Case study

Caitlin’s First Home

Location - interior design, London, sydenham

Our client Caitlin got in touch after purchasing her first home in South London – a ground floor flat in need of a complete renovation, based within a Victorian property. The property was in need of repair, with visible signs of wear, and the interiors a refresh to reflect Caitlin’s luxury aesthetic. As with most Victorian properties, her home already had tall ceilings, original wood flooring, coving and fireplaces which are always a joy for any interior designer to work with. 

Topology were asked to design and project manage the installation of the kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom, bathroom and hallway. Caitlin’s desire was for a sophisticated design that complemented the existing original features, while making use of the space by adding further storage.

We project-managed the whole design from concept to completion – you can read all about the process and design decisions below.

The Project

The budget for this project came to approximately £135k. This included… 

  • Installation of a new kitchen, bathroom, utility area & stairway closet 
  • Pitching the kitchen roof to heighten the ceilings and adding velux windows for additional light 
  • Removal of fireplaces in dining room and bedroom
  • Bespoke hidden storage within the dining room fireplace alcove, living room alcoves, bedroom wardrobes & dining room bar cabinet  
  • New switches, sockets & radiators throughout & Samsung Frame TV with hidden cabling 
  • Restoring and staining the original wood flooring 
  • Installing shutters in the living room & window treatments elsewhere 
  • Painting all rooms, furniture, lighting and accessories throughout all rooms inc. window treatments
  • Water softener and specialist Quooker tap 

One of the main design decisions we deliberated was whether to extend the kitchen into the study next door, or keep the floorplan as it was. Caitlin required the study room for working, so we decided to block off the existing window and extend up in the kitchen by pitching the roof, which made the room feel much larger. The kitchen felt dark and crowded previously, but with the addition of the taller ceiling and velux windows added to the roof, the space is now flooded with light and feels modern, open and welcoming. 

Throughout the property, Topology designed bespoke items to fit within the rooms perfectly and make use of difficult corners and space. This included wardrobe storage cleverly positioned across the chimney breast in the bedroom, complete with rails and shelving inside, and space for a mirror and stool on the left to get ready.



In the dining room, the star of the show is the bar cabinet Topology designed, which features fluted wood detail and glass display panels. This space was once dark and unloved, but is now a bright, spacious room for hosting. What was once a fireplace (although beautiful it was too oversize for the size of the room), now is hidden storage within the wall, making use of the space left behind within the alcove. 



Traditional style alcove joinery was fitted in the living room for maximum storage and to create symmetry either side of the focal chimney breast. Central to these units is our favourite Samsung Frame TV, cleverly disguised as a piece of artwork when not in use. 

When it comes to colour, Caitlin is a huge fan of neutrals, which we included in various tones throughout the design plan. The living room features a warm, inviting colour scheme, complete with layers of soft textures and a marble tile hearth. The bedroom has a more earthy and modern colour scheme, which creates a calm and relaxing space for the client to wind down in. In the bathroom we played around with a bolder use of colour. This room was given a modern refresh, with bold blue tiles across the wall and tub, and a mix of black and brass metals. The kitchen was originally all going to be neutral, from the cabinets, to the walls and flooring, but while making decisions on flooring and sourcing various options, we found the perfect checkerboard tiles which really transform the whole look of the room!


We met with Caitlin on-site and she briefed us on her wish list for her new home. This included making use of the space, adding more storage, making the hallway feel brighter, neutralising the colour scheme and ensuring the design is in keeping with the style of the traditional building.

The Design Stages

After the site visit and formalities are complete with the client, we always undergo a series of ‘design stages’. This makes the process collaborative and fun, allowing the client to ‘sign off’ decisions along the way. First up we started with a layout for each room, which was tweaked until the clients were happy. 

Our initial starting point with all projects is pinning down the layout to pitch the client what we proposed to do with the space in a rough form. This is the most important starting point & the crux of the design. 

We then put our design ideas down for each room into what we call a ‘design concept’. This includes the suggested colour scheme, hardware, materials & general design. Here we have the bathroom concept proposed. 

Renovation Development

Once the designs are signed off, we went over an extremely detailed budget plan with the client & chosen contractor, to ensure we could carry out all the works required. Once agreed, we moved onto organising all structural reports required, with the clients assistance as often the homeowner needs to take responsibility here in submitting for approvals.

Once approvals were needed, we began ordering all items needed for the renovation & working in unison with the contractors to provide them with all the necessary elevations & plans required to carry out the works. 

It’s now crunch time as the renovation begins! Our team uses internal spreadsheets, does regular site visits and has a logistics manager to oversee any complex processes & ensure the project rungs smoothly.  Renovations can be tough and obstacles will always crop up, usually out of our control, but our aim is to deal with these in an efficient manner so our client can focus on going about their daily lives whilst their properties are turned upside down & inside out! 

Once the trades are finished with their work and the Topology team are happy with everything, we prepare for an ‘install day’. This includes a delivery of all of the products ordered to our warehouse, electricians fitting new lighting, hanging specialists putting up curtains, artwork, mirrors etc, handymen building and Topology managing the full process, ensuring everything is in line with the agreed plans. Install days are always a little hectic  but it’s the most exciting part of our job – watching our designs come to life – as well as seeing the reaction from our clients when their new space is revealed! 

If you’re interested in Topology’s on-site service, please do get in touch! For on-site services like this, we typically have a waiting list of around 1-3 months, and for e-design it’s usually quicker, around 1-2 weeks.