When Stephen Kavanaugh of Inside Out Architecture was brought on to rehab a couple's apartment in Clerkenwell, London, recently featured over at Dwell, one of his first concerns was doing right by the "provocative industrial aesthetic" of the Warner House, which has crisscrossing exposed beams and monolithic columns of concrete jutting through its interior. Rather than fight against these Brutalist-leaning features as previous renovations had, with walls that cut arbitrarily through them, Kavanaugh opted to peel away the drywall and expose even more of the concrete shell's "dramatic geometry." After that, the apartment was divided into loft-like, open-plan sections—the living-dining space and kitchen, over which a lighting rig was suspended, and a sitting area outside of one bedroom—while a TV room, bathrooms, two bedrooms, a utility room, and a guest bedroom were all "inserted" with the addition of "numerous bespoke joinery pieces, designed with a light touch and simple, smooth finishes to contrast with, and hence emphasize, the strength of the textured concrete structure."
As with the very best of concrete-heavy living spaces, contrast is the name of the game here, and the flooring of Kährs manor oak does wonders in that regard. The partitions of the "inserted" spaces are made from painted plasterboard and either lacquered or veneered medium-density fiberboard. "Despite their simple expression," Kavanaugh tells Dwell, "the joinery pieces house a wealth of concealed functions, including fold-out beds, integrated radiators, storage units, kitchen appliances, glazed screens, curtain recesses, sliding partitions, and the entire family bathroom. All of the joinery in the project is bespoke, made to suit."