Minimal, Japanese interior with grey resin floor, white walls and modern smoked oak and black leather armchair by Karimoku Case Study

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Listed residence, Whitechapel London

A strikingly minimal, gallery-like space, referencing the tanneries of Dickensian London.

Japanese principles influence the interior, where the pieces of furniture are the exhibits.
A restrained palette of colour and texture. Pared back with no ornamentation.

e1

A strikingly minimal, gallery-like space, referencing the tanneries of Dickensian London.

Japanese principles influence the interior, where the pieces of furniture are the exhibits.
A restrained palette of colour and texture. Pared back with no ornamentation.

Minimal, Japanese living room with grey resin floor, white walls, concealed storage, modern smoked oak and black leather armchair, modern black and white artwork
Modern smoked oak and black leather Japanese armchair by Karimoku Case Study
Modern, minimal Japanese kitchen with grey resin floor, white walls, dark brown black cabinets and work surface black coffee pot and cup
Mangosteen fruit in hand made Japanese wooden bowl on coffee colour kitchen work surface
Modern coffee colour kitchen cabinet with inlaid walnut edge and minimal glassware
Modern, minimal Japanese kitchen in and alcove with grey resin floor, white walls, dark brown black cabinets, stainless steel mixer tap
Minimal Japanese living room with modern smoked oak armchair on grey resin floor with white walls, looking through arch into kitchen with coffee bar and black modern stool, under sash window
Minimal, modern Japanese living room with grey resin floor, white walls, listed sash window, pepper flecked wool low sofa, blackened wood bench and Philodendron in black Japanese pot
Modern sofa with integral smoked oak side table and black Japanese tea cup on grey resin floor
Modern Japanese walnut bed and side table with natural linen bedding against white wall. Grey resin floor and natural wool rug.
Stainless steel chopsticks, natural linen napkin, Japanese ceramic bowl and plate on coffee colour work surface
Modern, minimal wet room with grey resin walls, white handbasin, stainless steel mixer tap, mirror and succulent in a glass vase
Crassula ovata cuttings in glass vase stood on grey resin bathroom plinth
Lifestyle accessories provided by
Bridge&Hill Livingstore
London’s best for Japanese and Scandinavian homeware

Modern, minimal wet room with grey resin floor and walls, sash window, stainless steel shower fixtures and Philodendron plant
Minimal, Japanese living room with grey resin floor, white walls, concealed storage, modern smoked oak and black leather armchair, modern black and white artwork
Modern smoked oak and black leather Japanese armchair by Karimoku Case Study
Narrow leaf Philodendron in black Japanese earthenware pot on blackened wood bench
Modern, minimal Japanese kitchen with grey resin floor, white walls, dark brown black cabinets and work surface black coffee pot and cup
Mangosteen fruit in hand made Japanese wooden bowl on coffee colour kitchen work surface
Modern coffee colour kitchen cabinet with inlaid walnut edge and minimal glassware
Modern, minimal Japanese kitchen in and alcove with grey resin floor, white walls, dark brown black cabinets, stainless steel mixer tap
Minimal Japanese living room with modern smoked oak armchair on grey resin floor with white walls, looking through arch into kitchen with coffee bar and black modern stool, under sash window
Minimal, modern Japanese living room with grey resin floor, white walls, listed sash window, pepper flecked wool low sofa, blackened wood bench and Philodendron in black Japanese pot
Modern sofa with integral smoked oak side table and black Japanese tea cup on grey resin floor
Modern Japanese walnut bed and side table with natural linen bedding against white wall. Grey resin floor and natural wool rug.
Stainless steel chopsticks, natural linen napkin, Japanese ceramic bowl and plate on coffee colour work surface
Modern, minimal wet room with grey resin walls, white handbasin, stainless steel mixer tap, mirror and succulent in a glass vase
Crassula ovata cuttings in glass vase stood on grey resin bathroom plinth
Lifestyle accessories provided by
Bridge&Hill Livingstore
London’s best for Japanese and Scandinavian homeware

Modern, minimal wet room with grey resin floor and walls, sash window, stainless steel shower fixtures and Philodendron plant
featured in
minimalissimo magazine logo
the design

Once surrounded by the leather tanneries of Dickensian Whitechapel, this artisan dwelling was originally built as a lodge for a tanner and his family.

