NewsDwell Magazine features Highbury Fields Apartment
Our recently completed refurbishment of a two-bedroom apartment in a listed Georgian building on Highbury Fields has been published in the May/ June issue of Dwell Magazine.
Change of Scene. In London, a Dramatic Blue Stairway Amps Up the Allure of An Actor’s Apartment
Los Angeles–based actor and director Satya Bhabha had a nomadic upbringing, spending time in the U.K. and India before settling in the U.S. But the one home Satya and his family have held on to since he was born is a ground-floor apartment in a Georgian terrace house in North London. The residence is “very personal to my family,” he says, which is why, despite his still-peripatetic existence, Satya has kept the apartment, renting it out during his extended absences from London.
The home sits between contrasting green spaces. Highbury Fields, a bustling public park full of dog walkers and young families, is across the street from the front kitchen and living area, while in back, two bedrooms face a lush private garden that functions as “an intimate extension of the house,” says Satya.
But because of a 20th-century alteration, the bedrooms were connected to the rest of the apartment by a few steps in an awkward, small central room that complicated movement - and blocked the sight line - from front to back. To improve the flow, Satya called on London- and Berlin-based architectural practice Patalab, which replaced a section of wall in the stair room with open shelving that lets in more daylight as well as views of the surrounding greenery. That kind of transparency is typical of the Georgian period, “when you could look through a building and see the garden behind,” says Patalab founder and director Uwe Schmidt-Hess.
The stairway now forges a visual and physical connection between the apartment’s front and back, but it’s more than a mere passageway. With its walls, ceiling, and floors painted a deep cobalt blue, the room is also a focal point of the home. “We imagined making this space an event in itself,” says Patalab project architect Dora Hartridge. “At parties, you might stand around on the staircase with drinks, chatting with someone.”
Inspired by Satya’s love of jewel tones, the saturated hue dramatically accents the apartment’s otherwise neutral palette and the greenery beyond. “In having this dark void,” he says, “you think more of the light on the other side.”