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TURNING THE CENTURY

Oxford Gardens, W10

It’s as though someone took the best parts of a cosy countryside cottage – majorly revamped them – and slotted them in to this pristine garden apartment in Oxford Gardens. Here, you can bask in a charm akin to dated, rustic British living sans cobwebs, dodgy pipes and overzealous roosters. When the previous owner bought the property however, it may as well have been out in the sticks. Both the interiors and the garden (more forest than garden back then) had been left in a state of neglect. They required a full refurbishment, modernisation and redecoration, which is exactly what followed suit. To bring the confined eighties layout into the 21st century, an entirely new internal plan was reconfigured to make the most of the extensive lateral space. In fact, the only room that remains structurally untouched is the second bedroom.

Along with new plumbing and wiring, the space was skilfully rearranged to suit a much more contemporary way of living. Previously situated at the rear of the property, the master bedroom swapped places with the reception room. Doing so provided the space necessary for much better circulation at the back of the apartment, creating open living space starting with the kitchen, flowing out through the lounge and into the garden. Furthering this, the slight rear extension has made space for the orangery (dining room) whose brickwork and double insulated glass give it a substantial feel, as opposed to that of a regular, unmodernised conservatory. In fact, this room was the previous owner’s biggest indulgence and all of its components are of the highest quality. From imported solid oak bi-folds to the glass lantern roof and many months of structural reengineering – the final product has proved so worth it. The crowning glory of the apartment, the room is also well-heated, remaining warm for use in colder winter months. In the summer, the bi-folding doors can stay open to connect the indoor space with the modernised garden.

Previously overgrown and paved with aging concrete, the garden underwent a spectacular makeover, headed up by Agents Green London. The previous owner (staying true to his Australian roots) created a built-in barbecue / dining area as well as laying new sandstone tiles, grass, hedging, olive trees, flowerboxes and a mood-lighting system around the perimeter. The interiors reflect the same contemporary approach, incorporating several considered twists on Victorian styling. These are apparent in the Carrara Marble tiles, light floorboards waxed with white teak oil, cast iron Castrads radiators, and Burlington bathroom fixtures, which deliver a classic look but with modern fittings. The look extends a little further than the 18th century however; the interiors also draw from retro sixties inspiration, calming Scandinavian monochromes with a touch of farmhouse-chic thrown in for added cosiness. Retro industrial light fixtures and a two-tone deVOL Shaker Kitchen (painted in Farrow & Ball Lamp Room Gray and Smart Railings) put these interiors bang on trend - the black / blue finish is repeated on a coffered feature wall in the lounge space.

The moody dark tones are all beautifully complemented by polished chrome and brass doorknobs; the overall look is softened by an aged tan leather Chesterfield sofa and armchair. The black and white chequered tiling in the orangery sits well with an antique mahogany dining table. No amount of wallpaper would have been able to disturb such a well-established colour palette, and it has been used here to striking effect and in considered moderation, echoing the dichromatic theme with striped patterns. Framed in old Victorian frames found in Portobello Road antique stores, the artwork covers a selection of vibrant sixties prints, seventies black and whites, or photos of famous spots in Notting Hill. There is SO much going on in this apartment, but it’s been done with such care and attention to detail that it’s hard to tell when you look at everything as a whole. Each component has a reason for being where it is and each component sits in energetic harmony with its surroundings.