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seeing the light

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The owners of an 1830s listed house in London's Stockwell planned to restore it to its former glory. But a tour of architects' houses during Open House Weekend prompted them to commission David Mikhail to take a more radical approach Custom-made fitted wall cabinets in the mezzanine sitting room are inspired by the work of Jean Prouve, and provide the room with a contemporary focal point.

The main structural move was to lower a portion of the raised 'ground floor' creating a double-height room at garden level, overlooked by a mezzanine. Although half of the lower ground floor is too low for occupation, and is now used for storage, the increase in light compensates for the loss of space.

The greeny-blue glass staircase in the hallway, illuminated by the skylight above, is the first indication that the interior has been transformed.

The outsize door to the right offers a clue to the proportions of the doubleheight dining room beyond.

The original gloomy self-contained rooms have been replaced with a series of light-drenched interlocking spaces.Those in the kitchen can keep an eye on children in the dining and living areas, while the raised living area doubles up as a music room and an impromptu stage.

Having removed the lower ground floor kitchen, the architect punched through the side wall to create a kitchen extension which opens onto the dining room. The kitchen roof is of seamless reinforced glass while one of the glazed side walls is retractable, opening up to the garden The children's beds are ranged along one side of the shared bedroom to allow the maximum space for play - the spare middle bed is used for visiting friends. The room is designed so that it can be divided into three smaller rooms as the children grow older and require more privacy.

Generous storage along one side of the master bedroom allows for an uninterrupted main space. The logs below the fireplace are only for show - it is in fact a gas fire.

The self-draining teak criss-cross flooring used in the en suite bathroom to the master bedroom is more commmonly used in the design of yachts.

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