Hidden escapes: a Bloomsbury oasis

It looks like the lofty home of a Victorian adventurer, but this tiny London flat is a masterpiece of illusion Few of us have the creative vision needed to turn a featureless box with no side windows into an urban des res. But Neil McLachlan is an interior designer and discovering a property’s hidden potential is his trade. So when the New Zealander spotted an ad for a “surprisingly affordable” apartment on the ground floor of a vast, inter-war mansion block in Bloomsbury, in central London, he sensed an opportunity. A modest side entrance and a long, unpromising corridor lead to the 65m2 space, which originally served as the caretaker’s workshop. “I was worried it would be very dark, but …

Above the clouds: lighting up an imposing London home

Fog House, by David Adjaye, may be dark and austere on the outside, but step inside and it’s bursting with light and colour Step into the study in Della Burnside’s five-storey home and a clementine corner sofa and matching partition wall, a crimson rug and poof and an exuberant pink feather flapper girl lamp vie for your attention. “The colours all over the house are shocking and bright,” says Burnside. “They suit my personality better than my old house, which was more restrained.” That was a late-Victorian property, also in Clerkenwell, central London, and it was “dark, with lots of wood panelling and traditional furniture”. Fog House, which she bought in 2016, gets its name from the sandblasted wall of …

Head in the clouds on the Isle of Man

Perched on one of the highest peaks on the island this amazing eco-home is a birder’s paradise In 2012, Peter and Carole Lillywhite visited the Isle of Man for the first time. Three days into their visit, they had an offer accepted on a small, 19th-century cottage on Sartfell in the west of the island. The derelict cottage – the third highest on the island – sits alone on the brow of a hill and is known locally as Cloud Nine. “The cottage wasn’t really fit for 20th-century living, never mind 21st,” recalls Peter, a retired management consultant with a background in scientific research. The couple, who are both in their 60s, appointed the architect Will Foster to design a …

The high life: a light-filled top-floor apartment in Porto

Homewares designer Christian Haas has set his imagination free on the top floor of his Porto townhouse Christian Haas lives in a tall, thin 19th-century townhouse on a side street in Porto, where each floor has a different mood and function. His home is on the top two floors, above a ground-floor restaurant and his work studio on the first floor. Here, there are computers, tables are spread with drawings and shelves lined with miniature models of his furniture designs. They include a bench made in tiny slivers of balsa wood and neat, origami-like chairs fashioned from paper. “Even at an early stage, this is a useful way to immediately see whether a shape works,” he explains. Upstairs, there are …