Behind the retained façade of a grand Victorian house on Glebe Place in Chelsea, a two year reconstruction project has transformed the interiors into a 371 sq.m. “Tate Modern style” 5 bedroom residence. Serving as a magnificent private art gallery with spectacular double height living spaces and voluminous interiors.
The owner of the house has a spectacular modern art collection and wanted to create a family home that would also serve as a “private Tate Modern”, with voluminous interiors, high ceilings and professional art gallery lighting.
Stephen Fletcher Architects, which specialises in residential refurbishments and is known for creating contemporary spaces within period buildings, was commissioned to spearhead the transformation of the Victorian house into a striking modern family home. Whilst the Victorian front façade and roof were retained, the interiors and rear façade of the house were completely remodelled and rebuilt.
In order to increase volume and daylight, a new 3 metre basement was constructed below the existing lower ground floor, creating a home which is now the equivalent of six storeys in height. The installation of a new open plan style central staircase facilitated the creation of large rooms to the front and rear of the house.
Throughout the remodelled house Stephen Fletcher Architects has used full height doors, clean lines, large windows, polished concrete or light-timber flooring and art gallery style ceiling lighting to create a bright and airy ambience. Uniquely, it feels like both a home and an artistic space with the interiors skillfully designed to maximise space and light.
Visitors enter the house via the front garden and outside steps up to the raised ground floor entrance hall. Like the rest of the house, the entrance hall has cool clean lines with a deep bay window and feature glass floor that allows light to flood into the kitchen/breakfast room below.
The adjoining Tate Modern style staircase, crafted in concrete with glass balustrades, provides an elevated position from which stunning views are provided into the spectacular double height main drawing room which has a 6 metre (20 ft) high ceiling and 5.5 metre (18ft) tall windows overlooking the 32ft West facing garden.
Located on the lower ground floor, the main drawing room forms a vast atrium space that soars two stories to the raised ground floor ceiling above. It is the architectural centrepiece of the house and the double height walls and voluminous interior provides the perfect canvas for showcasing both large and small pieces of contemporary art and sculpture.
Adjoining the main drawing room on the lower ground floor is the spacious family kitchen / breakfast room which has sleek designer units, central island, stone worktops and Gaggenau appliances. Mirrored floor to ceiling cupboards line one wall creating a further sense of space and depth and light cascades into the space through the feature glass ceiling and bay window. There is also a guest cloakroom and extensive vault storage located off the kitchen.
The basement floor continues the art gallery ambience of the rest of the house. There is a 40 ft long art gallery style wide corridor with ceiling lighting, providing a perfect space for showcasing pictures and other artwork. This opens into a spacious dining room with coffered ceiling with a large aquarium inset into one wall. The dining room interconnects with a wine store and media room/reception room, which together create a vast 15 metre (50ft) space for entertaining, family gatherings and showcasing artwork. The space is further illuminated by a skylight which forms a feature to the terraced garden above. There is also a guest cloakroom with a glass wall formed by the aquarium, a kitchenette/laundry room and staff bedroom with ensuite shower room on the lower ground floor.
The family bedrooms are on the upper floors of the house and all have timber flooring inspired by the Saatchi Gallery, sleek fitted wardrobes and bright interiors. The master bedroom suite occupies the entire first floor of the house with full height doors creating a sense of space and volume. The bedroom overlooks the rear garden and the suite has a mirrored dressing room and master bathroom with sculptural freestanding bathtub and walk-in rainforest shower with modern art style showerheads. There are two bedrooms on the second floor, each with ensuite bathrooms.
The top floor of the house provides highly flexible living space and has two interconnecting spaces, a bar/servery hidden behind built in wardrobes, and a bathroom/shower room. This floor could accommodate two beds; a bedroom and sitting area; or provide a large entertaining space. An addition, a sliding door could easily be added two create two separate bedrooms. Steps from this space lead up to a glass roof which slides open to give access to a spectacular timber-decked terrace than spans the entire roof of the house.