Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Modern Georgian; If You Have the Courage to Buy a Damp, Dark and Cold East London Georgian House, You Deserve the Rewards, Says Ruth Bloomfield

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Modern Georgian; If You Have the Courage to Buy a Damp, Dark and Cold East London Georgian House, You Deserve the Rewards, Says Ruth Bloomfield

Article excerpt

Byline: says Ruth Bloomfield

JOANNA GRIFFITHS is a huge fan of London's Georgian architecture -- all those big windows and elegant symmetry -- so it was a dream realised when she was able to find a classic early 19th-century townhouse in east London.

Griffiths and her partner, Jennifer Bedlow, bought the two-bedroom, threestorey house in 2011 for PS622,000. "But it was 200 years old, very dark, freezing cold and a bit damp," says Joanna, 36. When carbon monoxide started leaking from the boiler, they knew they would have to get cracking with their restoration plans.

They discovered architect Martin Gruenanger, director of Space Group Architects, by Googling "architect", "east London" and "award-winning". With his help they renovated their Grade II-listed Mile End home, giving it an upbeat industrial vibe and adding an extra floor, plus a sunken glass box extension.

In the process, they also upped its value by almost PS400,000.

Griffiths and Bedlow wanted a light new kitchen where they could entertain. Gruenanger suggested adding a mansard roof extension, too. "It was almost a no-brainer," he says. "Just about every other house on the terrace had done one so it was almost restoring the roof line."

The project romped through the planning process -- Tower Hamlets council approved the work in just seven weeks -- and work on the six-month project began in October 2013. The couple, who have since married, moved in with Bedlow's mother for the duration.

The formerly damp basement kitchen is gorgeously light and bright today. When Griffiths and Bedlow, 34, a photographer, bought their house there was a small, dark patio beyond this room, with steps up to the garden.

This miserable space was barely used, and Gruenanger suggested encasing it in glass to extend the kitchen and let in light. The small light well and vaults at the front of the house have also been transformed. The hated window bars have been replaced with a glass panel, and as well as outside storage the walls of the vaults have been used to house a small wine cellar and a herb garden.

The couple wanted a clean look. "We don't like stuff and clutter," explains Griffiths.

Gruenanger opted for fashionable white walls, white kitchen units, plenty of glass -- shelves, as well as the extension -- and concrete flooring.

He also designed a huge, copper-clad kitchen island as a centrepiece. The unit measures almost 6ft by 4ft and, as well as being great for storage and for use as an impromptu table, over time the copper acquires a lovely, delicate patina of blues and greens. Creating this bespoke piece was simpler and less expensive than you might think. They simply bought conventional kitchen cupboard carcasses, built an MDF worktop and side panels and then found a specialist metal company to clad it in thin sheets of copper, at a total cost of about PS3,000. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.