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A contemporary and eclectic apartment in north London

January 10, 2023

Anjoli Rakhit bought her three-bedroom apartment in 2015. After renting in Notting Hill, while studying Interior Design at the University of the Arts London, she set her sights on Hampstead, north London, to put down roots with her two children Sienna, 10, and Tala, seven.

Her apartment is in a converted 1800s built Victorian house near Hampstead Heath. With an eclectic blend of contemporary and traditional style elements, alongside a bold use of colour, Anjoli has injected warmth and character into her refurbished London apartment.

Gateway to Hampstead Heath

‘Hampstead is full of charm and has a personality all of its own, along with a rich history full of artists, architects and historians’ Anjoli explains.

‘It’s also the gateway to Hampstead Heath, a wild, rambling area of fields, ponds, and ancient woodland. I grew up on the outskirts of Vancouver, surrounded by nature and felt a real connection to the area.’

Eventually, she was drawn to this ground level, three-bedroom London apartment, split over two floors in a converted four-storey Victorian house.

‘It was smaller than I was looking for, but positioned on a pretty tree-lined street, a stone’s throw from the heath and local shops, it was worth compromising on the size to be in the right location.’

This three-bedroom refurbished London apartment in a converted Victorian house is an eclectic blend of contemporary and traditional elements

Photo: James French

A generous open-plan space downstairs

The London apartment has been refurbished to a high standard, and the downstairs rooms had been knocked through by the previous owner, to create a generous open-plan space, with a light filled conservatory built on one end, leading through to a small garden.

The kitchen was central to the layout, with new contemporary cabinetry and a large island from Ikea, and there was plenty of room either side for living and dining areas.

‘As I was expecting my second daughter, Tala, at the time, and my eldest daughter, Sienna, was only a toddler, I remember feeling rather relieved there was no pressing renovation work that needed doing and I could simply move in!’

modern kitchen extension with island in a ground-floor london apartment

Photo: James French

Matte grey walls and ceilings

However, the apartment had been whitewashed to sell and lacked character and depth. ‘It’s strange how oppressive the white walls felt on the lower ground,’ Anjoli recalls.

‘Compared to the high ceilings in the bedrooms upstairs, the ones downstairs were much lower, and being on the basement level also meant the area didn’t get much natural light. Anjoli decided to use this to her advantage, painting all the walls, including the ceiling, in a matte dark grey.

‘This changed the atmosphere completely, all of the colours I added to the space with artwork and plants instantly looked more vibrant, the colour felt much more intentional and luxurious’.

Painting the walls a dark matte grey added depth and atmosphere

Photo: James French

A marble fireplace adds a cosy welcome

The front of the living area is north facing and much darker, but with an open fire already in place, it had the potential to become a cosy, welcoming retreat.

‘I love the marble fireplace, it’s one of my favourite features in the house, and with our comfy sofas arranged around it, the space feels snug – the perfect spot to relax and unwind in after a long day.’

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In contrast, the back of the house is much lighter and leads straight onto the garden via the conservatory – the perfect home for a dining table and chairs, with green upholstered banquette seating built into the nook between the old and new external walls.

‘On the opposite side of the room, I wanted to create a comfortable reading corner full of plants, with long floating shelves to house our books. I found an elegant chaise longue on Vinterior to fit the space, which I reupholstered in an opulent House of Hackney fabric to give it a new lease of life.’

Anjoli re-upholstered this chaise lounge in House of Hackney fabric

Photo: James French

Turning the garden into a haven

To complete the downstairs space of the refurbished London apartment, Anjoli has worked hard to get the garden right.

‘Essentially it was just a patch of mud when we first moved in’ she says, ‘and I wanted it to look green all year round. I painted the garden walls the same dark grey as the interior, so they felt like a continuation of the inside, and planted vines and jasmine, which now cover the walls.’

With the addition of a stylish pizza oven and contemporary garden furniture, she has made the garden feel like an extension of the apartment, beautifully framed by the sliding doors of the conservatory. ‘It’s like having an extra room,’ she adds.

The garden is an outdoor haven in this north London home

Photo: James French

Hotel-style bedroom

In contrast, the upstairs has an entirely different feel to the open plan space downstairs, the high ceilings and large windows make it feel bright and airy, and Anjoli has embraced that, choosing a much softer colour palette to enhance the period elegance.

‘The layout in the main bedroom needed a complete rethink, as it felt closed off and small, so I moved the bed to the other side of the room and had wardrobes built right up to the ceiling to accentuate the height of the space.’

The bathroom has the feel of a luxury hotel

Photo: James French

Maximising light was key

The small adjoining en suite also felt closed off with no natural light, so had the two rooms knocked through, leaving the stud wall exposed – a design detail that gives a sense of separation but maximises on natural light.

‘It’s a now wonderful open space that feels like being in a luxury hotel suite. I love sipping a coffee in bed and enjoying the views out of the window in the morning, or relaxing and watching the girls splash around in the bath before bedtime,’ says Anjoli.

Photo: James French

Balancing eclectic and contemporary style

‘When we first moved in the apartment was a contrast of light and dark, and by exploiting these different characteristics the space has been allowed to evolve in an organic way.’

The contemporary feel of the renovation has been skilfully balanced with an eclectic mix of antique pieces and colourful flourishes, all reflecting Anjoli’s interest in the arts and love of the natural world.

The refurbished London apartment is dotted with interesting pieces, most with a story, such as the Spanish 17th century, gilded brass mirror, gifted by a hotelier friend in Canada, and the beautiful chandelier that takes centre stage in the master bedroom.

‘Rumour has it, it once belonged to Lillie Langtry, the mistress of King Edwards VII,’ muses Anjoli. ‘I believe a person’s home should be their sanctuary, but also have pockets of excitement and playfulness, to bring joy and distract from the mundane – exactly what I feel I have achieved in my home.’


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A message from the editor:

Let us help you create the home of your dreams! Get ideas & inspiration from Good Homes every month, delivered direct to your door. Visit goodhomesmagazine.com/newsletter to sign up for the weekly Good Homes newsletter. Meet the Good Homes team at Ideal Home Show and be inspired by our on-trend roomsets.

~ Karen Walker, Editor, Good Homes