Adrian Manea refurbishes Modernist flat in London's Belsize Park


A one-bedroom flat in a 1960s housing block in northwest London has been updated with modern fittings and furniture in this project by designer Adrian Manea (+ slideshow).

Romney Court in Belsize Park refurbishment by Adrian Manea

Manea, who is still studying to become a certified architect, worked to a tight budget of just £12,500 to transform the outdated interior of the 50-square-metre flat, located within Romney Court in Belsize Park.

Romney Court in Belsize Park refurbishment by Adrian Manea

The Modernist building was designed by architects Dinerman, Davison & Hillman, and is one of many purpose-built blocks built across London in the decades following the second world war.

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

Manea believes projects like this can help people understand the potential of post-war housing stock.

"I find it somewhat amusing how fixated we can be with period property, and I think it is safe to say that most of us are largely uninspired by new builds," he told Dezeen.

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

"But perhaps for the growing number of Modernist enthusiasts, we are provided with an opportunity to rediscover inspiring architecture by living in it," he said.

"Post-war housing has gone through decades of vilification and I would be delighted if this modest project could play a small part in creating a new generation of appreciation."

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

The flat's original five-finger teak parquet flooring was in good condition in the living room and bedroom, as was the cork-tile flooring in the kitchen and bedroom – so these were restored and retained.

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

The cabinets in the kitchen had become tired, but rather than replacing them, Manea chose to repair them. All cupboard doors, side panels and shelves were removed, before being sanded and oiled.

He also restored a sliding door for this room, rather than removing it to create an open-plan layout.

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

"We recognised from the outset that the intrinsic qualities of this block were incredibly charming with its straight lines, built-in cupboards and functional modest spaces," said Manea.

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

"The brief we set out was to retain and restore the key elements which added to the flat's intrinsic value," he said.

Flashes of colour are dotted through the space, as furniture elements, painted doors and accessories. The colour palette is intended to reference the designs of Charles and Ray Eames.

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

"The intention was to contrast the architectural Minimalism of the space with piercing bright colours upon a backdrop of rich natural colours derived from the oiled wood and dark brick," added Manea.

Other alterations include an upgraded bathroom, an all-new central heating system and improved glazing.

Romney Court by Adrian Manea

Manea is one of several designers calling for a renewed look at post-war housing in London. Archmongers recently remodelled and extended a 1960s terrace house in the city, while Maccreanor Lavington has added a new end to an estate built in the same decade.

Photography is by Tom de Gay.

Floor plan – click for larger image
  • Patrick

    Why is this worth featuring? Sometimes Dezeen really needs to have better editorial choice and not give us mundane projects that look like any other house.

  • Dave B

    Loving the “mundane” qualities here. It is great to see everyday projects sitting along side grander and unattainable projects. Budget and value should be used to judge design quality, just like this project shows.


    Love mundane! Where you eat, sh*t, love and dream… Life is good!

  • Guest

    Still in a time warp. Lovely.

  • futurexavier

    Would have been nice to see the ‘before’ pictures to give a sense of the project. Just the ‘after’ may be why, along with the budget, this seems so mundane.

  • jezhs


  • chandelierman

    To be honest, my house looks nicer than this and I don’t put in on Dezeen.

  • Mr Walnut Grey

    Are we scraping the story barrel Dezeen? 😬

  • Guuru

    Good, small project that forms part of an interesting discourse.

  • Tenant

    It’s actually an incredibly pleasant flat to live in and the comments here are very interesting. The flat’s refurbishment success does not sit within an aesthetic, but its truth is within the building that it sits.

  • javier navarro

    So much can be done with so little! Excellente.


    Reminds me a bit of East Germany Design (DDR).