One from the archives…Lonsdale Place
Tue 18 Dec 2018
We’re proud of every project we complete, but over our thirty years in the business there have been a few that hold a special place in our hearts. One of those is Lonsdale Place in Islington’s Barnsbury Conservation Area.
It was 1998 and perceived wisdom held that buyers were looking for period properties, with the full complement of fireplaces and cornicing.
We were working with a landlocked site surrounded by the mature gardens of some of Islington’s stately Georgian and Gothic Victorian villas.
From day one of the project we set out to make a striking design statement. Our scheme featured fully glazed facades to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, and the interiors were conceived to create informal, interesting and flexible spaces. Our unconventional layout turned the house upside down, with bedrooms at ground floor level and the living areas on the first floor to make the most of the views and quality of light in this beautiful corner of London. Our palette of materials included expanses of glass, as well as glass blocks and white render, all incredibly unusual for the time.
Our first plans were turned down as too radical: there was resistance to a design that moved away from the standard Victorian and Georgian pastiche that was then so popular. We were undeterred, and obtained the permission we needed second time around.
The result was three contemporary houses set around a new mews. Internally each was unique, but externally they were unified by their glazed facades and transverse barrel vault roofs.
Our belief, that outside of what was mainstream at the time, there was a ready market for really outstanding modern design was vindicated. In 2001, one of the houses received the accolade of ‘Best New House in England’ and ‘Best New House of the Year’ in the Britannia Design Awards.
The scheme was a commercial success, setting a new local benchmark for valuation, with sale prices 50% higher than similar developments, demonstrating that in the end, good design pays.