The one-bedroom flat in Earls Court was the third one Nicola Pastore viewed. ‘It was a wet November night, but I loved it from the moment I walked in,’ he recalls. ‘I liked that it was open plan, with French windows and high ceilings.

‘I decided that it was better to buy a one-bedroom flat in a nicer location than a bigger property in not such a good area,’ he says. ‘I was looking for a period home because I think older buildings get better with every passing year.’ Having rented a flat on the South Bank before moving into a friend’s spare room in South Kensington, Nicola knew that when the time came to buy a property of his own, he wanted to stay in the area.

Although the décor was dated, and a bit of a disaster, it felt spacious with plenty of light.’ Intending to keep the layout as it was – open plan at the front, with folding doors in the middle to screen off the kitchen area, and a tiny bedroom and en suite at the rear – in the two months between viewing and buying the flat, Nicola decided it had lots of potential, and asked his architect friend, Andrea Paone, to redesign the space.

‘I wanted to retain an open plan living, dining and kitchen area, but with a better kitchen,’ he explains. ‘I also thought that a bigger bathroom located between the kitchen and bedroom would be more accessible to guests so they wouldn’t have to walk through the bedroom to access it. My partner Emmeline and I get up at different times for work, so that way we wouldn’t disturb each other.’

The flat is 78 square metres in size, so to retain an open plan multifunctional space, architect Andrea needed to make every centimetre count. Nicola called upon Federico Salvatore, of The Italian Job Construction, to manage the renovation, and the project started in March 2013, with the couple continuing to rent while the building work was carried out. The project ran smoothly, to budget and on schedule, with Nicola and Emmeline moving into their refurbished flat in August 2013.

Fact file

The owners: Nicola Pastore, a bank trader, lives here with girlfriend Emmeline Westin, a marketeer

The property: A one-bedroom Victorian flat in Earls Court, London

The project: Reworking the layout of the apartment including a new kitchen and bathroom cost £125,000

‘I’ve created the look I was after,’ Nicola, homeowner

Small london flat building exterior

The Victorian apartment building features double doors leading onto Nicola’s balcony, where he and partner Emmeline like to eat breakfast or enjoy drinks on a summer’s evening.

Small london flat dining area

When it came to the décor, Nicola enlisted the help of interior designer Katy Ellis. ‘I love Scandi style, and knew that I wanted a palette of cream and grey,’ he says. ‘I find cream relaxing but didn’t want it to look dated, so I opted for grey, too, for a more contemporary look.’

A glass dining table by Gallotti & Radice enhances the sense of space in the studio, as does the overmantel mirror; try Graham & Green for similar. Wall painted in Dulux 70BG 19/071. Pendant lights, Moooi. Fireplace, Chesney’s

Small london flat home office space

This space once housed the service staircase, and features underfloor storage. Cupboard painted in Dulux 53YR 17/504. Desk, Camerich

Small london flat bathroom shower enclosure

Builder Federico Salvatore supplied the shower enclosure, and the ceramic wall tiles are from Surface Tiles. Stone basin and console, L’Ellisse. Wooden storage rack, Ikea

Small london flat before renovation work

The bathroom was renovated during the project

Small london flat bathroom sink storage

Positioned between the kitchen and bedroom, the new bathroom enjoys lots of natural light

Small london flat living room sofas storage

The Minotti grey sofa inspired the décor, complemented by curtains in James Hare Connaught silk, made by Katy Ellis Interiors. For similar engineered flooring, try lacquered Chocolate Oak, Luxury Flooring & Furnishings. Walls in Dulux 70BB 64/033. Floor lamp, Foscarini. Wall units, L’Ellisse. Picture (above TV), Scream London

Small london flat colourful bedroom

A partial wall, painted in Dulux Chalk Blush 1, has been built to provide a walk-in wardrobe behind the bed. Other walls in Dulux Chalk Blush 2. Framed photo, Frank De Mulder. Bed, L’Ellisse

Small london flat kitchen diner open plan

The kitchen units and breakfast bar were made to measure to allow enough width for the passageway leading from the open-plan area to the bathroom and bedroom.

Designed by Grazia Spano, the new kitchen features four slim bespoke wall units by SCIC of Italy. The built-in oven and steam oven are by Miele, and the Corian worktop has an inset induction hob and sink. Bar stools, Lapalma

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  • The full feature appears in the April 2016 issue of Real Homes. For back issues, call 01527 834435. Subscribe today to take advantage of our money-saving subscription offers

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