design et al are delighted to announce that Barclay Interiors Ltd have been shortlisted for Living Space – UK Award in The International Design & Architecture Awards 2020.
The property is a Grade A listed apartment situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The property had been badly developed in the 1960s, compromising its heritage, and the interior had remained untouched since then. The client wanted to create a modern and functional home, whilst restoring the few original features remaining, which extended to stone flooring, sash windows and an internal staircase. They wanted a space that fulfilled the needs of their lifestyle as well as needing the apartment to work for modern, 21st Century living. Above all, they wanted the apartment to represent their eclectic taste, making use of their vintage furniture and artifacts from their extensive travels, as well as introducing colour and texture.
One key aspect of the project was to design a way of making the dark but large hallways into a more practical and functional use of space, as well as a beautiful area to be enjoyed rather than a corridor to carry you from A to B. The hallway had what looked like the beginning of a staircase but only 4 steps were visible. It was therefore a great discovery to learn that, by removing the wall, the few visible steps revealed themselves to be a full winding staircase all the way to the ceiling. This ‘staircase to nowhere’ became a fully integrated and functioning part of the design.
The redesign of the wide hallways into a series of closed and open-plan defined spaces gave this apartment an expansive feel, transforming it from dark and dingy to open and airy. The new, usable areas provide a customised study, a sociable library on the ‘staircase to nowhere’ with a bar, a new bathroom with a Japanese soaking tub, a wider entrance vestibule, and a large and inclusive entertaining space. In addition, a streamlined, intimate kitchen was installed where only a cooker existed, which opens to a fully-landscaped garden with terraces. This complete transformation was fundamental to the project really working well for this sociable family, and ensured that their brief was met.
The apartment’s renovation required several specialist skills. Expert stonemasons carefully cleaned and restored the original stone floors, which had been covered in black paint and a rubberised solution. Similarly, the original wood floor planks were from a variety of eras, but the cracks, cuts and infills were seamlessly renovated by master carpenters. For the study, a local artisan was commissioned to design the bookcase and desk in walnut incorporating specialist lighting. The outcome is a flexible living space, sympathetically restored, and beautifully suited to the client’s needs.
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