The fusion of past and present is key to the British aesthetic. Take this east London loft, where original factory features have been updated with cutting-edge steel designs
Located in the now-trendy
area of Clapton, London, in a former toy factory dating from 1907, is the apartment of photographer Dean Rogers and his girlfriend Molly Wansell. Today, their home is a shining example of British style’s edgy, urban side. When Dean first set eyes on the building, though, it was its six-metre-high ceilings and light-filled rooms, with windows on three sides, that sold it to him. ‘The space needed work, but I knew it had the potential to be amazing,’ he says.
Dean already had a penchant for loft living. ‘Most of the apartments I’ve called home have been industrial spaces – I lived in Nottingham’s Lace Market for a long time. I like their feel and character,’ he says. After buying the warehouse in 2011, Dean spent the next two and a half years living there, working with space planner Jayne Furniss and architect Sadie Snelson to come up with a design that made the most of the building’s unique and intriguing history.
A 12-month renovation project followed, and it was 2015 before the loft was complete. Visiting now, you enter into a small hallway with a wall of storage units (these house the couple’s bikes). From here, you walk downstairs into the main kitchen and the open-plan living area. On the right is a bedroom and an office. The highlight of the interior, however, is the new mezzanine level, clad in acid-washed steel. It doubles the usable floor space in this 250-square-metre apartment, allowing Dean to add a further two bedrooms, another living area and a bathroom.
The use of steel is a theme in this home, with it also used to make the deceptively simple staircase leading up to the mezzanine. Created by east London-based designer John Horton, this looks like one single folded piece of metal. The large internal windows, which are intended to distribute light into even the smallest rooms, were also commissioned by Dean and made by Horton. ‘It’s much easier to buy bespoke pieces these days, because steel is often laser cut and can easily be made to order,’ says Dean.
As well as local craftspeople, Dean has also chosen British materials where possible. The floors and kitchen units are all made of Uk-sourced oak. It is this sense of place and history that gives this modern London home its soul. furnissandmay.com; ssarchitects.co.uk
Kitchen The kitchen is bespoke, with oak cabinets and concrete worktops. Topps Tiles has similar tiles, and the stools are from Rockett St George Dining area The table and bench are vintage, and the chairs were rescued from a skip by the homeowner (try Metroretro for similar). Skinflint Design sells lights like these Stockist details on p284 ➤