15 May 2010

My London Studio Apartment

Reading all the wonderful blogs I do, it has made me really appreciate 'real' interiors, as much as I ADORE a beautifully styled room, there is something fascinating about seeing how 'real' people live; especially before and afters!. As I have never owned my own house/flat/apartment/hovel of my own, (that in its self is an interior designers version of chinese water torture) it has made me inventive when it comes to putting my own stamp on the many rental properties I have lived in over the years. You have to work that much harder, to work around or with things that are really not your taste, but still make it feel like its your home.

Although its not the most inventive I have been in my rental life, I thought you might enjoy seeing my last flat in London, the small but perfectly formed studio flat - before and after photos........ be kind ;)
Du Cane Court Balham, the original plans
Du Cane Court is an Art Deco apartment block on Balham High Road, Balham, South West London.
A distinctive local landmark, it was opened in 1937, with 676 apartments, is the largest privately owned block of flats under one roof in Europe. It is so distinctive (at least from the air) that it was reputedly used as a navigational landmark by German pilots bombing London during the second world war. It was a popular place to live for many music hall stars in the 1930s and '40s and boasted a social club, on the top floor, before the area was converted into flats. My flat was part of the old Social Club.
Du Cane Court now, my flat was on the top of the stepped section
half of the second to top 'step' was my roof terrace, one of only two large terraces in the whole building
BEFORE: looking from the sleeping area towards living & terrace

     AFTER: I moved the dining into the middle of the room & put living in the corner, it was a great spot to stash all my excess fabric collection.......!

BEFORE: the kitchen, the green tiles really didn't do it for me, but you work with what you have

AFTER: I managed to squeeze ALOT into that tiny kitchen. Rockin' the Cath Kidston teatowel

AFTER: the utensils sat in an old glass jar & the fruit bowl, next to the pot plants, was also clear glass, great for not taking up too much visual space in a tight spot
BEFORE: sleeping area to living

BEFORE: very attractive shelving unit (NOT) I did get permission to paint, but never got round to it

BEFORE: Whole back wall of wardrobes with cupboards above, my saving grace

AFTER: I covered the shelving unit with a beige stripe cotton, perfect for disguising the ugly shelves and back of stereo and books

AFTER: the amount of stuff I managed to shoe horn into those cupboards was a miracle!

BEFORE: front door to the left
AFTER: kitchen to the right, bathroom door next to wardrobe on right
BEFORE: bathroom

AFTER: not a huge change, but the voile curtain gave me much more privacy

BEFORE: was dining, now.....

AFTER: living, this is where I used to sit to blog, hence the mac. The armchair is one of the few pieces of furniture I shipped back to NZ with me. I found it looking battered and sad, got it fixed and reupholstered, its now my fav piece! P.S: The main curtains were not my choice....

AFTER: I put up the printed voile at the window, privacy, peace & calm (apart from the traffic noise!!!)
AFTER: winter cosiness
BEFORE: living/dining to front door

AFTER: not the greatest image, the book shelf got V full with all my china finds....but cosy

AFTER: looking through from the roof terrace

AFTER: living to terrace, indoor/outdoor flow was great

BEFORE: roof terrace

Enjoy the great views from the terrace

Can you see Canary Wharf in the background?

can you see the Gherkin Building in the back ground?

Thanks for visiting, do call again I'll put the kettle on :)

past posts about life in the studio flat here
 and here 

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Blogger A-M said...

Wow, your post just blows my mind... fancy living in London in a studio apartment. I lived and worked in North London 20 years ago but I could only afford to live in 'visiting medical officers quarters' for 19 pounds a week. You have such a lovely spot with fantastic views and you have made such a beautifully warm home out of a small space! A-M xx

15 May 2010 at 16:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss London so much.
When viewing your pictures it reminded me of my own little studio I lived in, tiny but so cosy, and I had many a guest over, cooked up a storm in my tiny kitchenete lol.
Aww the memories.

15 May 2010 at 18:59  
Blogger Max's Mummy said...

Oh Van!!! I miss Du Cane Court. And I miss you!!!
Tell me more about Google analytics.
Love your work babe. xxx

16 May 2010 at 01:54  
Blogger Roberta said...

Wow your place is fantastic...just love those views :D I know how hard it is to fit everything you want in one place...we downsized twice in one year from 3,500 sqft to 1400 sqft and now we are in our "Love Shack" of 700 sqft...but we love it. We also have a small patio which we didn't have in our intermediate apt. and I love it. Of course we do not have the views that you do...that is so inspiring. Have a great weekend, fondly, Roberta

16 May 2010 at 02:22  
Blogger Windlost said...

Vanya, I love your old flat! I often wondered what your flat was like, as I knew you rented, but you never showed many photos. I know what it is like to rent as I did it for 18 years, which is probably why it occurred to me to wonder about your space. I think it was triggered after you showed your bathroom with its voile curtain. I loved that picture. And I have never seen a bathroom sink in front of a window like that - so interesting.

Your space looks like it was very light and airy and the open terrace is amazing - great views and available outdoor space can really make a smaller place feel less oppressive. It looks like it was a good size for a studio and all your lovely things fit in! I love seeing where you blogged (nice chair!). It looks like a perfect space for a London rental - I imagined smaller spaces and more cramped. I would love to live there for a year but imagine it must be hard with real estate so expensive. One could never consider buying anywhere close to "downtown".

Thanks for sharing and loved your V&A print too and your voile curtains and pretty white bed and such. Lovely space - hope you don't miss it too badly (not the traffic anyway)!

xo Terri

16 May 2010 at 02:26  
Blogger jules @ The Diversion Project said...

Wow, what a fabulous flat you had!! Having a roof space like that in London is pretty special.

I'm really taken with that V&A - its one of my favourite museums in the world.

16 May 2010 at 17:06  
Blogger B said...

What a fabulous place! I love what you did with it. Do you miss it sometimes? That's the one thing I hadn't prepared myself for when we moved to Canada...when you leave it's like leaving 'home' all over again! Still, you've got the sunshine where you are ;O)

Glad you liked my 'stuff' tell me more about your shop...

B x
p.s I love Max's Mummy,she's great. And we obviously have the same taste... at least in boys names!

18 May 2010 at 19:54  
Blogger Heart Felt said...

Wow, what amazing views....love the little terrace..Your visit the other day has got me all itchy....I want to renovate the house......too bad, It will have to wait. xx

22 May 2010 at 18:42  

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