Location: Chepstow Place, London
Refurbishment of a first floor apartment, the six storey Grade 2 listed building reflective of the characteristic typologies of the late nineteenth century within the area. The project involved interior alterations to improve the access to existing storage mezzanine, the amount of natural light to the bedroom and the introduction of a guests' loo.
This residential grade 2 listed building is located in the edge of Westminster within the Bayswater Conservation Area. The building was built circa 1860 and divided into apartments at some point in the 1960s.
According to the planning portal, the apartment was last refurbished sometime in 2011 when the shower room and kitchen areas were reconfigured and refurbished.
Atelier EURA were appointed to improve the functionality of the apartment for which a few key areas within the interior of the existing apartment were modified. Our key moves were:
Improving the access to a mezzanine level created on the top of the shower room by the previous owner.
Creating a guests' loo in an area where there was a boiler cupboard
Creating generous storage adjacent to the master bedroom to work as a dressing room
Introducing much needed natural light to the dressing area of the master bedroom
ACCESS TO MEZZANINE
In London, where space is premium, making the most of the space available is vital. Those who refurbished this apartment in 2011 knew it and created a mezzanine above the new shower room, Unfortunately, the location they chose for the ladder clashed with the access to both the bedroom and shower room and the large opening they left made the resulting mezzanine space fragmented and the access to storage very unsafe .
Our work focused on relocating the ladder away from the lobby and existing staircase by moving it across to the corridor between the kitchen and shower room. As well as building an infill floor in the area where the original access was providing better access to the enlarged storage, we provided an edge protection at the top of the shower room to make access to an from the area safer.
Given its location, the new ladder was a bespoke design and made to have a light appearence.
NEW GUESTS' LOO
We have found over the years that one of the top requests from clients looking to refurbish their home is a guests' loo. This was also the case in this project.
The apartment benefited from a good size boiler which was extended to create the new guests' loo. In order to minimise the connection work and reduce the impact on the facade, our proposal sought to retain the existing boiler within the same area and use the same extraction point.
Worth noting that the joinery was bespoke in order to accommodate, within the same space, the cleaning equipment .
The most recent refurbishment had made an attempt to create storage in the dressing room area, in both sides of the staircase. Unfortunately,, the overall result felt quite temporary and was not sufficient to meet the needs of our clients..
The new full height wardrobe followed a bespoke design to best serve the needs of our client.
As part of the works which took place in this area, we completed the cornice , created an arch to conceal the
INTRODUCTION OF NATURAL LIGHT
Although the scheme was awarded consent fairly quickly, during the freeholder approval process, the works related to bringing natural light to the dressing area were opposed and could not be delivered. Despite this, we feel there is value sharing why we proposed it in the first place.
Many buildings in London expanded over the years to meet the needs of those who occupy them (a typical example everyone would recognise was the incorporation of the external wc into the building fabric by creating an appendices at the back of townhouses, for example) . In those historical extensions, natural light was not always considered in the same way we do today. As such, many of those elongated plans have a dark area within the transitional section of the buildings.
In this case, the master bedroom, which is located at the rear of the apartment, has windows exclusively at the far end and the area which is closest to the living areas, has to rely on the use of artificial lighting.
One may assume that the easiest way to address this would be to add a window. However, given that this is a building which is listed and forms part of a conservation area, adding windows (even in facades which are not visible form the street) can be really challenging and take a long time. Furthermore, in buildings where there are leases in place, it is often not permitted.
Our proposal to bring some natural light to it, and reduce the use of energy, was to add a slim vertical window at the end of the corridor which separates the living and sleeping areas . This window would have allowed the client to borrow light from the west facing living room lighting the home office nook.
In order for this new window not to be obstructed, from the corridor area, the door between the corridor and the lobby outside the shower room would have been replaced with a sliding door.
Working within listed buildings requires a level of awareness many may not be familiar with. In cases where there are many original features, or features considered of value by the listing itself or the conservation officer (due to their contribution to the building's history), architects take the role of detectives as well as designers. In cases where there have been substantial internal alterations, as it is was the case in this project, the focus tends to be on the building's external appearance.
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