James's Discovery Docks Apartment: Makeover

Client: James
Location: Discovery Docks in South Quay, East London
Dwelling: Apartment
The Space: The entire apartment

Find yourself near Canary Wharf, and you will discover many apartment blocks and high-rises, many of which are home to London's  city workers. One particular apartment in the Discovery Docks complex in South Quay next to the DLR belonged to our client, James who had moved from Australia to take up a position at his company's headquarters in London. This apartment was to be his home while working in the UK, and he desperately wanted to customise and add some life to this 'cookie-cutter' apartment design and make it his own. James called upon Space Shack to deliver his vision, and we are very excited to share this full makeover with you now, it's been an absolute dream to work with James, especially as we shared the same design vision and ideas from the start.

The Brief:

  • To design a new kitchen
  • New flooring throughout the apartment
  • Update the existing bathroom
  • Provide furniture and soft furnishing solutions throughout apartment
  • To source artwork in accordance with his design scheme
  • Replace all existing hardware with new (handles and sockets)

We've gone for Scandi-Chic styling with the furniture with a muted colour palette throughout but introduced flashes of gold metallic trim and several earthy tones in the form of mustard yellows, fern greens and dusty beiges in the living room and adding further stronger colours in the bedroom with slate grey bed linen and a cool blue-grey feature wall.

As James's work requires him to travel a lot, he wanted to be able to come back home and feel comfortable especially as moving from hotel to hotel, city to city can get rather draining. It made sense with James's lack of spare time he required some professional help to put together a comprehensive design scheme which reflected his personality and design tastes. This space was devoid of any character and desperately in need of a makeover to bring in some life to the interior.

Lighting was an important factor to get right as James was quite tall so this was an important consideration when it came to spotlights and ceiling lights. No point having the person living in your new apartment not being able to see anything because they tower above all the light sources! Storage was also a huge issue with this apartment as the current cupboard, wardrobe and drawer space was limited, a common problem with complex style apartments, so it was up to us to provides some solutions as James had plenty of belongs but still wanted to retain a minimalist feel to it.

The Transformation

The largest design change to this apartment has to be the flooring, as the previous finish was walnut engineered oak but we opted for a washed white herringbone oak which completely transforms the entire space and giving it a much brighter look and lets the light fill the apartment. All the door handles, light fixtures and sockets were replaced with sturdy, metallic linear designs from one of our favourite designers, Buster + Punch which gave them a much more tactical and premium quality feel than the bog standard fittings beforehand. 

From a structural point of view, we took out the two existing stud walls which split the kitchen and living area. By doing this, we immediately gained a larger open plan kitchen/living area which allows the light through into the kitchen area which wasn't happening before. The addition of a breakfast bar helped differentiate the kitchen and living room zones without it making it feel like a tiny studio apartment. We sourced many items from West Elm and Norman Copenhagen to Tom Dixon and Twenty Twenty One to complete look for this sleeker new kitchen design.

Bedroom 02.png

Once the structural changes were made to this space we focused on using designs from some of our favourite suppliers like West Elm again, Heals, The Conran Shop but also some surprising brands who are producing some great home furnishings at the moment like TK Maxx and House of Fraser. The overall look remains clean and minimal to James' brief and we also introduced a number of masculine earthy tones with a variety of different elements and textures; from the leather sofa to the faux fur cushions. The addition to all of this, we added some life to the apartment in the form of some terrariums with miniature succulents and a gallery wall featuring Jame's love of animals and nature.

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For the bathroom, James didn't want any major changes to the layout and appliances but wanted it freshened up so we chose to re-grout all the existing tile work and then laid a white Carrara marble herringbone as a feature on top of the toilet area. The combined use of a storage solution and the full-length mirror was one our favourite additions to this redesign, not only a practical addition to the bathroom but ideal for anyone who is trying to maximise their space and store smaller items.

The bedroom compared to the living area was contrasted dramatically with the introduction of much darker hues. The plain white walls and the worn out beige carpet were replaced with Air Force blue walls, Concrete Grey bed pillows and throw, Natural Stone coloured bed linens, and black edging throughout the room, but keeping the flashes of gold with the soft furnishings we found. The combination created a more masculine and urban look and feel. We worked with the incredible Elina at Arts Snug who sourced a very talented local artist to create a customised piece of wall art designed to wrap around a 3-D mirror which hung above the bed head. We also added a large concrete framed mirror opposite the bed but hung this vertically so it could become a vanity mirror.

Finally, the hallway needed to provide further storage, so we opted for a Mid-Century Modern shallow side table unit, a fantastic wall mirror which was almost part art installation and magnificent olive tree to stand in the corner. 

The project has kept the Space Shack design team very busy, but as you will agree, it's well worth the long hours, blood, sweat and 'designer' tears. James is over the moon with his new home and can't wait to share it with his family. If you have any questions, let us know and get in touch, as we'd love to help you with your interior design efforts if we can. Alternatively, keep up to date with regular projects like this one from Space Shack and follow us on Instagram or like us on Facebook.

Love Omar x

Photography & Video Production by Reece Chapman and Collective Vision.