Case study

Japandi Small Space Living

Location - interior design, London, sydenham

Based in South East London, this project started off with a walk through a dark and narrow 2 bed flat. The clients came to us to discuss the opportunity of renovating the bathroom (a formerly tired & tight shower / bath combination) and renovating the kitchen & living area to opening it drastically, brighten the overall feel  & make it an open plan living, dining & kitchen space. It was quite the challenge from the off-set as it would require the removal of a chimney breast to free up additional space, which comes which costs, challenges & knowledgeable contractors.

Ready for the challenge, 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 £100k. This included but is not limited to… 

  • A renovation of the bathroom 
  • New engineered wooden flooring throughout the entire property & communal hallway
  • Removal of the chimney breast & installation of structural beam supports
  • Cost of a new kitchen including appliances & all bathroom goods
  • Painting throughout the entire 2 bed flat inc. woodwork & paint materials
  • All furniture, accessories & lighting 
  • All builders fees & materials
  • Electrical works such as all new switches & sockets throughout & spotlights / wall lights installation
  • New wifi cabling, sub-floor levelling & re-building of the ceilings to make level
  • Plumbing works such as a relocated new boiler & all new radiators


Our main design decisions were centred around the the kitchen & living layout. This is because the clients were keen to make sure the extensive costs to remove the chimney breast were going to be worth it by freeing up additional space for storage in the kitchen, whilst still allowing space for a dining table & lounge area. It was a tight space to work with but through a series of creative layout solutions, we came up with a new layout they loved.  



As you can see from the before images, pictured on the right, the space was formerly cramped, dark & gloomy. It was clear however that the clients personality & individual style was wanting to peek through.

Previously the kitchen was cramped between the middle of the bathroom & living area, so we knocked the wall down, removed the chimney breast & opened up the kitchen layout for a dramatic renovation reveal.

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.