Larkin kitchen showing view - Ogilvy Chalmers

Out of the Rough – Ogilvy Chalmers Architects Transform a Seaside Apartment - January 6, 2015

North Berwick apartment_Chalmers & Co Architects

A dilapidated apartment has been transformed with elegant neutral and blue hues to create a calm interior that echoes the property’s stunning coastal setting.

Ogilvy Chalmers, chartered architects, designed and managed this contemporary redevelopment.

This feature appeared in the life style magazine Kitchens Bedrooms & Bathrooms.  Ogilvy Chalmers are very grateful to Alison Gibb for words and styling and Douglas Gibb for photography. You can read the full pdf version of Out of the Rough_Larkin Apartment Feature here.

Salty sea air and blue skies assault your senses when you arrive at this Scottish seaside apartment. Only a golf course separates the sandy beach from the front garden and the view from the living room is mesmerising: waves crashing onto an arced bay in stormy weather and the occasional brave golfer undaunted by the winds.

Located within an Edwardian mansion on Scotland’s ‘golf coast’ near Edinburgh, the apartment was in very poor condition when Tony Brown and his partner Francesca first saw it. However, they were instantly taken by the location so decided to buy it and redesign it.

The pair divide their time between Scotland and Italy so they hired the services of architecture and property firm Ogilvy Chalmers, a local company that knows the area well and had worked on renovations for a host of similar period properties before.

Interior designer Camilla Pringle was also drafted in. Initially she was employed to help on the kitchen, but she ended up being involved in the wall colour and fabric selection as well as the interior design throughout the apartment. Most of all, the couple wanted Camilla to
realise their vision for a spacious, contemporary design that maximised light and the views.

Here, Camilla tells us more about the project.

What style of kitchen did the clients go for and why?

Francesca and Tony are very design orientated so I received quite a concise brief. They had done a lot of research prior to me coming on board and had a clear idea of the look they were after. The room’s main role was to as an entertaining space, but it also had to be comfortable when functioning simply as a home. The clients liked the juxtaposition
of a modern kitchen in a traditional setting.

The cabinets are beige and the flooring oak to tone in with the sandy beach outside. Also, the styling is minimal so that the kitchen can disappear to an extent and allow the living area and superb sea views to dominate the room.

What were the clients’ must-have elements in here?

The Corian worktop was a must-have along with an induction hob. The texture they chose, Lava Rock, is perfect: natural in appearance combined with the practicality of manmade composite Corian. Also, the island had to have a pop-up electrical socket so that it can function as a work space or simply a phone charger point when required.

What was your vision for the bedroom?

Bedroom in North Berwick - Chalmers & Co Architects

I aimed to create a fresh sanctuary overlooking the garden, with a soft linen headboard that provides a hint of seaside colour. The result is very clean and simple.

How does the attached bathroom complement this bedroom in terms of design?

Modern bathrom_stylish apartment_North BerwickThe slate grey ceramic tiles combined with underfloor heating are very cosy in our Scottish climate. Plus, the matt finish we chose is perfect for the coastal vibe the apartment enjoys.

How did you decide on the brassware and sanitaryware for this bathroom?

Chrome is contemporary and minimal so matches the uniform tiling on the walls and floors nicely. This creates the unfussy, no-nonsense look the clients asked for, whilst the curves (on the tap and basin edges) prevent the look from being too clinical.


David Brackenridge from architecture firm Ogilvy Chalmers says…

What took up the majority of the budget?

Making good some hidden previous alterations to the property was particularly costly. Re-positioning the utilities (water, gas and electricity) was also expensive.

What was the biggest challenge with the project?

Creating an open-plan kitchen that was attractive to look at whilst not dominating the space.

Do you have any tips for people embarking on a similar project?

Remember with old buildings that, while they might look fine on the surface, there can be hidden issues. Allow for a good contingency fund.

The kitchen units and furnishings

A flat-panelled unit door with simple stainless-steel bar handle was chosen for a fresh, contemporary feel. The clean lines are further enhanced by the glass splashback.

A simple oblong pendant, bought in Italy, hangs over the kitchen island unit to provide task lighting in the main working area of the kitchen.

A generous slab of Lava Rock Corian wraps around the 3.2m-long island and hob section. There is also a Corian Mixa sink incorporated into the island’s surface teamed with the Perrin & Rowe Mimas single-lever tap for a minimalist look.

Furnishings have been kept simple and natural – coastal blues and sandy tones – in order not to clash with the stunning sea views.

The bedroom and bathroom

In the bedroom, the aim was to maximise daylight and to create a calm, clean look. Window dressings and soft furnishings have been kept to a minimum and a reindeer skin rug is a stunning finishing touch on the warm oak flooring.

The linen headboard is upholstered in a pretty shade of teal, which Camilla has picked up again in a cushion on the chair and with a glass bottle on the side table.

Roman blinds were an obvious choice for the windows in the living area, as they would obscure the view the least.

Blankets and cushions make cosy winter additions.

The slate grey tiles in the bathroom create a very serene and luxurious vibe whilst echoing the colour of the sea outside on most days.

The bathroom was very carefully designed right down to the setting out of the floor and wall tiles to ensure there are no odd-looking cuts or angles that didn’t line up.

You may also be interested in reading Alison Gibb’s blog Her Indoors where you’ll find her ‘musings on interiors’.