about whether to include my twiddley bit list or not, in fact I chatted to Mr B about it first. He didn’t mind me mentioning them on the blog, as on the whole he agrees with me. I feel it’s helpful to give you guys a heads up on some stuff you might not think about (or necessarily notice) but the kind of stuff I do. So this is not me being a moaning Minnie, i’m just sharing what my annoying detail focused eyes see:

  • Upstand – I didn’t specify an upstand, but those worktop peeps sure do like ’em, because it means they don’t have to scribe the worktop as accurately into the wall. That 20mm depth upstand hides a multitude of scribing sins. I remember when we had our quartz worktop done, they suggested I have an upstand 8 times. I said no, 8 times. If you’re having a tiled (or A.N. other material) splashback, you don’t need an upstand. The tile can sit directly on top of the worktop. This just creates a cleaner line with one less horizontal line to jar your eye.
  • Gone for a darker wood wall cabinets – if only Howdens had offered them… alas they didn’t. If the timescales allowed, i’d have probs suggested bespoke door and draw fronts as opposed to off the peg options. There are a few companies that offer fronts for Howdens carcasses now (Naked Doors, Husk… easy enough to find if you search online).
  • Gone for a timber or Heritage frame patio door – not UPVC.
  • Tiled around the corner boxing in – Mr B, do you have any tiles left? 😉
  • Tile trim – used an anthracite grey (see how annoying I am!?)

The reality is it’s a cracking little kitchen and Mr B is really happy with it. So in that sense, my work here is done (and all that jazz). I just would have loved to have gotten my hands on samples first and been let loose on some site visits. Basically I am a control freak who wants things to be perfect. There I said it.

The lights above the peninsular are actually wall lights that we fixed to the underside of the new boxed in steel. I think they were from Wayfair… look reet, don’t they?

The small work station with counter stool provides a dedicated spot for a laptop.

Before

Before…

(kind of) After

Now i’ll tell you a secret, there’s not actually any artwork hanging on this wall. I had to do some jiggery pokery to get this beauty in this photo. It’s Forms Study 01 by Formworks and measures a whopping 1m x 1.5m – just what this wall needs! Mr B is still looking for his perfect piece, possibly commissioning something just for this room, but currently saving up again after just finishing the bathroom – next blog post! And for those wondering where the door is… I was too! Looks like Mr B has taken it off, so you get a glimpse into the mustard hallway with front door painted the same colour as the living room ceiling.

So that’s your lot for today. I hope you like how we transformed this space. It does feel super cool in here now and Mr B is enjoying his newly designed flat very much, which is splendid and tremendous. I’ll share the bathroom with you next time – it’s bloody lovely!

22 Comments

  1. Susan Eardley says

    That’s lovely! That ceiling is incredible! Funny you mention howdens & naked kitchens. I’ve just been to howdens for our kitchen design, but I’m really lusting after naked doors. Can you mix the two?

    • Karen Knox says

      Yep. Several companies offer fronts for Howdens kitchens 🙂

  2. Aline Povlsen says

    I agree with all your nick picking accept the dark cabinets…..really think lighter better. You are truly a talented woman, always look forward to seeing your projects.

  3. Niamh says

    What a transformation! Love the layout and the ceiling is spectacular. Can’t wait to see the bathroom!

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks Niamh, the ceiling is something else isn’t it!? 🙂

  4. Sarah says

    It looks absolutely lovely. Love your work Karen.

    Just looking at that table in the bay window, and all that glass, whether double or single glazed, and no curtains, and wondering how comfortable and usable the area will be, especially in winter. And wondering about how many people think about insulation, especially internal wall insulation and triple glazing, and how many interior designers are informing clients of the extra comfort provided, as well as the positive impact on carbon emissions. Ideal time to do this work is before you install a kitchen or paint the walls. I am partly asking because we’re renovating and finding out so hard to find contractors, architects and designers on board with this concept. Sarah

    • Karen Knox says

      I totally agree Sarah. I’ve worked on plenty of projects where i’ve been involved from the very beginning and the first thing we’ve done is to tackle windows/heating etc. However, for this project, updating the windows was not part of the scope of works/budget. Like I mentioned, trades were on site before I’d even set foot inside. The apartment is also a part of a much bigger building where windows on the facade of the property weren’t allowed to be updated. Mr B has spent two winters in here now and hasn’t mentioned any issues with the space feeling cold but we did put in two large/high output column radiators. The windows were dressed with simple roller blinds which you can just about see across the centre of the window. I offered to specify curtains at a later date if my client decided he wanted them, he’s not mentioned anything yet.
      Please also do take into account that for this particular project, my input was extremely limited. I would have loved to have been more involved, but my level of input is always decided by the homeowner.

      And just incase you’ve not seen this already, post I wrote back in 2017 which ended up being features in The I newspaper.
      https://blog.making-spaces.net/2017/01/04/where-to-start-a-guide-of-what-to-spend-your-money-on-at-home/

  5. Stephanie Rowley says

    Hi Karen – love the table n chairs – where from?
    You’ve done an excellent redesign and , as ever, you add style n class without always spending loadsa cash!

    • Karen Knox says

      That’s be a great tag line 🙂 Thanks Stephanie!
      Table is from Furnish and chairs are from good ole Ikea.

  6. Ailsa says

    I have been spontaneously wondering about this project for a while, I even check your blogs a couple of times looking for the finished room!
    Love it.
    Love the ceiling.
    It looks fantastic. Can’t wait to see the rest….

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks so much Ailsa. So glad you like it. I’ve been dying to get this one posted, but alas 2020 but the boot in. Hope it was worth the wait!

  7. Ursula in Cádiz says

    This is the xth post of yours which I have left open for days (sometimes weeks) saying, ‘Yeah, verily, it is time to pronounce your admiration for this fabulous work.’ Then I have to shut down 78 tabs for an update or suchlike and, yes, I do have ADHD. But here I am AT LAST, declaring my love for everything you do: you are an absolute genius! And I apologise that you haven’t been able to hear me lauding you to the heavens on reading your previous posts – the southern tip of Spain being out of earshot for even my loud shouts of joy.
    Also, never mind creating non-original wall panelling, people: obviously it is time we all converted to re-creating a ceiling like that one. And who knew that it would look so much better with the relief NOT picked out in a different colour… well, you, obvs.

    • Karen Knox says

      Well that’s a bloody lovely thing to read this morning. Thank you very much indeed Ursula! Your computer screen (with its 78 tabs open) sounds eerily similar to mine!!

  8. Shenley says

    Beautiful! And so glad you got rid of the platform/ steps … That was a major win, why were they there?

    • Karen Knox says

      No idea. I think it was someone’s idea of “zoning” which can work really well in really large spaces, but wasn’t great for this room. And thank you! 🙂

  9. What a fantastic view from the couch now – that cool pendant lightning (which I freaking love) and the garden and THAT CEILING. Really smart layout, and that laptop workstation is so practical with its outlet and light. (Also, I get the appeal of darker cabinets, but the light upper ones are probably a little cheerier in on gloomy days :))

    • Karen Knox says

      So glad you like it. Thank you for all the lovely feedback! 🙂

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