A Victorian Home Modernised to Retain its Character

Sarah Alcoft, November 2016

When it came to having a vision for their new home, the couple who own this Victorian terraced house had an advantage. They’d been renting an identical property a few doors down the street, so they’d long dreamed of the changes they’d make and the mood they’d create given half a chance.

Once they got their hands on this place, they called on the expert design eye of Mariyan Stoykov, of Grand Design London, to help turn their long-held vision into reality. “The owners knew what they wanted and had an Ideabook full of images ready to share,” he says.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A professional couple
Location: Queen’s Park, London
Property: A Victorian terrace
Size: 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
Designer: Mariyan Stoykov of Grand Design London

The couple’s vision for their home was for crisp, modern lines softened by period details and a hint of industrial style. “The brick wall in the kitchen was their idea,” designer Stoykov says. “We created it from reclaimed brick slips and added pointing for an authentic look.” The team designed and built this rear extension to house the kitchen and create an indoor/outdoor space. A skylight running along its length ensures it’s light and bright even on gloomy days.

The kitchen is all about clean lines, with the appliances integrated or very neat. The extractor fan, for instance, is set flush into the induction hob to keep sightlines to the garden clear. “We had to vent it out underground,” says Stoykov.

The white units and quartz splashback and worktops create a streamlined finish and maximise the light. The attention to detail, however, lifts this kitchen out of the ordinary. Take the worktop, which has an 80mm edge to give it a chunky look, while the oak veneer panel at the side of the ovens adds warmth to the scheme and ties in with the flooring.

The microwave and steam oven can be operated through the Home Connect app. “The owners can leave something to marinate while they’re out, then a couple of hours before they come home, they can set it to cook,” says Stoykov.

Kitchen by Openplan Design. Induction hob with integrated extractor, Bora. Appliances, Siemens. Model 61 bar stools, Erik Buch. White Beat Fat pendant lights, Tom Dixon.

The streamlined look even applies to the pantry, which has a ‘hidden’ door, complete with a section of skirting board at the bottom, just visible here to the left of the wall units. “I saw a door like this in Ladurée on the Champs Elysées,” says Stoykov. “I was waiting for my food to arrive and I spotted people just coming out of the wall. Here, it continues a nice line.” Inside, there are pantry shelves and a wine fridge, as well as space for the vacuum cleaner and mop.

The flooring is engineered wood with underfloor heating.

Engineered wood floor, Cheville Parquet.

The garden was completely redone, apart from the big tree in the corner, which was saved from the original space and now provides dappled shade for alfresco diners.

“We created the rendered flowerbeds and built in floating benches,” says Stoykov. There are concealed lights under the benches, making this a great space for evening dining as well as lazy lunches. “We added red cedar fencing for privacy and to create a nice feature,” adds Stoykov.

The flooring outside is sandstone, which tones nicely with the cedar fencing and the wooden flooring in the kitchen.

Mint Fossil Indian sandstone paving, Infinite Paving.

Formerly two separate reception rooms, the dining area and living room are now one harmonious space, with a single large opening into the hallway. The palette of white, black and soft grey is only broken by the pendant lights and artworks, giving the space a serene feel.

Ellisse pendant lights, Modo Luce. Sofa; armchair, both Minotti.

The fireplace in what was the middle room is now redundant, so Stoykov turned it into a storage spot for firewood. “We had a bespoke frame made in black to make a feature of the logs,” he says.

The double opening to the kitchen pulls plenty of light into this potentially gloomy section of the house.

Dining table by Nissen & Gehl, available at The Conran Shop.

Instead of cramming all four fireplace alcoves with storage, Stoykov has allowed the spaces in the dining area to breathe. The single chair and plant, as well as the unfussy artwork, create a calm mood.

The mixture of traditional and modern the couple were aiming for is most evident in the living room. Crisp lines and a contemporary colour palette work beautifully with the decorative fire surround and plasterwork, all of which has been faithfully replaced. “The original coving was in bad shape,” explains Stoykov.

Shutters have been fitted to the window and an old school-style radiator fills the narrow space underneath.

Walls painted in Patrician; skirting boards, architraves and doors painted in Chalk, both Designers Guild. Radiators throughout the house, Milano Windsor from BestHeating.

The fireplace is new but in keeping with the period features. The TV has been pushed to one side in favour of a smart round mirror above the mantelpiece.

The alcoves have been fitted out with shelving and cupboards to take care of any clutter, helping to retain the calm, airy atmosphere.

Fireplace, English Fireplaces. Eames House Bird for Vitra, available at John Lewis.

Grand Design London SaveEmail The narrow hall is fuss free. “We clad the stairs in the same engineered wood as the floor, and fitted small LEDs on the right-hand side to reflect across the steps,” says Stoykov. “The couple wanted them to be all wood for easy for maintenance.”

Walls painted in Battleship Grey, Designers Guild. Foscarini Caboche pendant light, available at Nest.

The grey tones of the downstairs walls change to blue on the first and top floors. The master bedroom features the darkest shade. “The owners wanted a strong colour to create a nice contrast against the white paintwork,” explains Stoykov.

Some of the windows at the front of the house needed to be replaced. “It’s a conservation area, so they had to be timber sashes,” adds Stoykov.

Walls painted in Moonlit Night, Designers Guild. Bed, Tempur.


The mix of contemporary and traditional continues in this room, with the sash windows, decorative coving and column radiators teamed with a wall of flat, white doors which hide masses of storage. “The owners like to mix a traditional look with modern touches, so the wardrobes have brown leather and steel handles,” says Stoykov.

Instead of shutters, the first floor windows all have simple Roman blinds.

Eos pendant light, Heal’s.


The bathroom window was moved to the right to accommodate the huge walk-in shower. The large glass screen is super neat. “You can’t see any fixings,” says Stoykov. “The glass slots into a hidden channel in the tiles by the window, and the short return at the end, which keeps the screen stable, is specially bonded to the main piece for a clean look.”

The handy shelf in the shower was carved out of the wall. “We removed a layer of bricks and put a small concrete lintel on top to create a niche,” the designer explains.

Glass shower screen, The Shower Lab. Brassware, Vola. Tiles, Topps Tiles.


The wooden vanity unit and mirror add just the right note of warmth to the room. A simple window film ensures privacy while maximising the light.

Stoykov has cleverly carved out space for a small utility room off the other side of the bathroom (not pictured). It contains a washing machine and tumble dryer, as well as an airing cupboard.

Vanity unit, Duravit.


The female owner tries to work from home as much as possible, and has turned what would have been the third bedroom into an office. Stoykov built shelves and a cupboard into the alcoves to handle any office paraphernalia and add interest to the pared-back space.

Subtle links run throughout the house in the form of the wooden flooring and colour scheme, but also in the furniture and accessories – this desk, for example, is in the same style as the dining table, while the brass pendant chimes with the brass-lined lights over the kitchen island.

Walls painted in Slate Blue, Designers Guild. Desk by Nissen & Gehl, available at The Conran Shop. Void brass pendant light, Tom Dixon.


The glass balustrade keeps the stairwell open and light. “With the airy look we were trying to achieve, glass was the only option,” says Stoykov.

Grand Designs London converted the loft to create a guest bedroom.

Walls painted in Slate Blue, Designers Guild.


The doorway on the right leads into a cloakroom, while the one to the left opens onto the landing. Stoykov has tucked storage into the remaining space.