Shai Fenn and Jon Carter moved into their recently converted basement flat last year. As a new development, some fittings and finishes were part of the deal, and because they bought early, they were able to have a say in what they wanted.
They were also able to make their own choices, at their own expense elsewhere. The couple went for some stylish options.
“The basement flat in London is the first property that either of us have bought. For the past few years we have been talking about moving out of rented accommodation – but finding something we liked, could afford and could get a mortgage on was tricky.
We did keep our eyes open, however, and when we saw they were redeveloping a terrace of large Victorian houses into apartments, we went along to have a look.
Initially, I don’t think either of us would have considered a basement flat – we had a fear that it would be dark and dingy but these properties could not have been more different.
Each apartment had two large sash windows in the front living room and then another in the bedroom at the back. Also at the back were the kitchens.
They were small but had French windows on to the courtyards beyond. As soon as we saw them, we fell in love and knew we had found the perfect starter home.
The style of the basement apartments was bright, clean and modern. The developers had used white paint and halogen down-lighters to enhance the natural light.
They then asked us what we wanted as flooring. We decided to follow the theme through in our apartment, and opted to keep the floors light as well.
We felt this went well with the overall style of the home and would add to the airy feel. It would just be the two of us living in the flat – no children or pets – so we thought we would make the most of being able to go for something stylish.
The main room to consider was the large living room. We spent a long time looking at possibilities here –Wood or laminate? Stone or tile? Or should we go for carpet?
In the end that was what we opted for. We thought it would bring a cosy feel to the apartment and, so as to minimise disturbance to those above us, would reduce noise levels if we played music.
Neither of us had any inclination to go for anything colourful, bright or patterned, and we knew we did not want a long pile.
After much deliberation, we decided to pay a bit more ourselves and have a Natural Fibre, seagrass carpet in a very gentle, sandy shade. It worked well with the white walls.
Soft Wool Carpet
The stairs descending from the communal hallway above were wooden and we decided to leave them exposed.
At the bottom, in our hallway, we chose to run the same carpet right through from the living room.
The hard surface of the stairs looked stylish against the texture of the woven seagrass below.
The seagrass did look nice but we decided we wanted something softer underfoot in the bedroom.
We spent a long time matching samples but eventually we found a natural wool carpet that was in exactly the same shade and had a similar weave to the seagrass.
Finally, we had to think about the kitchen and bathroom. The developers gave us several standard options for the tiling in those rooms.
We quite liked a medium-sized Ceramic Tile that had the appearance of limestone and so we went for that in the bathroom.
Once again in a light colour, it covered the walls and floor, and gave the whole room an almost Mediterranean appearance. We did consider using the same tile in the kitchen but it just did not seem right.
Eventually we chose a similar product (similar in shade and texture) but in a much larger size. This gave the appearance of flagstones. Using stylish tiles, and keeping the floor light in both the bathroom and the kitchen, helped make these two small rooms feel much larger.”