Located in a 19th-century Victorian building in the tree-lined cosmopolitan area of Belsize Park in North London, the 29sqm/318sqft Shoji Apartment brings its boho-Japanese brief to life with a simple structure, clean lines and flexible design.
In designing this Japanese-inspired apartment, architect John Proctor of Proctor & Shaw wanted to start a conversation about “how space might be reviewed or understood in a qualitative way”. That is, even though the dimensions may be small, how the quality of the architecture and the quality of living can still be extremely high.
This is in fact one of the more aesthetically pleasing properties we have featured. Bright natural materials, clean lines, and soft yellow lighting work with the original features of a large bay window and very high ceilings to create a stylish end product for the owner, a young professional who works and studies in London.
This existing floorplan was completely gutted by Procter during the renovation, existing internal walls blocked the light from the magnificent bay windows so they were pulled down. Originally three rooms, the bedroom was next to the bay windows blocking out any natural light reaching the (very dark) kitchen.
The core of the floorplan takes shape around the ‘sleeping pod’ which, thanks to the 3.4 metre high ceilings, sits high on the floor and on top of a heap of integrated storage.
Enclosed in a series of translucent polycarbonate screens, with thin aluminium frames, the space is clearly defined, yet is flexible in that the partitions can be opened, drawing inspiration from Japanese Shoji screens. Opened during the day, the flow of natural light is encouraged, and the bed doubles as a reading nook with views of the street. At night, with the partitions closed, the pod takes on a cocoon-like atmosphere, the soft yellow light gently glowing like a lantern throughout the rest of the apartment.
The sliding doors open to reveal a space-saving alternate tread staircase, a clever way to provide a steeper angled staircase while maintaining tread depth.
The space that is saved with the staircase is put to good use, with a walk-in cupboard under the bed providing ample storage space, including room for a second freezer.
The kitchen is cleverly built into the cabinetry using the same birch ply material used throughout and combined with the clay works plaster (which naturally patinas over time) and the lino floor creates a natural warmth under the influence of the plentiful natural light.
Carefully selected. high-quality furniture ensures the space is tasteful, luxurious and modern, a thoughtful finish to a stunning home.
Images by Ståle Eriksen