New Bloomsbury Set
Gerald Cadogan | Financial Times
Listed Grade II*, the house was "in a very poor state when we took it on", says architect Simon Smith, who has restored it superbly with developers Marldon.
It had been offices for the previous 80 years, but this neglect had its positive side, says Smith. ‘They had not removed the panelling, which is now one of the glories of the house – as is the ornate plasterwork on the upstairs landing. The fireplaces had also been left. Every piece of the wood in the house needed checking before starting the restoration, under the eyes of Camden Council and English Heritage. The building team, which has worked for Marldon for 30 years, unpicked the whole house and numbered the parts to reassemble or replace them. ‘We haven’t lost a single piece of sound wood from the building,’ says Smith.
The alignments of the building were another problem. ‘Everything was massively out of level,’ Smith soon found. ‘The Luftwaffe had contributed not a little.’ The wear and tear of being in London for 250 years also played a part. But now stability has been restored, the bad wood replaced and 21st century conveniences and luxuries unobtrusively inserted. At the back of the house a large modern conservatory is a sharp complement to the panelled rooms.
The result is a first-rate townhouse that is as smart and characterful now as it was in Georgian times. Its original builders would be delighted to see the continuity of their work.
29th September 2001