Emil Eve Architects renovates a warehouse in London
The owners of a converted warehouse in Clerkenwell in London have swapped their open-plan living room for a more functional layout, following a redesign by Emil Eve Architects.
The project, called St John Street, sees the previously austere and industrial space transformed into a practical two-bedroom home for clients Mike and Jen.
Along with the new layout, Emil Eve introduced oak joinery, glazed tiles and terrazzo floors to bring more warmth and color to the renovated living spaces.
The aim was to make the old warehouse more comfortable, but without losing the industrial character that gives the space its identity.
“When our clients acquired the apartment, it was a large, empty shell, with exposed brick walls and columns and a concrete ceiling slab marked with panels,” said Emma Perkin, who founded Emil Eve with his partner Ross Perkin.
“While an industrial palette might look pretty raw and harsh, the materials here had such a nice range of tones and textures that we knew we wanted to keep them,” she told Dezeen.
“Our approach was to contrast these rougher historic surfaces with contemporary interventions in a carefully considered material palette to complement existing tones and create a warm and welcoming home.”
The most important task of the project was to plan a new layout that would suit the client’s lifestyle and daily habits, but also work with existing windows and structural columns.
Emil Eve’s approach was to organize the main living spaces on one end of the floor plan and the bedrooms on the other, so that both could benefit from natural light. Auxiliary functions, such as bathrooms, were then inserted in the center, behind a spacious library-style entrance hall.
“The space is long and thin, with windows at each end, so we had to think about how to maximize natural light in areas where our customers would be spending most of their time,” said Ross Perkin.
“We developed the idea of a library area, which would form the entrance to the apartment, which would connect all the other rooms and allow views from one end of the apartment to the other through large doors. retractable sliding doors, ”he explained.
Almost all new room dividers have built-in shelves and cupboards, giving them a solid feel while creating much-needed storage space.
As a result, these elements have a high quality level of finish, allowing them to contrast with the raw surfaces of the original exterior walls.
“We wanted to keep as much of the historic fabric and sense of openness as possible,” said Ross.
“Thus, these internal spaces are designed as independent elements, each lined with custom wood joinery and ceramic tiling to create a distinctive atmosphere and identity. “
The living room is now the largest space in the house.
Two concrete columns, along with tall furniture, help divide the space into three different areas – a living area, a dining area that doubles as a working space, and a kitchen and breakfast bar. This makes it easier to run multiple activities simultaneously.
The kitchen is the most distinctive element of this room, combining elements of whitewashed birch plywood, dark green tiles, yellow pendant lights, and an island with a built-in teriyaki griddle.
A similar green tile is featured in the master bathroom – the idea was to refer to the Victorian glazed tiles that are common in the area.
A more serene approach was taken for the bedrooms, where the brick walls were finished with a natural clay plaster.
In addition to a walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom, the master bedroom also has a custom slatted headboard and window seat, with interactive bedside shelves.
The other bedroom is a spare bedroom, so most of the time it functions as a gym.
Parquet is present in the bedrooms and living areas, while the rest of the apartment has terrazzo flooring, which helps create subtle transitions between the different areas.
Emil Eve worked with Harbor Joinery Workshop to design and build all of the new joinery items, as well as some of the furniture.
It’s an approach architects are familiar with, having designed built-in furniture for previous projects including their own old home, Gibson Gardens.
Noteworthy items here include the floor-to-ceiling shelving and cupboards in the library, the well-organized walk-in closet in the master bedroom, and the personalized low sideboard in the living room.
“We love carpentry and always design our own parts for each project,” Emma said. “Here we have designed a family of joinery elements for different spaces, but with common characteristics.”
“We used oak for the library space, which is a very warm wood and a traditional material for libraries, to give the atmosphere of a sanctuary lined with books in the heart of the house. The dressing room, the kitchen, the pantry and bathroom echo the language, but in lighter plywood to delimit these spaces. “
The photograph is by Mariell Lind Hansen.