Southwood, a 4-story 1970’s London townhouse, had masses of potential when Highgate-based architects and interior designers LLI Design took on its young owners’ brief to respect its 1970s style, though without being cliched.

1 - BEFORE - Southwood - Kitchen 1 - BEFORE - Southwood - Lower Ground Floor

Based in Highgate, a leafy and very desirable North London suburb, the house had large rooms with lots of light – though its ‘circulation’ areas were quite cramped and dark.

But after the renovation, this home is open, bright and modern — any homeowner’s dream come true!

Highgate house designed by LLI Design.

Highgate house designed by LLI Design.

Highgate house designed by LLI Design.

“Top of the wishlist was a contemporary glass and steel open-tread staircase and a master bathroom with distinctive WOW factor,” according to LLI Design’s website.

The bathroom is a glamorous mix of modern and retro styles. Luxe, baroque mirrors sit comfortably above a contemporary, ‘Jack and Jill’ floating sink. The walk-in glass shower makes a smart contrast to the more stately white bath. LLI infused a deliberate ‘bedroom’ feel to this bathroom, due to its proximity to the master bedroom – thus adding to the design ‘flow’ of the house.

A Hans J Wegner 'Papa Bear' armchair sits beautifully on a bold, black and white striped rug.

A Hans J. Wegner ‘Papa Bear’ armchair sits beautifully on a bold, black and white striped rug.

The new glass and steel staircase was introduced at the back of the house, between the lower ground and the upper ground floors. Its visual impact was greatly enhanced by a  glass balustrade with no hand rail. It was also a great complement to Southwood’s original 1970s spiral staircase. The lower ground floor was opened out with the removal of interior walls, and the furniture and rugs are bright and bold in contrast to the neutral ‘semi-industrial’ decor.

A distressed paint effect brick wallpaper on the back wall of the lower ground floor and also in the study gives the impression of a painted interior brick wall – an essential, de rigueur design element in every smart ’70s house.

Living Room - Southwood - LLI Design

Highgate house designed by LLI Design.

The ground floor living room reflected the owners’ request for a ‘relaxed feeling of calm’. This is added to by the use of hidden LED strip lighting which creates a gentle glow and the seventies feel continues with the retro floor and pendant lights.

Highgate house designed by LLI Design.

Careful use of LED strips creates warm, ambient light in the cozy eating area of the living room.

“By rethinking the core aspects of the design and layout, LLI Design have transformed a tall, vertical townhouse into a home with a feeling of expansiveness and laterality, creating an uplifting and comfortable home for the owners,” according to LLI’s website,

Typical '70s earthy, neutral tones in the kitchen.

Typical ’70s earthy, neutral tones in the kitchen.

Highgate house designed by LLI Design.

The fresh, khaki kitchen units are enhanced by dramatic, dark bronze tiles in the backsplash. The neat, integral breakfast bar makes great use of the space.

This interior makeover of Southwood went on to win ‘Best Interior Design Private Residence, London 2015/2016’. The judging panel comprised more than 70 interior design experts from around the world and was chaired by two active members of the House of Lords – Lord Caithness and Lord Best.

The company’s creative team is led by Design Director, Linda Levine, whose “background as a fashion and textile designer is reflected in her love of form, texture and color.”

To quote the company’s website, “LLI Design are proud to have won this award, in competition with numerous London Interior Design Companies.”