It was the perfect apartment, light and sunny and overlooking the park – but on the inside it was in a very bad state; completely worn down and without any interior concept.
Nanna Liv spotted the potential and realised it was an ideal opportunity to put her own mark on the Victorian mansion block property and to create her idea of perfection, fitting a bespoke kitchen and bathrooms.
She says: “I wanted it to feel stripped down with lots of space using white walls, wood and natural materials, so it almost looks as if no one lives there. Above all I wanted a laundry room. In Denmark, where I come from, it is common to have somewhere for clothes and utilities so that you can close the door and everywhere else is neat.”
Nanna had the advantage of growing up with a builder as a father, so she already had a head’s start when it came to project managing the renovation. She rearranged the rooms in the 1,700 square feet flat to suit modern living.
She says: “We stripped out everything, the windows, floors, ceilings. The apartment was re-plumbed and rewired and new double glazed windows were put in. Living in London it is a real bonus to be opposite a park and overlooking green space.
“Everything we used is high quality. We put in underfloor heating and herringbone wood flooring which meant installing acoustic sound boarding underneath. A priority was having lots of storage so we put in bespoke floor to ceiling cupboards. Initially I had looked for a company to do the work, but we couldn’t find anyone who would offer the full package with warranties.”
Instead she managed the project herself and worked with different contractors, taking nine months to complete it. There are a couple of touches that she is particularly proud of including the Miele freezer in the kitchen which is built in and invisible. Another bespoke touch is the cabinet on the wall as you enter the flat where all electrical items like phones, tablets and laptops can be put out of sight and recharged overnight, and a third very important point as she says: “The main switches we have so that when you go to bed or leave the apartment you can click on a main switch that turns off all the lights”.
Another appeal of life in Cyril Mansions is that unlike many similar mansion blocks it still has a leafy garden to relax in, rather than that space being sacrificed to parking.
When Nanna and her partner Rasmus and three-year-old Zoe moved in, their ideally located three bedroom flat was to be there forever home, but Nanna found she had developed the taste for renovation work. She therefore founded a building company called Scandi Design and Build, to produce high quality work, using top materials with a year’s warranty, so the customer can guarantee that any little problems will be speedily fixed.
She says: “I learned a lot managing this project myself from start to finish. I got involved in every detail, finding a supplier of delicate Italian tiles and driving to Tottenham to find the perfect kitchen top. Since completing the project I have spoken to many people wanting to do a complete refurbishment and for the vast majority it is a jungle out there to find the right combination of project management, credible suppliers and great design. My ambition is to use the learnings I took away and help others create their dream home.”
She plans to run the new company while continuing with her first passion, her company Sargossa.com where she sells high heeled shoes with her patented innovation of comfortable insoles.
Cyril Mansions, Prince of Wales Drive, Battersea, SW11, £2.5m, John D Wood & Co 020 3151 0661