Though television producer Rosie Rockel was a first-time homeowner when she renovated her South London apartment, she was able to approach the project with some useful background experience. Rosie’s entertainment industry job has her working on the show Grand Designs, a British home improvement series that highlights impressive, elaborate architecture. Perhaps that’s why she was so confident in her ability to design the kitchen remodel on her own. “I had a very clear picture of exactly what I wanted it to look like,” Rosie says.
The main aims were to bring light into this room of her flat, which is situated in the semisubterranean basement of a massive Victorian mansion, and connect it with the private garden. To achieve this, Rosie submitted multiple rounds of inventive blueprints to the local planning authority, but strict conservation laws only permitted her to construct a standard, conservatory-like extension with a glass roof. Though this building style was not her first choice, it actually allowed her to accomplish both her goals. Sunshine flows in amply, illuminating the once-dingy area and offering an ideal environment to grow Rosie’s bevy of potted plants. The indoor and outdoor foliage live together harmoniously, fusing the spaces to create a lush, verdant haven in the middle of a buzzing neighborhood.
Location: Though the address is technically on the bustling Brixton Road, the house is set back as a refuge from the action. “When you come off the street, which is really busy and hectic and polluted, and there’s this very quiet, high-walled, green garden out the back, it really does feel like a little oasis,” Rosie says.
The before: Prior to the renovation, the kitchen and living room were combined in a cramped, gloomy box. With just a single barred window, the area was so dark that Rosie needed to keep all the lights on during the day. The finishes were also rather cheap.
The inspiration: “The building itself is Victorian, but because it’s a basement flat, there are no original features—no cornicing, no historical fireplaces. If I had had those things, I probably would’ve gone for a more classical look, but I thought it would be quite nice to go for something that had echoes of modernism. I wanted it to have a slight midcentury feel, but also be quite contemporary.”
Square footage: 4 square meters (approximately 43 square feet)
Budget: £70,000 (approximately $89,700)
Cabinetry: Pluck Custom Birch Plywood Cabinets with Ruskin Blossom Laminate and London Plane Veneer Fronts and Pill-Shaped Recessed