written by:
photos by:
March 12, 2016
Originally published in Kitchens and Baths We Love
as
Perks of the Business
When their house was in need of a pick-me-up, a London couple turned to the designer of their favorite coffee shop for an industrial-strength renovation.
A salvaged dining table and chairs at a London home

In the Norton family home in London’s Stoke Newington district, Jamie Norton and his sons, Miller, 3, and Ned, 7, enjoy a meal at a salvaged table and chairs found at a local vintage shop. The ceramics are by Richard Batterham.

Photo by 
1 / 9
Renovated kitchen/dining area in London

The renovated kitchen/dining area boasts views of the garden through sliding doors by IQ Glass. Ultratop flooring by Mapei and custom millwork in Lebanese cedar give the space a practical, industrial quality. 

Photo by 
2 / 9
Modern London family home with pine floorboards, Ercol armchair and footstool, and gubi floor lamp in the music room

Furniture throughout the house echoes the soft materiality of the architectural details, which include original pine floorboards refinished with lye and wood soap. The music room armchair and footstool are vintage, from Ercol; the blue-gray Grasshopper floor lamp is by Greta Grossman from Gubi. 

Originally appeared in The Architect Behind Some of London's Homiest Coffee Shops
3 / 9
Renovated kitchen in London

In the kitchen, white MDF cabinets stow tools. A Lebanese cedar island and stainless-steel countertops provide ample work space—and a place to display treasured items, such as the Buono V60 drip kettle by Hario. The island features a Franke sink with a Vola faucet. The oven is by Siemens.

Photo by 
4 / 9
A London house with Victorian brick, a modern extension, and Velfac windows

The rear of the house features Victorian brick, a modern extension, and Velfac windows. Landscape designer Matthew Wright was inspired by the art of Henri Rousseau when choosing plants to set amid the garden’s Dorset pebbles. 

Photo by 
5 / 9
London bathroom with sandblasted glass windows

Sandblasted glass gives the bathroom window a frosted finish and—together with white mosaic tiles and mirrors—brightens the small space. 

Photo by 
6 / 9
London hallway painted matte-white

The hallway’s matte-white paint is a crisp backdrop to refurbished details like the balustrade. 

Photo by 
7 / 9
Ib Kofod-Larsen rocker in a London renovation

At the top of the stairs, an Ib Kofod-Larsen rocker sits in the master bedroom

Photo by 
8 / 9
Intersect House floor plan

“Designing a house is like writing a song: You try as best you can and you have to finish at some point. You’re probably best to write another song than driving yourself mad.”—Jamie Norton, resident

 

Photo by 
9 / 9
A salvaged dining table and chairs at a London home

In the Norton family home in London’s Stoke Newington district, Jamie Norton and his sons, Miller, 3, and Ned, 7, enjoy a meal at a salvaged table and chairs found at a local vintage shop. The ceramics are by Richard Batterham.

Project 
Intersect House

The relentless rise of the coffeehouse is often credited to the status of these caffeine-pushing hangouts as homes away from home. The softness of the sofas and the strength of the wi-fi draw customers to these public living rooms as much as the availability of almond milk flat whites. In London, Jamie and Becky Norton flipped this concept on its head by taking the design features of their favorite cafes as inspiration for their home. (“I am a little bit obsessed with coffee,” Jamie confesses.)

The simple facade of their northeast London town house promises Victorian-style living, but architecture firm William Tozer Associates has given the Stoke Newington home the feel of a stripped-back commercial space—one that somehow still looks cozy. The couple’s young sons, Ned and Miller, certainly look at home, as do Burmese cats Spike and Millie. 

“Initially, we saw William Tozer’s work in a lot of my favorite coffee shops, such as Fernandez & Wells,” says Jamie, who is a musician and songwriter. “Our youngest, Miller, was on the way, and I thought we needed somewhere that looks great but is also practical. I kept saying, ‘We need our own coffee shop at home.’ Then a friend asked if I knew his friend William Tozer. He was exactly who we needed.” 

Renovated kitchen in London

In the kitchen, white MDF cabinets stow tools. A Lebanese cedar island and stainless-steel countertops provide ample work space—and a place to display treasured items, such as the Buono V60 drip kettle by Hario. The island features a Franke sink with a Vola faucet. The oven is by Siemens.

Tozer’s commercial work in Soho and Fitzrovia deliberately translates his domestic design into coffee shops and retail outlets that blend the natural with the industrial; the Norton home turns that learning full circle. The black uplighters in the living room are the sort of $15 model used as outdoor security lights, the cement-like floors in the dining area are mop-friendly, and the clutter-free, cedar-lined kitchen seemingly awaits the arrival of its barista. 

“We like to be able to close it down at the end of the evening, when we’ve finished the shift,” says Becky, shutting a cupboard door as she lightly pokes fun at how closely the couple’s living space resembles a working coffee joint. Becky works as a massage therapist, mostly treating dancers. 

The kitchen features carefully thought-out design decisions, like the inclusion of an induction stove,  derived from Jamie’s relentless pursuit of trade secrets—a quest so thorough that local baristas started sharing hardware tips as they followed every detail of the kitchen build. A mirrored backsplash is a clever move that allows whoever is cooking to be involved in conversation with those at the dining room table. It also bounces natural light back into the space, aiding a skylight that opens up what was once a small, dark extension to the rear of the house. 

The efficient use of space was also led by the Nortons, who had moved from a cramped apartment nearby. “The last place we had was so small that every square foot mattered,” Jamie says. “We felt we should carry on with that, especially when it came to storage.” In the new home, nearly all of it is built in, including the kitchen’s Lebanese cedar cupboards and drawers made by a joiner. 

Custom carpentry and a considered approach to space appear in every part of the home: cedar recurs as the bathroom floor, while the blocky built-in bunks in the boys’ room leaves plenty of floor space for play. Everything can take the scuffs and kicks that the energetic young boys serve up, just one advantage of working with materials usually applied in public spaces. 

“With commercial clients we design the whole environment, and that is what we have done with this house,” Tozer says. “Jamie was very focused on detail, going around and finding coat hangers he liked. You can open any cupboard door in the house and it still looks beautiful.”

London bathroom with sandblasted glass windows

Sandblasted glass gives the bathroom window a frosted finish and—together with white mosaic tiles and mirrors—brightens the small space. 

That the Nortons had remodeled their previous home was a plus for Tozer and his team. “It’s an advantage having a client who has worked with an architect before,” he says. “Tempers can flare, as you are hand-holding them through an unfamiliar process where the money is coming out of their pocket. You don’t have that with commercial clients, but it is hard to find a commercial client who cares as much.” 

Jamie’s attention to detail and Becky’s willingness to go along with it all certainly pays off in the final result. Heaters, crockery, and window frames were all painstakingly researched and sourced—a family holiday was once detoured to pick up lighting in Belgium. Jamie wandered the neighborhood’s streets while construction was underway, measuring glass to wood to letterbox ratios and drawing strange looks from those whose doors he photographed. But he was not happy until one last element was resolved.

“I can get a bit lost in the details,” Jamie admits. “The final part was deciding on the font for the house number painted on the glass above the door. That was a very nice moment. That was the finish line.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016