location: Kensington, London | interior design: Susan Knof | photography: David Cleveland
Miami-based KNOF Design recently completed a major London commission: the unification of two separate townhouses in Kensington to create a single, stunning, 700-square metre family home.
Retaining only the façade and demolishing and rebuilding the rest of the property from scratch, this new luxurious residence has retained all its original external period elements. These include both original entrances, preserved to maintain the property’s historic ‘wedding cake’ façade, while within is a spacious and sophisticated modern home.
The new interior boasts two grand staircase lobbies; a full-service lift; formal open living, lounge and dining rooms with built-in onyx bar; a wine cellar; a black-out cinema room; five bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and dressing areas; a children’s playroom; kitchen, family dining room; study area; a newly-excavated utility basement and an increased sunken outdoor area.
‘Our clients are a London-based international family who purchased one original property in 2009,’ Susan Knof, of KNOF Design explained, ‘which I completely redesigned for them whilst based in London at that time. The clients loved the treatment, but their growing family required more space and so, when the opportunity occurred to purchase the neighbouring property and combine the two, they seized it.’
To future-proof the new scheme, the intricate interior has been designed and detailed to function either separately or as a whole, involving two distinct systems and structures, including two full-height vertical stairways, which created a natural division of space.
On entry, the language of the scheme is immediately apparent. The new double-volume stairwell within the formal entrance area allows for plenty of light and air. An elegant monochrome palette features crisp white walls and black-lacquered Lenox octagonal mirrors. The double volume space also features a cascading and sculptural Rhythm light by Vibia, whilst a reimagined staircase is of curved metal design with timber treads and bespoke, carved timber balustrade.
On the ground floor, the entrance lobby leads into the luxurious and open living, dining, lounge and piano area. This sophisticated and glamourous space is perfect for elegant entertaining and is subtly arranged into four segments. Progressing further, visitors arrive at the secondary entrance stair lobby with curved stairwell accessing both upper and lower levels. Adjacent to the ground floor – off this hallway – is the black-out cinema, luxuriously decked out in deep and rich royal blues.
The lower ground floor houses another large-scale open area, containing the kitchen, family dining area, playroom and study space. The heart of the home is a clean and modern Boffi kitchen, with a central island for cooking and seating. The dining area features a Link dining table by Jakob Wagner for B&B Italia, with eight B&B Italia Papillo dining chairs around it, upholstered in a lemon pelle fabric. Along the opposite side of the open kitchen and dining space is a study and play area. Opposite is an open family playroom, whilst off the main open area is an all-white, glazed tiled guest toilet. The lower ground floor also includes a guest bedroom with en suite bathroom.
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