wheels of in­dus­try

Lau­ren Blow and Steve Cross­ley have en­hanced the orig­i­nal fea­tures of a former fac­tory build­ing by adding re­claimed ma­te­ri­als and in­dus­trial touches


Cool in­dus­trial styling com­ple­ments a con­verted cot­ton mill in Manch­ester

When Lau­ren Blow and her part­ner Steve Cross­ley started look­ing for a home to­gether in Manch­ester, an abun­dance of char­ac­ter and a city cen­tre lo­ca­tion was key. So when a rare three-bed­room cor­ner apart­ment came up for sale in a con­verted Grade Ii*-listed cot­ton mill, they jumped at the chance to view it.

Steve, who runs a re­cruit­ment busi­ness, was al­ready rent­ing in the same build­ing, and the pair loved the canal-side lo­ca­tion on the edge of the city’s bo­hemian North­ern Quar­ter. ‘It was con­verted in 2008 and had one pre­vi­ous owner,’ re­calls Lau­ren, a light­ing de­signer. ‘But they’d al­ready moved out so there was no fur­ni­ture and it looked very bare and plain.’

Al­though there were too many wardrobes built in around the beds, some of which ob­scured the orig­i­nal brick­work, the cou­ple adored the build­ing’s large win­dows and pe­riod char­ac­ter. They also loved the quirky former cor­ner cloak­room, to which they have added re­claimed wood shelves for stor­ing bot­tles of spir­its and stylish wall-mounted wine racks.

Dur­ing the four months it took for the sale to go through, Lau­ren was able to re­alise her ideas in 3D us­ing mod­el­ling com­puter pro­gram Sketchup, gather sam­ples and ob­tain quotes for cre­at­ing a mul­ti­func­tional kitchen is­land-cum-din­ing table with built-in bench seat­ing and a break­fast bar. Her fa­ther made the struc­ture from CLS studwork tim­ber, which was cladded with old fruit crates. It sup­ports the con­crete work­tops and end pan­els. To fin­ish the piece, they com­mis­sioned bar and restau­rant

fit­ter Rigg to make a can­tilevered brass table­top with hair­pin legs.

As a light­ing ex­pert, Lau­ren was keen to come up with an in­no­va­tive plan. ‘In the main liv­ing area, we in­vested in warm down­lighters with dim­mer switches,’ she says. Else­where, in­dus­trial-style floor lamps, a cop­per pen­dant over the is­land and bold state­ment lights in the bed­rooms make the most of the high ceil­ings.

For­tu­nately, the cou­ple liked the ex­ist­ing con­tem­po­rary kitchen units, and saw no need to re­place the three bath­rooms. In­stead, they fo­cused their at­ten­tion on the main liv­ing space and bed­rooms, adding nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and in­dus­trial touches.

The wardrobes around the beds were re­moved and re­placed with wood fea­ture walls. Fence pan­els adorn the sit­ting room and guest bed­room, while the main bed­room is clad with re­claimed floor joists from a school. ‘I did con­sider us­ing lam­i­nate on the walls but it would spoil the ef­fect if peo­ple touched it, plus it wouldn’t have chimed with our nat­u­ral ma­te­rial con­cept,’ says Lau­ren.

Another is­sue that needed to be ad­dressed was the long en­trance to the main bed­room, which was lined with a wardrobe and felt too cor­ri­dor-like. To cre­ate in­ter­est, Lau­ren hung old metal door kick plates on the wall.

Be­ing able to walk to work is a bonus for the cou­ple and there are plenty of bars and restau­rants on the doorstep. They also love en­ter­tain­ing friends at home. ‘Steve likes to play bar­man and we have a disco light to set the mood,’ says Lau­ren. ‘ We are re­ally en­joy­ing this space and have loved mak­ing our mark on it.’

SIT­TING AREA As it is lo­cated on the cor­ner of the build­ing, this open-plan room ben­e­fits from an abun­dance of nat­u­ral light. Paris cor­ner sofa, £1,499, Dwell. Carn­wath cof­fee table with mag­a­zine rack by Home & Haus, £269.99, Way­fair, is a good al­ter­na­tive

KITCHEN The cou­ple re­tained the ex­ist­ing de­vel­oper’s kitchen, as it suited the space. For sim­i­lar units, try the Mi­lano Ul­tra Camel gloss, from £2,500 for eight, with Slab Aus­trian oak, from £1,500 for eight, Wren Kitchens

WINE STORE Lo­cated next to the kitchen, this former cloak­room has been trans­formed into a use­ful stor­age area for bot­tles of wine and spir­its. Vurm four-bot­tle wine racks, £10 each, Ikea. Try the Tray 1-light in­dus­trial saucer shade ad­justable arm floor lamp, £145.79, Ho­mary

SIT­TING AREA A retro-style metal unit on cas­tors suits this eclec­tic scheme, while a pot­ted cac­tus and suc­cu­lents add a bo­hemian touch. Wayne metal and fir TV stor­age unit, £115, Maisons du Monde. Con­crete planter and cac­tus, £69, An­coats Gen­eral Store

MAIN BED­ROOM Re­claimed brass door kick plates make a strik­ing wall dis­play. ban­nock­bane Sil­ver blan­ket, £35, the tar­tan blan­ket Co. PS 2014 ceil­ing pen­dant, £100, Ikea

BATH­ROOM Tones of grey cre­ate a sleek, mod­ern look. try Dartrey grey wall tiles, £67.86sq m, topps tiles

GUEST BED­ROOM ‘Us­ing fence pan­els on the wall gave the rough feel I wanted,’ says Lau­ren. For a sim­i­lar bed­side table, try b-grade un­fin­ished rus­tic wooden crate, £15.59, Dis­play Stands

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