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Collection by Ian Spula

This Dramatic London Renovation Boasts a Five-Story Bookcase

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The London town house of a former British politican undergoes a total rebirth. Today its Victorian facade hides a sophisticated modernist plan and a towering library structure with 330 linear feet of books.

Overcrowded by books and roundly dilapidated, the onetime home of late Labor Party leader Michael Foot received a modern gut renovation and expansion by SHH Architects. Books still hold down the fort but are regulated by the architecture. “All the facades and layouts of houses in this area have the same recipe,” says project lead Stuart McLauchlan. Rather than give the visitor what she expects of a century-old Victorian town house—a formal entrance hall with staircase—the rebuild delivers a pleasantly surprising view from the front door straight through to the extension and tree line beyond.

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