Balfour Place


A dark walnut staircase merges with a kitchen counter and a bathtub inside this renovated apartment in Mayfair, London, by architecture studio KHBT (+ slideshow).

Balfour Place by KHBT

The combined elements create a dark wood strip that stretches through the apartment from the kitchen at one end to the bathroom at the other, negotiating split levels by staggering up and down.

Balfour Place by KHBT

"The existing flat already had a stair running from one room to the other due to head height restrictions at the main public staircase," KHBT partner Karsten Huneck told Dezeen. "The former design tried to hide this stair, but we saw it as the defining element of the flat which should be celebrated."

Balfour Place by KHBT

"This approach led to the concept of creating one ribbon which runs even further than the stairs require, incorporating the kitchen block as well as the bathtub," he added.

Balfour Place by KHBT

Describing the decision to use walnut, Huneck explained: "We wanted to create a precious element, using a timber that refers to the traditionally and luxuriously fitted flats in the surrounding area of Mayfair."

Balfour Place by KHBT

The architects kept the layout of the apartment as it was, but cleaned up the spaces with white walls, floors and ceilings that contrast with the dark wooden strip.

Balfour Place by KHBT

A glass screen is positioned in front of the bath and can be switched from transparent to translucent for privacy when residents are using it.

Balfour Place by KHBT

KHBT have offices in both London and Berlin and recently completed a timber-clad house extension in Offenbach, Germany.

Balfour Place by KHBT

See more apartment interiors on Dezeen »

Balfour Place by KHBT

Photography is by Johannes Marburg.

Balfour Place by KHBT

Here's a project description from KHBT:

No 1 Balfour Place - Residential Development in Mayfair

A rundown flat in prestigious Mayfair has been transformed into an inhabitable sculpture.

Balfour Place by KHBT

Formerly there were 2 separate flats which have been connected with a space defining spine. Due to head height restrictions of the communal staircase running across this spine various steps and level changes had to be overcome.

Balfour Place by KHBT

This led to the main concept, a meandering ribbon which becomes an inherent part of all main functions of the flat: Kitchen, Stair, Circulation and Bathroom.

Balfour Place by KHBT

The ribbon runs through a glazed separation between corridor and bathroom, a screen that is made of electrochromic glass which can be changed to be an opaque screen.

Balfour Place by KHBT

Made out of precious massive walnut timber it creates a fitting character to typical flats in the area and at the same time a contrasting element to the white flooring.

Balfour Place by KHBT

Above: floor plan

Client: Konstantin Mühling
Design Team: KHBT Karsten Huneck, Bernd Trümpler

Balfour Place by KHBT

Above: section

  • @burtja

    Love it!

  • M J

    The bathroom is really cool. But what’s happening with the circulation is very unfortunate! I wouldn’t want to go up and down the stairs to get to the kitchen and then stumble with the counter.

  • Mr. Design

    Never seen anything like it!!! Finally something worth looking at!! Compared to all the old poorly, over designed flats we see around London.
    Thank you for bringing a change.

  • melina lanzenrath

    This is sooooo amazing!

  • Juan David

    This is stupid. In fact, he is playing at doing architecture. When I saw this project, all the time I was thinking about the uncomfortable stair that cuts the free circulation. A regular space would be better.

    • Daniel

      It would appear from the section and the text that the project is linking what was formerly two separate apartments, where a regular space would not be possible.

  • Zac

    That black tile in the shower is absolutely stunning. Wouldn’t think it would look that good, but wow!

  • Archi

    I don’t like the way how architecture is presented nowadays. I really believe it has to show the mind of the architect, sketches, thoughts… Here I can see only good choice of materials and that’s it. The owner could have specified them by himself.

    I believe the occupier, especially the one who is going to use the kitchen, will have to be very flexible and energetic person to climb these stairs up and down like crazy! This design can be thought for a day and produced for less than that, considering the simplicity of the drawings. Nice materials though. But it’s more interior design rather than architecture.

  • Andy Matthews

    I’m sure I’d trip over that ‘fold’ at the base of the stairs all the time. Or stub my toe on it.