It was the high ceilings and large rooms that attracted Charlie King to a run-down property round the corner from her flat in southwest London 18 months ago. ‘My partner Andrew and I saw past the dated decor and the strange layout,’ says Charlie, ‘and immediately had ideas about how we could change things around. We wanted to be able to put our own stamp on things.’
PLENTY OF POTENTIAL
Keen to gain an extra bedroom and a proper garden, the couple got down to planning and decided on a layout that would suit them and daughter Honor, 11. ‘We wanted another bathroom and one big room where we could eat, relax and entertain,’ explains Charlie. ‘The sitting room and master bedroom were huge, so we played around with ideas for both. The tiny bathroom, however, looked like it had been shoved in as an afterthought.’
As a flight service manager, Charlie stays in numerous hotels, and bathrooms are important to her. ‘Mine is a sanctuary, and I like it to be spa-like with tiles and a powerful shower. Taking a slice off the master bedroom to create a hidden en suite and some wardrobe space still left us with a good-sized bedroom.’
The original kitchen was situated in an extension at the side of the flat. ‘It had a lower ceiling than the other rooms and felt very closed in,’ says Charlie. ‘I couldn’t see it as a bedroom, so the only other option was to make it the main bathroom. The tiny former bathroom, meanwhile, was earmarked for a study. ‘It’s great when one of us has to work at home and as the computer’s in there, it’s the ideal place for Honor to do her homework.’
All of the changes left the large space at the front of the house. ‘We knew we had to fit a kitchen there as we didn’t want to give up one of the bedrooms,’ says Charlie. ‘The fireplace was already in position, so it made sense to make that the sitting room end with comfy sofas, and have the kitchen at the other end with units arranged along one wall and the dining table in front of the window.’ But separating the two areas without making one or the other feel cramped was a thorny problem. ‘It was the kitchen designer who suggested putting the tall cupboard between the two and it works really well,’ continues Charlie.
Since the work was completed earlier this year, Charlie has enjoyed putting in the finishing touches. ‘The flat has a Scandi feel and I’ve decorated it with bits and pieces collected from my travels as well as finding little shops locally,’ she says. ‘We love to have people round.’