London Industrial Compound Converted Into Modern Housing

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By David Rudin / Published by Dwell
A commercial-to-residential renovation nods toward the building's industrial heritage.

Space is hard to come by, especially in London. On a landlocked site in Primrose Hill surrounded by Victorian homes and a railway line, Patalab Architecture transformed a 60-year-old industrial compound into a spacious, contemporary residence. The site, which once housed a mechanic’s garage and office, now contains a three-bedroom house and two one-bedroom apartments. 

Patalab united the commercial compound’s disparate forms, resurfacing them in bronze-glazed bricks and adorning each of the development’s facades with an asymmetrical gable. This focus on unity carried over to the interior, where floor slabs, ceilings, and walls were all relocated to create a spacious, open-plan living area. The net result is a contemporary house that acknowledges and enhances its commercial history.

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The renovated industrial compound is clad in metallic bronze-glazed bricks from Modular Clay Product, which match the neighboring Victorian terrace homes. The reflective bricks change in appearance as the sun moves through the sky, but always echo the Bronze Casements by Vale windows.

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A sunken seating area by Bill Cleyndert & Company is nestled in the heart of the living room. Occupants congregate there, surrounded by custom joinery, upholstery, and a polished concrete floor. From this vantage point, they can admire the fireplace inserted in the building’s brick wall.

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In the dining room, a James Burleigh table sits beneath a sizeable skylight. Throughout the ground floor, additional lighting is recessed in the coffered ceilings. Painted brick walls provide a reminder of the building’s industrial past.

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The kitchen, which includes bespoke cabinetry by the project’s main contractor, EC1 Refurbishments, looks out on the dining room.

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The ground floor is bifurcated by the grand staircase and its sculptural concrete pillar. Opposite the kitchen and behind the living room sits a study area, featuring a desk and wall of Poliform bookshelves.

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The house’s central staircase is encased in oak paneling, which brings added warmth and texture to the ground floor. The wide steps rise to the second floor, which houses three bedrooms and bathrooms.

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On the home’s upper level, the bathroom frames a view beyond the land-locked site. There, occupants can soak in the bathtub by Bette. The room’s tranquil ambience is enhanced by crisp fittings, including a sink and toilet by Duravit and tiling by Domus.

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Viewed from the roof, the home’s name—The Gables— makes perfect sense. Its asymmetric brick gables angle towards one another and converse with the architecture of the neighboring homes.