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Study for Finn

Transformation of a basement flat by opening up the layout to maximise natural light and using a storage wall to articulate the space and cleverly conceal secondary spaces

The existing basement apartment was impaired by low ceiling heights, poor levels of illumination, and rising damp required total reimaging.

The architectural proposal sought to create a completely open plan living area in the main footprint of the dwelling in order to maximise natural light levels, but also to make a connection between the principal reception rooms and the external light-wells to the front and rear of the property.

In order to facilitate such a move, the ancillary programme was re-designed into a ‘storage wall’ – a large piece of joinery, screening much of the apartment’s ‘secondary spaces’, and treated as an integral part of the overall interior architecture. Like the painting that inspired the idea (‘St. Jerome in His Study’ by Antonello da Messina), the storage wall acts as a bridge between the large, singular living space and the more intimate dining/study space nestling between two banks of cupboards. Angled niches are carved into the storage wall to open up sight lines from certain vantage points and to further break down the mass of the joinery.

The result is a completely transformed space. Natural light floods through a 3m high glazed extension which offers generous views of foliage and the sky above so that it is possible to forget that the apartment is below ground. Yet a gentler domestic scale is suggested through the material palette and careful detailing, providing an additional richness to the linear volume.