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What it cost
The roof began to leak in 2005. Soon after, Root hired architect Adrian Friend to do the remodel. Some of Root’s ideas — an internal courtyard, for example — proved too costly, but instead there’s the focal point of a stunning, bright yellow central staircase, which glows in any light and goes right up to the rooftop. Friend came up with the polycarbonate windows.
They applied for planning permission in 2005, which took several attempts to pass. Then Root had to save up to build. Demolition and building began around 2012 and five years of taking things slowly followed, working to a very tight budget, with Root, an ultra-perfectionist, on top of every detail. He cycled around London for ideas, such as the singing yellow, admired at Richard Rogers’s house. “I lived on site in a tiny room, cooking stirfries on a single ring.”
He did a lot of finishing himself, polishing plaster walls and painting the yellow stair rail with 10 coats. He took kitchen door fronts to Devon to supervise them being painted gloss black with a gold fleck. “I drove everyone mad. The builder emigrated after this job,” he grins, adding that the builders were fantastic.
The ground floor studio of this incredible live-work home is let out. Root’s bathroom and two bedrooms are on the first floor, his own bedroom featuring a Japanese teak bath. The yellow stair with its sunny rubber treads leads to the huge living space and winds on up to the roof terrace. At one end is the black kitchen. At the other is a seating area full of midcentury classics bought online. Root has a terrific eye for design and a bargain. He £150,000 about £350,000 £1.95 million (estimate) Architecture: by Adrian Friend at Friend and Company (friendandcompany.co.uk) Builder: Design2build (design2build.uk. com) Bespoke rainscreen in aluminium expanded mesh: from PSP Architectural (pspuk.com) Polycarbonate façade: Rockwell Module 500, 40mm thick, from Rockwellmeriden.co.uk Yellow staircase: made by Peter Elliot of All Steel Fabrications (allsteelsculpture. com) Yellow rubber on treads: from Dalhaus Dalsouple (dalsouple.com) Aluminium Splügen Bräu pendant lamp in hall: available at Heal’s (heals.com) Philippe Starck for Duravit washbasin and loo: duravit.com Elica Italian extractor: from elica.com Erco polished steel track lamps in kitchen; Arne Jacobsen Egg chair; Series 1 Eames chair with footstool; teak bath: all from ebay.co.uk Paint: dulux.co.uk Sofa: from Heal’s (as before), re-cove by Root
Contact Jonathan Root at jonathanroot.co.uk
Pop-Up Ute is shortlisted for a Don’t Move, Improve! award, being announced tomorrow. Go to newlondonarchitecture. org for details.
Two-storey unfinished studio in 1996: Conversion to three storeys with fullsize roof terrace: Value now: Detail counts: Root took kitchen cupboard doors to Devon to supervise painting