Before and After: The Devon Apartment! Plus Tips for Remodeling Small Spaces


I love before/after remodeling stories as much as I love introducing guests to Paris and London. Readers keep asking for more of our remodeling stories, and I’ve been working on this one for a long time Here’s a look at how one of our most popular apartments — the Devon — was transformed!

We were flattered when London owners hired us to remodel their lower ground floor to create a studio. The challenge was formidable, and I spent hours on Pinterest and other sites, reading about how to best improve long narrow hallways.

Before Problem

As you can see, the hallway was extremely long and narrow, and this is after a substantial remodel ten years earlier.

Devon apartment before

The long hallway is a problem.

Devon Apartment Before

We opened up the space with a mirror and an extra piece at the top to elongate the door.

The best idea would have been to raise the front door and have one single long mirrored feature, but it wasn’t possible. The solution was to add a separate piece of mirror above. This is a plus when compared to the original door.

During: We added a mirror and a top piece to the front door to make it look larger.

After Solution

The front door couldn’t be changed for a taller one, but the new mirror creates the impression of a tall doorway. We removed the molding along the top door frame and moved it higher to fake a taller door. We also removed the middle, bottom and side molding, so we could put the widest mirror possible on the door. We faked a new molding continuation above the actual door and had a separate piece of mirror cut right above the door for visual continuation.

Devon apartment after

After: The hallway feels fresh and bright.

Utility Room Conversion

The utility room was dark and felt darker and lower than necessary. We talked the owners into remodeling it into a kitchen, which also includes a washer. We replaced the old-style door with a full height rolling door and the effect was instantaneous.

Before: The original utility room had a low doorway and ceilings.

After: We replaced with rolling sanded glass doors outside that went all the way to the ceiling. Wow, what a difference!

In addition, we removed the fake ceiling and lit it carefully. Notice the warm LED light strips above the cabinet and below the cabinets. Warm light which glows through the door.

After Devon kitchen

After: The drab utility room is now a delightful kitchen.


Devon bathroom before

Before: The bathroom wasn’t terrible, but we could do better.

We added a mirror and glass shelf across the wall to the shower. Then we added an open glass to create a walk-in shower. LED daylight tone light strips along the ceiling provide a great night light when dimmed and equally excellent lighting to apply makeup and shave.

After: The bathroom is bright and crisp.

We also replaced the bathroom door with the same door used in the kitchen, and the result was just as good.


After: Mirrors help a wall disappear and reflect light.

Mirrors are wonderful to open up a space. We had mirrors installed on the doors, as well as on the bedroom wall. I tend to go a little mirror crazy, but justify it by saying a mirror makes a wall disappear so you don’t really notice it’s there. Not quite true, but here are some ideas:

Faux Window

If a hallway doesn’t have natural light, create windows and light them.  We opened a large space in the wall at bottom of the stairs and created a large lit window with sanded glass. Then we surrounded the frame with soft led lighting. It creates a soft nightlight in the evening, and most of all, makes you feel as if there is natural light in the window.

Devon Apartment Before

Before:  Plain old wall…. low doorway

During: Creating a faux window

The the window was filled with sanded glass with LED strip lighting all around – in the new daylight shade. It’s not a harsh white, but it gets bright enough to feel like the outdoors is on the other side when it’s actually an entry corridor.

Solving the Narrow Corridor

Before: Three closet doors in a row

During: Wonderful to see the 1800s beams in the ceiling

After: A niche with a pretty clock mirror from France reflects the opening and light.

After: See the niche from the bedroom lit with soft LEDs.

The progression was wonderful to watch.  From a long, uninteresting corridor, we went to a more interesting one, but we still weren’t 100% sold on the results. One of the problems was that there were three stairs in front of the door opposite the entry, which meant the door felt cut off at bottom. By making the stairs deeper, and further back, they were reflected in the mirrors and look was improved.

After: Light wood and white walls open up the long hallway.

We also went with a more simple wood — long bleached oak planks. The look was perfect, especially after removing closets on left and creating a desk area with subtle lighting.

Space under the Stairs

Before: The space under the stairs was a closet.

In small spaces, every inch is important, so we turned the space under the stairs into something special. What else to call this but Harry Potter’s room under the stairs! We found a Platform 9¾ sign on Etsy and the theme was born. Notice the little reading light that is almost invisible in the book-lined wallpaper.

After: The drawers add extra storage.

Two smoothly sliding drawers left ample room for the essential house tools and even linens for an extra guest.


Before: This drab bedroom needs some dressing up.

Before: The bedroom has potential.

After: The bedroom feels as if it has an outdoor space with the added French doors.

It’s important to optimize the natural light anywhere possible. The bedroom led to a side passage of the house, which has a window. We opened up the window with French doors and changed the closed roof of the passage to a Vellux window. Voila!

Before: Looking from the patio into the bedroom

After: We also added a beautiful background of a nearby mews.

The space became a small patio. We added LED lights in warm white to daylight so that you can even enjoy the space in the evening.

Reflect the Outdoor Space

After: Mirrors reflect the light from the patio.

The cost of a huge mirror on the left wall was prohibitive, but we found some tall, narrow mirrors and hung them together to create the wall, which reflects the patio. Immediately, the space opened up with the light-filled patio.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the transformation of the Devon apartment, which is perfect Kensington base for one or two people. Get in touch with the London Perfect team to book and see the final results for yourself.

2 Responses to “Before and After: The Devon Apartment! Plus Tips for Remodeling Small Spaces”

  1. Diana Black says:

    Congratulations! A wonderful and perfect transformation. It must have been very interesting to watch the progress.

  2. DEBRA JACOBS says:

    Maddy, you are amazing. I had looked at this apartment once upon a time when I had a solo trip planned, but after looking it over carefully I found it too depressing. Now look at it! Absolutely lovely.

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