Back in the Nineties, minimalism was a cold look – and hard to live with. Today, it has been switched up in favour of something warmer and more comfortable. Up-and-coming interior-design practice Studio.skey was inspired by this pared-back interpretation of comfort when creating the apartment of Sophie Scott (the practice’s co-founder) and Josh Renouf, the man behind sustainably minded design brand Joy Resolve.
Bought not long after Studio.skey’s inception, this one-bedroom duplex in a converted Victorian factory in London Fields was the perfect testing ground for Sophie and fellow founder Georgina Key, who met on their first day at KLC School of Design.
‘I’ve always been drawn to the industrial character of warehouse conversions, the exposed brick and high ceilings,’ says Sophie, but it was the condition of this place that offered them the biggest opportunities. ‘Some poorly considered modifications had resulted in a mishmash of materials hiding its beautiful bones. It needed some love to bring it back to life,’ recalls Georgina.
‘We wanted to perfectly encapsulate our approach, but it’s hard when it’s your own place,’ admits Sophie, who took the unique approach of becoming Georgina’s client. ‘We treated it like any other job, developing our ideas together, with Georgina project managing to make sure it ran smoothly.’ The result is luxury in its simplest form: the absence of fuss and complication.
Low-key but high-end, the pair’s aesthetic may seem straightforward, but everything from the finishes to the flow has been carefully considered. ‘We strive to elevate every space we work on into something more refined – whether it’s with pale oak flooring, chosen to maximise light, or traditional column radiators,’ says Sophie.
First, the duo made small changes to the layout that have had a big effect. The once-enclosed staircase has been opened up to create a study area underneath. Upstairs, they installed a walk-in wardrobe in the bedroom and a cosy reading nook. ‘In a smaller home, we work to create extra pockets of interest to make the space feel bigger,’ explains Georgina.
Throughout, the palette consists of subtle whites and creams, but in the kitchen the duo opted for bespoke fronts in black-stained oak. ‘We used black like a punctuation mark against the palette of soft, tonal neutrals,’ says Georgina. ‘And it references the original cast-iron windows. We always try to balance the heritage of a property with our own contemporary elements,’ adds Sophie.
To inject interest into this restrained colour scheme, texture was key. ‘We favour natural, honest materials and like to juxtapose different finishes,’ continues Sophie, ‘whether it be a tactile sheepskin chair by a glass coffee table or a smooth stone worktop next to imperfect, handmade tiles.’
Furniture was carefully chosen so as not to dominate or overfill the apartment, helping the space to maintain its serene appearance. ‘Josh and I are both workaholics,’ admits Sophie,‘so this place is great because it forces us to relax. With the linen curtains wafting and all the calming tones, it’s a very dream-like place to be.’ studioskey.com