Creepy coal cellars, sad side returns and heaving holding cells – just some of the things we simply don’t need in modern domestic life. But these outdated spaces don’t have to be obsolete: from changing layouts to switching functions and tearing down divisions, take a look at these unique homes that mix traditional and modern design to exciting new effect.
Respect the law
Take one Victorian magistrates court, then add salvage discoveries, loving restoration and a blend of vintage, industrial and modern bohemia for a criminally cool conversion that’s more than just a home. This castellated and Grade 2 listed former Lincolnshire lawhouse is also a successful business for weddings, parties, photoshoots and events.
Glass over it
Unrecognizable as the kitchen in a Victorian terraced house, this fantastic multi-purpose family space was given a fierce injection of industrial style when the original room was extended. Enclosing the side return, and replacing the entire back wall with a full-height, full-width curtain of factory-style windows and doors, the result brings the inside and out transparently together.
Repackage the goods
Spinning it round and digging deep down turned this former parcel shop in Shoreditch into a confidently cosy and cooly contemporary duplex apartment. A sanctuary-like bedroom has been created from the old coal cellar, with a staircase leading down from a wonderfully serene home workspace. Meanwhile, the open-plan living area is filled with light from a new glass atrium and spills onto a secret garden that neatly wraps things up.
Go old school
Built as a Victorian Sunday school, this wonderful building in Brixton is now a mews of seven unique houses. This one, the largest of the lot, is an education in modern industrial gothic style where sharp contemporary fittings are paired with black metalwork and wood against a background of grit-blasted brickwork, vaulted bedrooms and high ceilings – top marks all round.
No longer available, but for inspiration only…
Bridge the age gap
Mid-century modern and Victorian style are the perfect match at the fittingly named Valentine Road. From the outside, this classic end-of-terrace in Stoke Newington looks just like its neighbours, but step through the front door for a carnival of old-meets-new, with myriad original features fused with natty newness like floating kitchen cupboards, geometric tiles and gorgeous parquet – teaks all the boxes!
Screen your guests
Apart from the King, no Londoner needs to store their carriage anymore, but we do need some somewhere to hang our coats in the way horses never did. So how do you give your converted stables a sense of division between the entrance and living areas without ending up with a dark and poky hall? The answer lies in metalwork screens, a bold and brassy choice at this Camden mews house.
Break the fourth wall
Big sociable kitchens have taken centre stage as the hub of modern homes, forcing bold reimaginings at the back of traditional terraces. Here, the modern cupboards are colour-matched with the traditional French windows, while a shard-like glass roof and wall are spliced in by enclosing the old side return. Overhead, the decorative ceiling plasterwork has been restored, while reproduction Victorian radiators and brass wall lights with Edison bulbs add an industrial element of warmth and light. Tying it all together is a timeless oak floor as the end to a truly class act.
Smooth things over
Sacrilege! Tell the loft set that you’re about to plaster over the exposed brickwork in your converted warehouse, and brace yourself for outcry. But show them the results of your bright, white and heavenly space and you’re sure to win (some of) their hearts.
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