Charming London Flat Engages Sliding Screens for Privacy



overview living area

This flat in central London is an unusual renovation in that it has been built out to accommodate a large, multi-generational family who only live there at times, and not all at the same time. The South East Asian family uses the home in London as a secondary home for when they visit the city for work or pleasure. Because of the flexible nature of the family’s living situation, their living space had to be equally flexible.

kitchen and mezzanine

Architects VW+BS were called on to create a space that could not only accommodate their unusual living situation, but that would have a simple look and plenty of privacy.

living area

The first step in the renovation was restoring the trio of stately French windows at the front of the living space. The decorative wrought iron railing around the terrace was brought back into use after the terrace had fallen into disuse.

folding screen 1

folding screen 2

folding screen 3

Taking advantage of the flat’s double height, the architects then installed a mezzanine overlooking the main living area. Equipped with an opaque screen that folds open for maximum sunlight and closed to maximum privacy, the screen completely transforms the flat when it changes positions.

pivoting wooden door

stairs leading to bedrooms

Because there can be as many as two families and as few as two individuals staying in the apartment at any time, the need for defined private spaces was important. At the back of the living space, beyond the kitchen, a pivoting wooden door reveals a set of stairs that lead up to the sleeping areas. The top of the stairs houses another opaque screen that closes off to provide an even greater degree of privacy.

bedroom 1

bedroom 2

The overarching idea of the living space was simplicity. The flat had once been a magnificent Victorian living space, but before this renovation had somewhat lost its focus. With the restoration of some original details and the addition of simple, contemporary finishes, the feeling of an elegant Victorian drawing room has been redefined and brought into the 21st century.

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