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Looking Up: Dream Design for Kitchen

May 17, 2023

Anurag Yadav

How a well-designed ceiling can work magic in the kitchen is well demonstrated by the unique design in a London house by Billy and Katerina, Bureau De Change.

Whenever one thinks about ceilings for homes, the thing that comes to mind is white and flat. Despite all the developments and innovations in kitchen interior design, this aspect usually ends up neglected or far from the reach of new or unique treatments. Despite the attention to designing and decorating the rest of the house, a ‘ceiling’ seems to be something that skips the mind rather easily.

A great ceiling design, whether it is in the living room, the kitchen or the bedroom, can give a unique, inimitable and individual character to that space. Not only residents but guests also experience the difference simply by coming across uniquely designed ceilings that leave an indelible impression in the mind.

Designers and homeowners do aver that we have all forgotten to look up. Incorporating external elements, especially greenery, can make a dramatic impact. Creativity demands, wherever possible, to make ceilings a part of any room’s beauty but when it comes to the kitchen, the change can be amazing.

As an assignment for Billy Mavropoulos and Katerina Dionysopoulou of Bureau de Change, their London-based design company, this three-storey period terrace house in North London appealed to a scheme that would open up views to the adjoining Parkland Walk conservation area and create an enriched family kitchen and living space.

Large panels of glass set into the zigzagging ceiling and rear wall of the extension look out into a secluded garden and the treetops of the park. Photo Courtesy: Billy and Katerina

The focal point of the project is a pleated roof at the back of the house, which appears to be formed from a flat surface, forced to crinkle up into a faceted structure, as it is pushed up against the exterior wall. From the garden, the pleats are purposefully sunk from view, creating the impression of a simple flat roof, which allows the character of the original building to stand out.

Katerina Dionysopoulou, Co-Founder of Bureau de Change says, “With the pleated roof we wanted to not only bring a graphic feel to the modern extension but also create a feeling of motion which would emphasise the meeting of old and new.”

The original building fabric at ground level has been removed, and replaced by the new folded extension which appears to 'prop up' the remainder of the house. Eliminating any visible columns was technically challenging, but essential in preserving uninterrupted views and forging a connection between the interior and surrounding woodland.

Materials and colors were carefully proportioned and distributed to visually mark the transitions between living spaces and to create a natural circulation. Photo Courtesy: Billy and Katerina

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Aside from its graphic appeal, the folded roof was also designed with practical applications in mind. Forming a side and rear extension, the roof expands the existing kitchen and creates a new dining and work area. The roof pleats are replicated along the party wall, concealing a home office which can be opened up when required, and creating an alcove into which seating snugly slots. The boundary of the kitchen is marked assertively by the end of the pleated ceiling, which is capped by a midnight blue surface that emphasises its ample peaks and troughs. Darkened surfaces continue through the kitchen, connecting it to a long passage that extends along the left side of the property, conveniently and discreetly creating a storage and utilities ‘zone’.