Converting a London Loft Into a Bright Live/Work Space

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Form Design Architecture strips down a two-bedroom loft in a former warehouse in South London into its bare essentials.

Form Design Architecture uncovered the true industrial character of this loft apartment in a recent refit, stripping away built-up floors and lowered ceilings to reveal original elements previously buried by renovations.

The client, a professional photographer, approached Form after coming to the conclusion that his two-bedroom layout just wasn’t ideal for his lifestyle. The 1990s conversion of the building had created a functional, but conventionally appointed unit, carved into a series of rooms. He felt that a more relaxed, flexible space could provide a better-suited live/work environment.

Peeling back the more recent layers to reveal elements of the original building, like the brick walls, Form’s director Malcolm Crayton and project architect Mike Neale created a blank canvas with which to work. The new open concept was kept simple: the brick walls were painted white and nearly all other surfaces are matched. Hi-Macs acrylic stone in Alpine White, is used in both the kitchen and for the built-in desk and the shelves that span one full wall of the apartment to provide a comfortable work area.

Adding a sense of warmth to the stark, white space, the floors are made of pitch pine planks salvaged from a Welsh chapel. At the far end of the space, the master suite can be opened or closed off from the open living area with a sliding wall. In the main room, the living room area is casual and comfortable, with chairs and footstools from Ligne Roset’s classicTogo line.

Though undivided, the kitchen and dining areas are clearly indicated, with the kitchen reduced to its base elements and many of the functional necessities concealed in the corner “service block.” Wrapped in the white Hi-Macs surfacing, this side of the block provide access to the fridge, freezer and coffee larder. The washer/dryer and guest bathroom are also tucked into this block.

The new openness allows the entire space to be washed in natural light, from the North facing wall, which is almost fully glazed, and the the now exposed windows on the south and west. When the sun fades, the loft is fitted out with low energy LED lighting, programmed with different settings for activities like work, exercise and cleaning.

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