Christine’s House: Living Small in London

Whenever my architect husband and I embark on a remodeling project in our modern London terraced house, we morph into truffle pigs, sniffing out storage opportunities in the most unlikely places.

And when there’s no more to be found, we create new opportunities. A little ingenuity and a great deal of flexibility means that over the years, our family of four (plus dog) has been completely satisfied with 1,500 square feet of living space. A couple of years ago, we contemplated moving to a bigger house to accommodate our growing teens. This was met with great resistance: “Why would we want to move?” they asked. “This is home.” We must be doing something right.

For a tour of the garden, go to The Reluctant Gardener: Christine’s London Oasis. Photography by Kristin Perers for Remodelista.

Above: In our dining area, we created a niche of bookshelves and benched seating (complete with underneath storage) on the back wall. Our two Eames Tables by Vitra (of different sizes) can be configured according to our needs; we use them for dining, homework, and even some sewing. One table can be brought outside easily for al fresco dining, and my beloved Ercol chairs are stackable if we need more space.

Above L: A corner of the table serves as a solo breakfast spot. Above R: The same table, set for a dinner party.

Above: Just about every inch of available space in the kitchen is lined with cabinets. N.B. The World’s Best Countertop Appliance, the Zojirushi Induction Heat Rice Cooker, is the only appliance on my counter.

Above: A midcentury cabinet in the entry hall contains hats, gloves, and scarves. See The Mystery of Bamboo Floors Uncovered to see why we chose bamboo.

Above: When not in use, our Ercol Nesting Tables nestle under one other and fit neatly beneath the Ercol stationery table. The ottoman holds storage underneath.

Above: In the living room, a set of steel Metro Shelves (commercial kitchen shelves) provides useful storage. We bought these shelves on Canal Street in New York’s Chinatown when we were first married. They have been reconfigured at least eight times, including twice in this house–the best $1,000 we have ever spent.

Above L: Closets for hanging clothes have been inserted into the office; the wide doors function as bulletin boards for architectural drawings. Above R: Open shelves in the bath hold storage baskets.

Above: Even our bed is fitted into a niche. We store our luggage in the drawers underneath the bed; the headboard is comprised of cabinet doors, which conceal bookshelves. The architect in me loves the straight lines of stripes, hence the Light Grey Ticking duvet cover and Organic Aegean duvet cover by Toast.

Above L. Low Metro shelves from our original newlywed cull provide storage and serve as a room divider in our bedroom. My beloved Ercol 23 which I covered in Ian Mankin Devon Stripe is my favorite place to read. See Midcentury Slipcovered Chairs for more chair inspiration.  Above R: We created a mini dresser from painted Ikea Moppe Mini Drawers with a shelf below for support and a shelf on top to hold loose items.

Above: Open storage using an Ikea system (discontinued) was a very effective and inexpensive way to put a closet in our bedroom. We use it in each of the boys’ rooms and in the living room as well. Plastic storage boxes fit neatly underneath and above.

Above: Two custom-built sheds in the garden provide storage and a backdrop for the outdoor room.

See more of Christine’s remodel in Rehab Diary: Sleuthing for Space in My Kitchen. Like her carpeted terrace? Go to Design Sleuth: Christine’s Outdoor Rug.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 11, 2012 as part of our issue, The Smart Home.

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