Location: Spitalfields, London
Project Year: 2010
Cost: £100k - £500kThe Merchant House was built around 1718 has a rebuilt Regency style front façade built in about 1800. Yellow brick with gauged flat arches of red brick to the two windows of each upper storey. The original six-panelled door, surmounted by a metal fanlight, is framed by a Victorian door case of cement, set against the stuccoed ground storey.
At the ground floor where a beautiful room had been created for a wedding in the 1800’s in the regency style of that period, it was the aim to utilize the interconnecting front and back rooms to create a formal dining and kitchen space, leading through a scullery to the studio space at the rear which is to be a palm house and, through folding and sliding doors, a garden space. A new outdoor room capable of being used all year round is created, whilst respecting the integrity of the existing studio glass, light and form. The external courtyard garden created offers an attractive south facing wall and space, without loss of privacy.
At first floor level the roof to the former kitchen extension to the rear is now glazed, creating a north facing winter garden, to house orchids of many varieties. This simple move has increased the daylight to the rear room of the first floor, which previously had been landlocked and gloomy due to the nineteenth century additions on ground and first floors.
The top floor aim was to remodel the interior of the weavers loft, creating a large open plan workspace incorporating a finely detailed bureau. The ‘plank and muntin’ panelling typical of these houses encloses the stairs and is continued in the design to enclose a fold down bed and storage to allow this room to double as a spare bedroom. A single column from the nineteenth century supports the valley roof at the centre of the room and provides a visual focus for the space.