Kitchen Bedroom & Bathroom

Comfort Zone

Article Article Article

An empty office space has been transformed into a warm and welcoming contemporary home.

Minimal may be chic, but it’s also a style of living that is very easy to get wrong. What is meant to be pure and pared down, so often turns into cold and clinical. Gavin Johnston and Mark O’Kane are lucky enough to have the best of both worlds-a clean, contemporary home that has a warm and comfortable ambience.

When they fists found the property, it was an old warehouse that had been converted into offices. With large windows, airy rooms and parquet flooring, it was obvious to both Gavin and Mark that the building had potential but would need an enormous amount of work. "The place was a shell when we first saw it," explains Mark. "We both appreciate modern design and architecture and wanted something contemporary. When we first looked at it, I remember thinking, ‘Could this be homely? Would it be comfortable?’ There was a lot to do before it could be a real home."

Gavin and mark decided to buy the property, so the next stage was to find a designer who would make the required transformation from blank space to living interior. Having only just moved to London, Gavin had few contacts in the design field so he went back to basics and looked in the Yellow Pages. "I had quite definite ideas of my own but I didn’t know how to put them together," he explains. "I phoned a few companies and asked them very specific questions to see if they could meet my demands, but so many of them were vague or tried to subvert my ideas into their own. Then I phoned Detail and spoke to Gordon and Natasha Russell. They were so friendly and relaxed- they really tried to imagine what we wanted in our home."

Gordon’s first step, after being appointed to redesign the house, was to get to know his clients. "Lifestyle is the key to good design," he explains. "We had to establish what Gavin and Mark most wanted from their surroundings and what would make their home an enjoyable place to live. We got to know them before we started so we had a real feel for what their everyday needs might be. It became apparent fairly quickly that Gavin is very style-oriented with lots of clothes, so it was vital that he had lots of organised storage in the bedroom."

Gordon addresses this need by designing an entire wall of wardrobes with different types of storage for shoes, folded garments and hanging. The doors have a distinctive ebony finish and chromed steel handles, while an adjoining storage cupboard features mirrored doors. "Mark and Gavin needed somewhere to store linen and towels," explains Gordon. "So I decided to distinguish this section from the clothes compartments by giving it a mirrored front. It also makes the cupboards look less heavy- they reflect the rest of the room and open up the space."

With the exception of the wardrobe the only other large piece of furniture in the room is a contemporary four-poster bed, also made from chromes steel. "I’ve always loved four poster beds," admits Gavin. "So I asked Gordon if he could design a contemporary one for me."

Being custom made, the bed suited a luxurious 6ft 6inches wide. Sourcing new linen was one task amongst the job of accessorising the property (as all project where this service is required) that was/ is the responsibility of Natasha, Gordon’s wife. "She’s great at identifying exactly the right thing for each room," confirms Gordon. "It’s a good way of directing her natural love of shopping to a productive end."

Leading off the bedroom, an en suite also needed refitting. "The bathroom is small and doesn’t have any windows, so we had to try to keep it as clear and airy as possible," says Gordon. "To create a clean, uncluttered look we kept to one material, using limestone to clad the walls, floor and bath panels. "To ensure that everything fitted together neatly we used one slab of limestone to house an under mounted bath, which also serves as a countertop on which site the basin, with a storage cabinet below. I was very pleased with this solution as it shows you can have good-looking, full size sanitary ware in a compact design."

Gavin and Mark were extremely pleased with the results. "We were so lucks to find Gordon and Natasha as they have a real passion for their work," enthuses Gavin. "On the day after the work was finished, they were waiting for me with a bottle of champagne in this wonderful, glowing house. They design with ambiance and intelligence and get a real kick out of making their clients happy."

Mark couldn’t agree more. "The whole place feels very relaxed and comfortable now and it was so easy given that the project was delivered in time and on budget" he concludes. "We’re actually leaving it behind for a year to go travelling now. After that, if we move on somewhere else we‘ll definitely involve Natasha and Gordon in the design again."