Can work and living space happily coexist?
This Victorian warehouse in the working heart of east London is owned by a socially conscious landlord who rents out each floor to small creative start-ups. Our client, an up-and-coming fashion and costume designer, often works on location for long periods at short notice, and our refurbishment of her top-floor space acknowledges this transient lifestyle, unlocking it for both living and work.
Our first move was to open up the unused loft space, creating a mezzanine floor for use when the our client is staying over in London. We pulled the floor edge back to reveal the arched warehouse window in its entirety, allowing north light to flood in and giving a stronger sense of space and connection. We left the original roof trusses exposed which mark out distinct areas for sleeping, relaxing and dressing. The main workspace below is open and flexible, allowing cutting tables, sewing machines and workbenches to be arranged according to the current project, and has storage and pin-up boards for walls. A small kitchen and bathroom sit below the mezzanine.
'We wanted the space to be lasting, grounding and uplifting'
A key principle of our design approach was to use – and celebrate – natural and raw materials, specifying those that were traceable to their source, free from chemicals and excessive processing. The walls are of clay and timber, contrasting with bright rubber flooring that colour wraps up the wainscotting in the workspace and continues up the stair treads. Cork is used for the mezzanine flooring and wall panelling, with oak for the joinery, vegetable oil-based paint, and rubblazzo kitchen worktops made from rubble salvaged from demolished London buildings.