When you think about living in a listed building, you’re probably not imagining something like this. Because this wasn’t built as a house, it was a Victorian school. Then in the 1990s, it was converted into flats.
Our client owned one of these flats, but he wasn’t very happy with the way it had been designed. It was a large space, but only had two bedrooms, one of which was very small. A lot of room was taken up by a curved staircase. And it had a strange mezzanine, including an odd, small balcony just above the kitchen. Great if you want a bird’s eye view of your breakfast being made, but little use otherwise. Likewise, the distance from the bathroom to the separate WC made no sense.
Our client wanted to renovate his listed building flat to achieve more space with a more logical layout. That would certainly have been possible in a regular building, but could we do that while respecting the listed building?
The key to this project was some inspired structural engineering that allowed dramatic additions to the property that would be completely reversible. This is essential when you are considering modernising and renovating a listed building - future generations might not appreciate the tastes of the early 21st century, so whatever you add should be removable at a later date without causing damage to the fabric of the property.
We used innovative methods to do this, including self-supporting steel beams and secondary support rods suspended from the existing structural column. In place of one wasteful staircase, we managed to fit in two that were both more efficient and architectural features in their own right.
We made the mezzanine 50% larger, with space for a decent-sized bedroom and an en-suite bathroom. On the ground floor, the large kitchen-living room stayed the same size, and in the back half it turned out there was room for two bedrooms and a bathroom.
So our client got a flat fully refurbished that still felt stylishly spacious while fitting much more in, and the council were able to grant us listed building consent secure in the knowledge that what we're doing could one day (if necessary) be undone.
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