In Notting Hill there is a special atmosphere, thanks largely to its architectural history. In this culturally diverse slice of west London, brightly coloured homes rub shoulders with blocks of elegant Edwardian villas in glistening white stucco.
And now there’s a new addition to the special mix: a transformed townhouse by Milanese architecture practice Quincoces-Dragò & Partners.
The property’s classic brick and stone façade offers no clues as to what lies inside. This project is 50 per cent London and 50 per cent pure Italian luxury. ‘It was a challenge, but also a great opportunity,’ says the firm’s co-founder Fanny Bauer Grung.
‘The project was born from one determined, courageous goal: to bring light back into this dark, tall and narrow house, which had deteriorated and become a little sad.’ By adding a large skylight above the attic, she and fellow co-founder David Lopez Quincoces have created a beam of natural light that floods down a new sculptural staircase, filling every floor with sunshine.
Brightness even extends all the way down to the basement, which is now the heart of this house. With a new glazed wall opening out from the kitchen to the lush and shady greenery of the garden, it’s a peaceful spot. The adjacent dining room, meanwhile, is a showstopping space designed for entertaining. Emphasised by a bookcase that stretches across two floors, and dramatic vintage pendant lights by George Nelson, this central location shows off this home’s long, narrow bones in the best possible way, adding a sense of freedom and openness.
As well as transforming the feel of this property, the architects also had a chance to improve its environmental footprint. ‘When this house was built, sustainability was an absolutely unknown concept,’ notes Fanny. ‘For us, being green is very important and something we are always aware of. In this townhouse, we have chosen high-quality windows that lock in warmth and an innovative heating system that reduces energy waste.’
Not only has this home’s updated layout allowed the original architecture to breathe, it’s also given its owners, a young art-loving couple, a renewed energy and love of where they live.
‘Today, the house represents both their personalities and our vision of timeless interior design and architecture,’ adds David. ‘We sincerely believe that our projects are not, and should not be, about us, but instead about the people who live there. This time, those people have become friends as well as clients.’ quincocesdrago.com
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