Ten minutes with Laura Logan of House of Logan
Laura Logan, of interior design studio House of Logan, tells us the tale of her Victorian home renovation project.
How to turn forty years of incongruous design decisions into something visually cohesive, functional and beautiful?
This was the key question posed as Laura Logan and her husband, Andy, set about an 18-month renovation project to transform their topsy-turvy Victorian house in London’s East End into a considered, tactile family home with a focus on circular design and natural materials.
‘We’ve always lived in period properties,’ says Laura. ‘I love the visual aesthetic of Victorian dwellings, and the potential they present for creating a collaborative contrast with modern interiors.
‘We’d previously renovated a smaller house in the local area which we were really happy with, however, I used to walk past this one regularly. The more often I passed it, the more I noticed it: slowly at first, then in a more interested way, until eventually, I fell in love with it.’
Happily, in 2019, it became the family’s new home.
‘Our primary aim was to re-establish a sense of coherence within the original Victorian ‘envelope’ and then look to create the thing that Victorian properties so often lack: light and space.
‘The garden’s south facing so we chose to extend at the rear to accommodate an open-plan, daylight-soaked kitchen and dining room, using large oak-framed glazing to maximise the amount of natural light.
‘We wanted to create somewhere where cooking, eating, playing and relaxing could come together in the same space – coexistence instead of contradiction. We also wanted to bring the outside inside, wherein the external world would become seamlessly woven into our domestic internal space.
‘Coexistence still allows for a sense of privacy and wellbeing, and the dining alcove is now probably my favourite area in the whole house for this: it’s cocoon-like and calming yet you can still see and be part of the larger family.’
‘The original small kitchen was turned into a utility, we added another bathroom, and converted the old playroom into a bedroom and ensuite for guests. Upstairs, we opened up one of the bedrooms and added a Juliet balcony.
‘In terms of look and feel, I wanted to create something that incorporated natural materials, local artisanship and earthy palettes. I love to draw on the shared qualities of both Japanese and Nordic design traditions: namely simplicity, functionality and attention to detail.
‘We took a circular approach that prioritised recyclability and reusability – our kitchen island, for example, is a refectory table that I found on eBay – and where we needed to source from new, we took a buy-once-and-buy-well approach.’
‘As any good carpenter will tell you: ‘measure twice, cut once’. The principle here is that once you’re on-site, it’s invariably too late for good design decisions, so time spent planning is time well invested. Use this time to make considered decisions about product and provenance.
‘It’s an approach that was particularly helpful when it came to choosing our fixtures and fittings. Architectural details aren’t necessarily the focus of an interior, but they’re an important ingredient. And using the best possible products can really set a room apart.’
‘It was crucial that the switches, sockets and hardware aligned with the overall aesthetic. The Bronze finish is pared back and sophisticated, and I really liked that it would undergo an ageing process – a characteristic well-suited to a period property.
‘We wanted to make a feature of the beautiful Bronze in many areas, but in certain places where we didn’t want the switch and socket plates, in particular, to be such a focus, we used the Clear version instead. It was a balancing act.’
‘Our home needs to be a canvas that other people can apply their creativity to, so it’s really helpful that the Corston products work with so many different aesthetics.
‘And given the high footfall and how much use everything gets, it’s been so beneficial that the products are functional and hard-wearing.’
House of Logan: www.houseoflogan.co.uk