House tour: Hampstead semi transformed into beautiful bespoke family home
- Credit: MWAI
How architects MWAI turned an outdated Victorian semi into a contemporary, custom-designed family home in Hampstead.
For one young family who had acquired a Victorian red-brick semi in Hampstead to be their first family home, time was of the essence. In the process of relocating to the UK, they had used a property finder to identify a home that met their needs in terms of size, location and price, but was ill-suited to the lifestyle of a growing family in its layout and style.
The configuration was formal and outdated; the reception spaces were over-sized and poorly organised; the marble-clad bathrooms were distinctly adult-orientated; storage was limited, and the dangerously sloped garden wasn’t conducive to children’s play.
The family property finder recommended five architects to undertake the transformation of the house, with MWAI winning the commission. Before they could move in, the new owners needed a complete refurbishment that would open up the kitchen and ground-floor living areas to create a flowing family space, as well as a reconfiguration of the bedrooms on the floors above to introduce more privacy and flexibility. The project called for a new ventilation system, the reinsulation of all external walls and considerable structural work.
Over the following 16 months, MWAI and its collaborators worked diligently on-site, refining and adapting the design as the construction and project progressed. They began with the removal and replacement of all structural walls on the upper floors.
Liaising closely with the clients, MWAI developed a material palette to match their tastes – a range of natural wood veneers and simple architectural stones – and used it to create contemporary finishes throughout the house, incorporating off-white polished plaster, decorative wallpapers, custom-made marble sinks, and a media room fitted with acoustic fabric panelling. Open-grain veneer joinery and a rustic-look engineered timber floor added texture to the space, whilst the patterns and details created in simple materials contribute to a distinct sense of personality and place.
The client was keen to introduce a warm decorative finish to her dressing room, in keeping with its dual function as a study and seating area, where the look of plain wardrobes might have looked too austere. MWAI came across Parisian wall covering specialist Ananbô at Milan Design Week, and were able to source a hand-painted botanical pattern that, once fitted to the wardrobe’s joinery, defined the room’s atmosphere.
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A series of adaptations have made the property more accommodating – and appealing – to the kids. The children’s bedroom is rich in bespoke detail, including a custom-made bed and lighting, and a striking mountain motif adorning the joinery on the integrated wardrobes. The adjacent bathrooms have been redesigned in a brighter, more playful aesthetic, with easy-to-clean Corian worktops speckled with colour.
Downstairs, a bespoke kitchen from the craft-driven designer Lanserring, with richly veined marble worktops and a custom-designed chandelier over the island, has become the hub of the home.
Meanwhile, a new – much safer – garden is rich with play spaces and sun-trap seating.
Matthew Woodthorpe, director at MWAI said: “We worked closely with the client, using our turnkey building service – MWAI BUILD. The end result was a bespoke home – delivered on time and to the highest standard of quality.
“This comprehensive ground-to-gable refurbishment took the MWAI team just 16 months from commission to completion, meaning that the owners were able to assume occupancy bang on schedule, moving into a pristine, custom-designed contemporary home that was completely unrecognisable from the property they purchased the year before.”