Wood takes centerstage in the interior design of a house in Caroline Place, a quiet neighborhood of 1950s terraced homes north of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
Amin Taha Architects + GROUPWORK were responsible for renovating this northern European–styled home, with its sharp brick lines and crisp pointing. While the interior layouts still reflect the Edwardian tradition, the creative use of American cherrywood has given the interiors a new personality.
“We were thrilled to be using cherry in this project as it is a much underused wood,” says Amin Taha. “It’s the perfect material for interior projects because it’s smooth, warm, and very easy to finish as a luxurious surface.”
The house was originally divided in two: upstairs, occupied by the owners, and downstairs, used by staff. Since World War Two, though, the house has been remodeled on several occasions, each time reflecting the tastes of the day. The new owners wanted to retain many of these changes, but update them with finishes and materials more in line with their own style.
The first floor can now be used as a single reception room with a corner study area. Two side-by-side full-height bookcases can be rotated out and doors shut to close the main space off from the study. One of the bookcases even folds out as a guest bed, transforming the study into a bedroom.
To make this possible, these paneled bookshelves extend all the way to the ceiling, creating areas of shade and light, and giving the rooms a detached autonomy. Even larger sections of timber paneling have been used to create the bathrooms, walk-in closets, and laundry.
Amin Taha Architects + GROUPWORK have made extensive use of cherrywood in their design, primarily to give spatial definition to the various rooms.
According to David Venables, European director of the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), “American cherry is one of the world’s fastest growing temperate hardwoods, yet it is still vastly underutilized. Caroline Place is a superb example of how this sustainable species’ rich reddish-brown color can add a layer or warmth and sophistication to a project.”
American cherry is readily sourced from US and North American hardwood forests. Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) data indicate that American cherry makes up three percent of the total US hardwood growing stock. And while 153 million cubic feet (4.3 million m³) is harvested every year, more than 388 million cubic feet (11 million m³) grows naturally in US forests in the same period.
The timber itself has warm tones and an elegant quality. Its heartwood varies from deep red to reddish brown, darkening with exposure to light and with time. Its sapwood is creamy white. Versatile and easy to stain, cherrywood is often used to make furniture and cabinetry.
Architect: Amin Taha Architects + GROUPWORK
Location: London, UK
Photography courtesy of Amin Taha Architects + GROUPWORK