This colourful small project makes a big impact

Project Hereward, an eye-catching home renovation by London architecture firm Studio VA, is a small project that packs quite a punch

Project Hereward, a house dominated by a red steel column
(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

This small project packs quite a punch. Designed by London architecture practice Studio VA, a fairly compact and straightforward home renovation resulted in a rather impactful design with the right blend of colour, sleek lines and an industrial material palette. The scheme is called Project Hereward, and its design solution showcases how balancing old and new on the small scale can be just as rewarding as the larger projects. 

The commission came to the young studio, headed by architect Akis Pattihis, from a couple who were after their ‘forever home'. ‘They put a lot of trust in me and the design, to offer them something which is really very different to what they had initially considered they wanted,' the architect recalls. ‘They had faith in the design and now I am sure they are very thrilled with the final outcome.'

Interior at Project Hereward

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

A lot of the work had to be done to the existing house’s old extension, a neglected addition that was in dire need of a refresh. The architects replaced its roof entirely and included in the new one a series of skylights to allow more natural daylight into the kitchen area. The old external wall featured a small window and a narrow glass door; these were also replaced by a set of generous, 4m-wide bifold doors that lead into the garden. 

The open-plan living and kitchen area on the ground level was treated as the home's main centrepiece, as the architects worked with colour, pattern and a set of hardwearing materials, such as a steel column, wood and tiles to transform the space into a bright, impressive contemporary interior that straddles minimalism and industrial architecture influences. The rest of the house was refreshed as well, while keeping the period property's character and existing features. 

As for the small project's biggest challenge? ‘The biggest difficulty was probably working with the existing house,' says Pattihis. ‘Having to support it during demolition (as we removed all downstairs walls) and then dealing with the integration of the new steels, the relationship between the new steel structure and the existing timber joists – and hoping that all the new surfaces would align in a way that would accommodate the bespoke joinery.' 

The red column and black joinery of Project Hereward, a small project for architects Studio VA

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

Detail of red column and black joinery at Project Hereward

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

Kitchen at Project Hereward

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

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