04 Feb 2020

A change of (floor) plan

Sited opposite recreation grounds in Islington’s Angel, Matthew and Gemma Dorey’s new-build apartment takes full advantage of London living with its prime location. Despite the sought-after neighbourhood, there were two areas in which the residence was lacking – space and easy-to-change configuration.


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Project size: 85m2
Budget: £50,000
Completion date: 2018
Building levels: 1

Both Matthew and Gemma were in search of an architectural solution that would enhance their apartment’s full spatial potential. The primary requirement was to transform the interior when the couple was entertaining – with rooms that could easily be separated to accommodate their parents when they came to stay – while retaining the open and spacious atmosphere the apartment exposed.

The Doreys approached London-based architect practice Loud Architecture & Interior Design (LOUD Architects) to meet their unique brief. Taking Matthew and Gemma’s requirements into consideration, LOUD’s Managing Director, Kate Clare, devised a practical and innovative interchangeable layout, complete with movable partition walls, secret sliding doors and bespoke fold-away beds.

An essential prerequisite was to create a stand-out space for the young couple without the apartment losing value. To ensure Matthew and Gemma’s brief was answered, Kate fabricated the space into a bright dwelling with captivating design features perfect for a young, growing family. Explaining how this was achieved, Kate says: “We orientated the space to the north and made the rooms brighter with colourful ceilings, tiles and a minimalist design – using modern techniques for the contemporary residence.”

On the move

From the outset, the concept for Matthew and Gemma’s home was to create several spaces from one single floorplan. “The vision behind the Angel apartment was to integrate moving parts into the skeleton of the build,” recalls Kate.

“We needed elements to move, open and close to meet the Doreys’ brief. Matthew and Gemma are very creative – both working within the media and technology industries – so when I approached them with some space- and cost-saving ideas, they were very much on board with my designs. At the start of the project, I presented them with different colour and material options – it was very much a collaborative effort between myself and the couple.”

With Kate in charge of the architectural elements and Matthew and Gemma project managing the project, the build completed in 10 weeks (six weeks dedicated to design and four for construction). The process was relatively plain sailing with freeholder’s planning permission obtained within a few weeks and the couple living within the property throughout the renovation works.

There were a few elements of the project; however, that did pose quite the challenge, as Kate explains: “Unfortunately, the flooring was too soft and had to be changed. Also, building control required the glass partition within the apartment to be fire-rated; this meant the design had to vary slightly. That said, the final scheme was actually preferred – which was a win-win!”

Selective specification

Kate approached the material and product specification by following the existing palette and answering Matthew and Gemma’s specific requirements. “For example, we selected easy-to-clean materials for the apartment,” explains Kate. “We felt it essential to include these elements due to the frequency of hosting at the Doreys’ apartment.”

The apartment has received a complete overhaul, which has seen a new design, fresh splash of colour and updated technologies as well as a new flow of rooms. The most significant change perhaps is in the bedroom. In this space, the bedroom can be opened up into two rooms – with a window separating the bedroom and kitchen.

Overall, Matthew and Gemma are impressed with their new apartment. “The Doreys are delighted with their new interchangeable space,” comments Kate. “The design perfectly reflects their travels, personalities and tastes. What’s more, we’ve incorporated the modern aesthetic of the exterior into the interior to create a consistent feel – this is displayed through the warm, clean lines that run throughout the apartment.”

Tips and tricks

Kate’s advice for anyone wishing to renovate their current property is to: “Have a good tender pack and take your time specifying everything into one easy-to-read document.” With regards to materials, she would recommend: “Architectural salvage for the windows and sliding door partitions.” Furthermore, Kate would also advise: “Not to be afraid of specifying bespoke items – such as our bespoke brass bar!”

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