Residential Project, UK

March 13, 2017

A derelict Grade II Listed house presented a challenge to UK-based STUDIOAida in transforming the space into a home fit for a young family.

With a focus on residential interior design, STUDIOAida brought a wealth of experience to the challenge of transforming a derelict Grade II listed house into a home for a family with two young children.

Having worked closely in the past with heritage consultants MVHC, STUDIOAida are well versed in working on listed buildings and were able to ensure their ideas would be considered a welcome improvement to the property.

Studio Founder Aida Bratvic told darc: “The clients bravely embarked on this massive refurbishment project, which was divided into several stages to work around them as they lived in the property while the work was going on.”

The interior features an original listed panelling that make some parts of the house extremely dark. As a result, lighting played a huge part in the design. STUDIOAida called upon the expertise of PSLab in making such decisions around how to best execute the decorative lighting elements. Bratvic said: “Having worked with PSLab on several projects in the past, they were our first point of call particularly because of the entrance hall that is double height, and was quite dark and unwelcoming.”

In wanting a scheme that was exciting, yet elegant and practical, the challenge was to adequately light the minimal monochrome artwork from a considerable height, while providing a striking piece at the entrance of the home that would reflect the clients’ spirit and artistic personalities.

“PSLab was commissioned to design and supply the entrance hall ceiling lights, while the rest of the lighting was done by us. We like mixing different brands for a more eclectic and lived in look.”

STUDIOAida decided to go for striking pieces that would become focal points in many rooms, and the panelling provided the perfect backdrop for them. The house is set in an acre of garden so in the dining room that opens onto a garden, the idea was to bring the outdoors inside – Moooi’s Heracleum chandelier provided the perfect solution. “It offers a soft glow and even when not lit, the delicate white petals are beautifully juxtaposed with the panelling,” said Bratvic.

With the clients living on site while work was taking place, consistency and careful planning in the stages of this project was essential. “Since we were not engaged before the construction started, some of the lights had to be retro fixed to a finished ceiling, and so had to be fixed from the floor above,” Bratvic continued. “We are architects as well as interior designers, so our technical background is essential when coming up with solutions. PSLab’s lights also came with a neat video showing point by point installation, much to a contractor’s delight!”

The lighting of this property completely transformed a derelict and uninviting space into a real home. “It plays an extremely important part. One can have beautifully designed spaces filled with the most wonderful furniture but if inadequately lit, it will not be noticeable or enjoyable. Lighting should be practical first but we have come a long way since the dreary downlighters of the past. Lighting has become stylish and elegant, and very often a real art installation.

“We were very lucky to have a wonderful client who trusted us even with some unorthodox ideas. We think it’s our duty as designers to push the boundaries and sometimes take the clients a little bit out of their comfort zone, and the results are often extraordinary spaces that they never thought they could have.”

This project is testament to the importance of working with lighting experts on interior projects. STUDIOAida advises clients to engage with a lighting designer where complexity of project and budget allow, seeing their expertise as invaluable, especially in an age when technology changes at such a speed that it’s difficult to keep up.

STUDIOAida has also been asked to seek planning consent to add an additional floor to the property, opening up another stage of the project, and standing as testament to the design studio’s achievements in making a home for this young family. The lighting is not only integral to its interior, but is the most noticed and complemented feature of the house’s design.