This refurbishment of a tiny 50 m2 one-bed penthouse on a tight urban site is all about subtlety and light. The original open-plan arrangement was awkward and inflexible, allowing no privacy, and failed to take advantage of the potential for views across the local Hoxton cityscape.


Using crisp, clean, reflective materials throughout, our design resolved the client’s needs with the introduction of an elegant double-height centrally located ‘island’ element incorporating stairs, wine rack, bathroom, and kitchen.


Views through a glazed floor tempts the visitor upstairs. Special glazing separates the kitchen from the bedroom, turning opaque at the flick of a switch to preserve privacy when needed. The south-facing window was enlarged to offer full-height views and let the light bounce through to the heart of the flat.


The client said, ‘I was excited by their vision for my home. When it was completed I couldn’t wait to move in.

Physical and visual connection

An inserted ‘island’ visually connects the penthouse's two levels through a glazed floor, offering a spacious experience while moving around the apartment.

Its stainless steel elements reflect the light, visually making the apartment feel larger.

Privacy on/off

The boundary between the bedroom and the kitchen/living area has been broken down by the use of a glass screen, which forms part of the central island. Privacy can easily be achieved however by the flick of a button, which turns the smart glass translucent.

Project credits


  • 2014 Don't Move, Improve - shortlisted


  • Structural: Karl Lang
  • Building Control: Head Projects

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