A made-to-measure Maida Vale mansion flat

Elgin Mansions, MWAI and Interior-id

Elgin Mansions, MWAI and Interior-id - Credit: Archant

Architectural practice MWAI has worked with long-time collaborator Interior-id to create a modern yet intimate home in a Maida Vale mansion block.

Bespoke interiors company Interior-iD has worked with the architects at MWAI on many projects, so when it came to co-founder Bernd Radaschitz refurbishing his own abode, he knew who to turn to. Conversely, when it came to keeping the Radaschitz’s in beautifully appointed cabinets, MWAI already had their ideal collaborators on hand.

“We were very lucky to have clients that have been long time collaborators – Interior-iD have manufactured bespoke joinery for most of MWAI’s projects, so the process felt quite natural,” says Tatiana Vela, one of the MWAI architects who worked on the project. Part of their brief was to design and integrate the elements of custom joinery, such as the kitchen cupboards and wardrobes, to be manufactured by Interior-iD.

By working closely with their clients, MWAI were able to seamlessly integrate the joinery aspects into the finished product. “Interior ID helped ensure that all the elements they manufactured would fit perfectly into the space by carrying out a detailed survey prior to manufacturing.” The partnership worked so smoothly that the project took a mere 12 months to complete.

Working with and for a man with a professional passion for artisanal woodwork, timber played a pivotal role in the careful curation of the complimentary combination of timber, metals and marble used for the project.

“The choice of materials was a collaborative effort between MWAI and the clients. At MWAI we choose to work with natural materials for the wonderful way in which they age,” says Vela. “We have used colours, textures and materials to respond to the clients’ eclectic taste.”

“Timber was used in various forms: from solid wood to stained veneers. Wood is a very traditional material but can be used in a modern way without concealing its beautiful grain,” she explains. The wall of veneered, dark blue wood in the dining area provides a stunning backdrop to the seating area, whilst the beaten bronze accent provides an attractive counterpoint. The copper taps in the master bathroom look extra striking against the marble counters, whilst the copper sink in the guest bath is elegantly perched on a Corian countertop.

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These fresh, new materials work to blend in the period features that have been carefully preserved in the refurbishment by situating them in a pleasingly modern context. “Situated in a conservation area, the building’s appearance is of historical importance to Maida Vale’s built heritage, which is why we sought to preserve the historic features of the apartment as part of our design.”

Although the property was in a state of disrepair prior to the start of the project, the fireplace, stained glass windows, woodwork, doors, windows and architraves were all original. “It was decided to retain and restore these features wherever possible and re-instate with historically appropriate features where integrations needed to be made,” says Vela.

Along with encompassing Bernd’s passion for artisanal interiors, the architect’s had to carefully re-craft the space to better suit its inhabitants lives. “At MWAI, we are very interested in the psychology of ‘dwelling’ – working in the private residential sector gives us insight and an understanding of the way in which people live,” says Vela. “The clients are a young professional couple looking to refurbish their Victorian flat to suit their modern lifestyle.”

When it comes to modern architectural design, open plan has almost become a byword for contemporary style. With the often limited space provided by period properties in London, creating spacious and multi-function rooms is a good solution, but what about personal privacy?

“With open-plan living becoming increasingly common in today’s homes, the architect’s challenge is to find new ways to deliver intimate and private spaces,” says Vela. The Victorians were masters of keeping the private, well, private, and the architecture of this 1900 mansion block reflects this. “Internally the space was subdivided in small rooms with the reception and kitchen at opposite ends of a long corridor,” Vela explains.

By turning these small, sectioned off spaces at the front of the flat into a spacious, open plan reception they created a flexible space for relaxation and enjoyment. The clients’ prized grand piano, situated in the perfectly sized bay window, can now be viewed from the kitchen. A partition wall doubles as a backdrop to the dining area and a coat store, with the bespoke storage from Interior-iD serving at once to create extra space for storage and to define the space itself. “The joinery helps articulate the space, by becoming privacy screen and storage and concealing services,” says Vela.

With plenty of space for entertaining at the front of the property, the rooms become increasingly private in function as they get further towards the rear. “The flat has a long and narrow footprint. By placing the master bedroom at the back of the property, a natural progression began to form along the corridor from public to increasingly private spaces.”

This subtle transition is expressed not only in the special configuration of the flat, but in the choice of colours and materials. From the whites and bright coppers of the kitchen and guest bathroom, the palette gradually darkens to greys and bronze as you enter the more personal areas of the master bed and bath. “This transition is expressed subtly through materials & colours that become warmer and darker as one enters the more private rooms, thus creating a ‘snug’ feel,” Vela explains.

By expertly joining together the old with the new, the public with the personal, MWAI and Interior-iD have created a modern home expertly designed to suit the needs and tastes of its inhabitants.