Tour this house renovation with a loft conversion and garden studio

As part of their creative house renovation, Lauren and Dan added kitchen and loft extensions that offer a delightful blend of classic style and modern twists. Fancy a tour?

Homeowners Lauren (@lauren_elizabeth_home) and Dan bought a damp and dilapidated Victorian house in East Dulwich, London, in 2021 – it hadn’t been touched since the 1970s – and started drawing up plans to turn it into their dream home before they’d even completed. They had an ambitious vision discovers KBB journo Ben Webb, who finds out more about the house renovation…

house renovation with a loft conversion and outdoor kitchen
An outdoor kitchen is perfect for summer. The versatile lighting system adds a lovely glow at night.

“We wanted to add as much space as possible,” says Lauren. “We did a loft extension, side return and rear extension, gutted the whole house and also landscaped the garden and built a studio/gym.” The couple already knew an architect they trusted – he had worked on their flat in the same area – and the work then took nine months to complete.

home gym part of the house renovation at the back of the garden
As part of the house renovation, Lauren wanted to include a gym studio.

“I love the challenge of a blank canvas and working out the perfect layout, imagining how the space will be used best and then bringing the vision to life,” adds Lauren. “We wanted to create a really comfortable family home with all of the luxuries we’d been dreaming of, including a walk-in wardrobe, ensuite bathroom, utility area and gym.”

The Pooky chandelier adds a modern twist to the traditional Victorian sitting room.

What was your aim with the kitchen design?

We wanted to create a kitchen that was classic and bright yet warm. We like the classic Shaker style but also wanted to add modern touches. The layout was an important focus as we wanted it to have a place for everything and for the space to function well with a natural flow. It was also important to have a comfortable and cosy dining space.

shaker kitchen design with central island clad in veiny surface with bar stool and garden views
The lighting is designed to offer a different ambience at various times of the day.

How did you choose the kitchen colour palette?

I love light and bright kitchens but I didn’t want it to feel cold. We chose Ferdinand by Little Greene, which is the perfect pinky shade of off-white. The burnt umber colour of the banquette and the bar complement it nicely and add to the feeling of warmth. I saw a similar colour banquette at The Maine Mayfair restaurant and knew it was the perfect luxurious but cosy colour for our kitchen seating.

L-shaped kitchen design with banquette seating and Lauren pictured cutting bread
The table from Maisons du Monde and chairs from Cult Furniture add warmth and complement the terracotta shade of the banquette.

And how about the materials?

We chose marble because we love the look of natural stone and veining. It’s high maintenance and it does occasionally stain/ etch, but we don’t mind the wear and tear that comes with a natural marble. It’s part of the charm.

Lauren and her dog in her neutral Shaker kitchen
The kitchen is L-shaped with the peninsula backing on to the banquette and dining area.

Click here for 5 L-shaped kitchen ideas

open-plan kitchen design with central island and wall art
The island includes a hob with a downdraft extractor and four stools for socialising while cooking.

What part of the design do you think has worked the best and why?

We love the pocket door larder unit that is beautiful both open – displaying herbs and spices as well as our mixer and blender against a walnut interior – and closed, with the Shaker doors blending into the rest of the kitchen. Similarly, we love the walnut tea and coffee station behind fluted glass doors.

Hugely important. With wall-to-wall glass sliding doors, it’s a part of the kitchen whether it’s winter or summer. The floor outside and inside is the same level so there’s a seamless transition. The view to the garden is important at night so we planned the garden lighting to glow when it’s dark. We also built an outdoor kitchen and dining area for summer days.

views of the garden from the banquette dining area
The banquette, in a warm terracotta fabric, is a cosy place to dine and enjoy views of the garden.

How did you choose the shape of the kitchen?

The dual entrance to the kitchen coupled with the limited width of the room meant we didn’t have space for units on both side walls. Instead, we opted for an L shape, creating a peninsula that backs onto our banquette. It acts like a kitchen pass where I can serve food before taking it to the dining table.

I like a mix of open shelving and cabinetry. There is an open shelf over the sink area and we have glasses on illuminated shelves. Other than that, I like the ability to close things off for a clean look, which is why the pocket doors in the larder and the reeded glass doors on the coffee unit work so well.

the home bar with illuminated glass shelves and fluted cabinet
Lauren loves the look of the illuminated glass shelves. “It’s like being in a glamorous London bar,” she says.

Were there any challenges and clever solutions in the rest of the house?

The head height in the loft conversion would have been low due to the maximum ridge height, so we had to drop the ceilings in the first-floor master bedroom, which was relatively high. It was well worth doing. We also wanted a comfortable master suite so we knocked through to the adjacent bedroom to create a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom.

wardrobes dressed green in patterned wallpaper and view of the adjoining bedroom
The Cole & Son wallpaper in the dressing room offers a contrast to the paler tones of the adjoining bedroom.
neutral bedroom with boucle headboard and built-in sockets and lighting
The headboard is upholstered in a boucle fabric to match the wall colour and includes built-in lighting and sockets.
marble bathroom with wall-mounted vanity, round basin, curved mirror and two wall lights
The bathroom is clad in veiny tiles.
view of the freestanding bath with wall-mounted brassware and niche for storage
The panelling on the top half of the walls conceals an access panel for the boiler and cistern. A simple niche creates space for bathroom essentials.

How has the house renovation changed your lives?

It makes every part of life easier and more enjoyable, especially the kitchen, as we love to cook and host friends and family. The banquette seating means we can spend time relaxing at the dining area in the kitchen while the other cooks, or cosily gathered with friends at dinner until late.

Lauren’s words of wisdom:

  • Push the boat out on a few luxuries and protect budget for them. You will never regret it down the line. Ours were the wine fridge, larder unit and bar.
  • Think about layouts. Draw everything out to scale. You need to know where your furniture is going before you plan electrics. And think about joinery/built-ins up front as, again, you may want electrics wired in, for example for shelf lighting.
  • Consider lots of layers/levels of lighting; it’s important to be able to create the right ambience for different times of day and uses.
grey utility room with stacked appliances
Lauren dreamed of including a utility area as part of the house renovation.
view of the stairs painted in blue with chequerboard flooring and stairs runner
The stair runner is edged with a terracotta binding that works well with the pale blue paint of the stairs.

As originally told to Ben Webb | Photography James French | Styling Marisha Taylor

About Post Author

You Might Also Like


Want to get involved?

[email protected]

Sign up to our newsletter

Want the latest in your inbox?