Designed in 1864 by pioneering architect Henry Roberts and now Grade 2 listed, the lodge gives a rare insight into architecture now scarce in east London. From the outside, what appears to be a terraced house, is revealed inside to be two separate properties each with an entrance, living and sleeping rooms, scullery and wash room.

Part derelict by the 1970’s and threatened with demolition, the building was saved, but most original features were removed and modernised. This gave us the freedom during our redesign, to strip out these additions, and reveal the underlying listed structure.

Concept

We challenged ourselves to create a strikingly minimal interior within the listed building. A gallery-like space where the pieces of furniture are the exhibits.

The resulting design is deceptively simple.
A restrained palette. Pared back with no ornamentation. Using as few textures as possible.

The 19th century tanning industry is referenced in our choice of a resin floor. Flowing seamlessly through the entire apartment it continues to form the wet room walls. This natural material appears like leather, with low sheen and subtle colour variation. Joining the walls without the need for skirting, it connects and enlarges the space and removes visual distraction.

Living

As you enter the living space, the resin flows from the entrance, and leads you to the kitchen.

The 70’s skirting, architraves and door frames were removed. Full height concealed storage was inserted either side of the listed chimney breast. Secondary glazing and frosting were added to the sash window for privacy. This eliminated the need for window dressing and accentuated the minimal aesthetic.

We limited materials to wood, leather, resin, wool and plaster - to amplify the beauty of each.

Referencing tanneries, we chose a modern hand finished Japanese armchair. The sculpted leather seat is bound to a smoked oak frame. The leather is recessed, with no raised edges to interrupt the smooth flow of wood. We chose artwork to reflect the chair’s graphic structure. A bold piece reminiscent of Japanese wood block printing and calligraphy.

The sofa with low back and deep seats is perfect for lounging. With an integral side table, it frees the central floor area. The upholstery is pepper flecked wool. A weave of subtle colours - apricot, coffee, black, cream, tan and burnt orange. This brings warmth and softness to the room.

A hand crafted Japanese bench in blackened wood sits beneath the window. A narrow leaf Philodendron nestles in an earthenware pot.

Kitchen

Working with the unusual S-shaped area was particularly challenging. Reminiscent of a Parisian apartment, every square inch had to be cleverly designed to maximise the space.

We organised the kitchen into three functional zones - cooking, washing and utility - and custom built each zone into the three alcoves. The addition of underfloor heating allowed the removal of radiators to give more usable wall space. There was no compromise on specification with every modern appliance included, and even a coffee bar to eat and work at, overlooking the courtyard garden.

We selected the same material for the work surface and cabinet fronts to unify the three zones. A hard wearing, peppercorn toned Fenix with a matte finish. The cabinet doors are inlaid with a walnut edge, which mirrors the wood in the rest of the apartment and is only revealed when open.

Wet Room

To create a wet room within the listed structure required building a room within a room, with false walls and floor. The services couldn’t be relocated, so they were integrated into the design to form the shower area and sink plinth.

The resin covers everything in a continuous flow from floor to ceiling. Stainless steel fixtures blend in as they reflect the colour of the surrounding resin. Subtle light radiates from behind the mirror.

Bedroom

With clever space planning we inserted a partition to create a walk in wardrobe. The rest of the bedroom was kept deliberately minimal.

A low Japanese inspired bed in solid walnut with matching side table. A flat woven rug. Linen bedding and blind. An oasis of calm.

project
Listed Residential
area
37 sqm
materials
Warm grey resin floor and walls, smoked oak, walnut, black leather, Fenix cacao orinoco, stainless steel, natural linen and wool
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