Mortlake Apartment is a minimal apartment located in London, United Kingdom, designed by Giles Reid Architects. The brief was to re-plan the interior of a two story apartment on the Thames, London. It sits on the finishing line of the Oxford / Cambridge boat race, at a bend in the river with a clear view from Chiswick to Barnes Bridges. Opposite lies Dukes Meadows. At night one can see for 180° without any city lights. The building was a former public house ‘The Queen’s Head Hotel.’ It is situated on the site of the library of Tudor astronomer John Dee (1527-1609).
The existing plan had the bedrooms, including a child’s bedroom, opening directly off the living space. The adult’s bedroom broke up the long river elevation. The only means of escape was past the open plan kitchen. The key idea was to reorganize the plan into bands running parallel with the river. In the first band is the kitchen, dining and living areas. Both bedrooms and a new common bathroom is located in the second ‘band’. Closest to the entrance is the laundry and ensuite, now accessed from the main bedroom. A key aim was to create discrete views through and across the interior and maintain a sense of the bigger whole. A glazed slot besides the fireplace allows a glimpse from the living area to the windows of the main bedroom, yet maintains privacy.
The hall, lined with bookcases, runs from the main entrance to the living room and acts as a spine to the plan. The apartment was stripped back to its structure and a new opening made to link what had been the common bathroom to the new main bedroom. New plumbing and electrics were installed throughout. Thin sawn English oak was used for both flooring and skirting, and run across the base of internal doors. The oak has a band sawn finish and a white pigmented stain to emphasize its grain under raking light. The oak is also run diagonally up both walls of the stair to the sunroom above.
The board setting out on one wall exactly mirrors that on the wall opposite. This creates something of a trompe l’oeil effect with the sunroom’s balustrade on the sun room floor. Joinery is made of plain smooth solid oak with a clear matte finish. Full height cupboard and sliding doors are hand painted. The kitchen worktop, is made of solid stone, as is the hearth. The brick fireplace was restored and bagged with a lime render. Walls and floors to both ensuite and bathroom are also solid limestone, as is the external terrace paving. External chapel windows have been refurbished and some have been replaced to match.
Photography by Mary Gaudin