Granting wishes: how these Hackney architects created their dream family home with playroom climbing wall and meditation room. Maya longed for a proper dressing room, Ran was desperate for a meditation space, while the children wanted a playroom of course — with a climbing wall. by Philippa Stockley.

Ran Ankory and Maya Carni expected the house they bought in 2015 to require a lot of work but they never planned to disembowel it. Yet that’s what they ended up doing, which is why one day Ran, 44, found himself standing in the basement staring up at the sky.

Often, boldness is the way to go and gutting their Victorian terrace allowed the pair to make spectacular changes. The house is scarcely bigger now. They only glassed over the existing side return and added a small bay window at the back, while a new brick face at garden level is refreshingly modest.

But inside, the house feels twice the size because they connected the basement floor and ground floor into a multi-level, open family space. What they bought was a fairly standard four-bedroom two-bathroom terrace with plastic windows and laminate floors.

Now, it’s a four-bedroom, five-bathroom family house; stylish and singing with light, with its vast split-level living floor, a dressing room, study, library and utility corridor. It has huge pizzazz and proves biggest isn’t always best: it’s how you use space to create your ideal home that counts, which is this couple’s speciality.

They met at architecture school and went on to co-found Scenario Architecture, their London company. But Maya, now 38, had started out as an interior designer and Ran as a blacksmith, so they came to architectural design later, bringing extra skills.

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