FIRE adds pink plaster walls to the renovation of the council house in south London

Architectural studio VATRAA won the award Don’t move, improve! award with this renovation of the House of London, which features plaster walls in pink tones and an oversized window.


The project, called Council Renovation, involved the complete renovation and refurbishment of a two-bedroom house in Bermondsey, south London.

VATRAA’s design is joint winner in the 2021 Compact Design category for Don’t move, improve!

The large window creates transparency from front to back in the renovation of the Council House

FIREThe client wanted a warm, modern interior that gave her more space, but without an extension that would ruin the look of the council estate, built in the 1980s.

Instead, the architects wanted to create a spaciousness in a small 76-square-foot apartment by making only minimal interventions.

Renovation of the town hall with pink plaster walls
The architects created a warm and modern look

Realizing the possibilities that a small footprint measuring seven by seven meters provides for improved transparency in the front to the back, the architects replaced the decorative bay window with a larger square-lined square.

It shapes a new aesthetic feature and frames the view of the evergreen front garden.

Living room with pink plaster walls
The ceiling beams are exposed in the living room

Another key feature is the textured, dark airy pink walls.

This effect is created by what VATRAA describes as a “banal” plaster, British Gypsum Multifinish, avoiding the cost and resources of wall paints.

VATRAA carefully applied plaster to achieve a textured and slightly reflective finish that responds well to daylight, creating different moods and effects at different times of the day.

Combined with white ceilings and white washed oak floors, it forms an aesthetic backdrop to the client’s collection of art and design items.

Oak dining table with light passing through a large window
There are white washed floors and white ceilings

For the floor plan, VATRAA was run to the existing stairs and heating source, a pre-feed water tank that is part of the utility system.

To harness its warmth, they set up a laundry room around it to allow the clothes to air dry faster, and a bathroom directly above to allow the floor tiles to heat up without additional heating.

White pantry and kitchen cabinets
The corner pantry optimizes the space under the stairs

Every other space gives its atmosphere in accordance with the function.

The architects made the entrance hall more magnificent by opening the ceiling to the sloping roof and installing an old exterior loggia inside.

Kitchen sink in the house of the house for renovation
The kitchen has custom furniture and cabinets

In the living room, they exposed previously hidden structural beams in the ceiling, making the 2.4-meter-high space more sensitive.

In the dining room, they created a corner pantry that makes maximum use of the uncomfortable space under the stairs and added custom-made furniture from a full oak dining room.

Staircase with skylight
Different qualities of light create different moods in the house

Upstairs are two bedrooms finished in all-white soothing to create a contrast to the stimulating warmth of the living rooms on the ground floor.

“The morning transition between the night and day zones becomes an event, giving the homeowner a sense of energy as soon as he steps up the stairs and goes downstairs,” VATRAA said.

“Through thoughtful decisions fully grounded in the context in which we operated, we were able to turn the insensitive house of the former council into a home with a recognizable character, which is now proud to tell its story through space, light and materials.”

White bedroom with skylight
The upstairs bedrooms contrast in pure white

VATRAA was founded in 2018 by Anamaria Pircu and Bogdan Rusu, based in London and Bucharest. They have completed the renovation of the Council House in 2020.

It’s called Don’t move, improve! Compact design of the year next to the house Two and a half stories B-VDS Architecture, another project in the council estate.

Photo courtesy of Jim Stephenson

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