Blending Georgian and ultra-modern
One of the grandest Georgian squares in London is nowhere near Belgravia or Kensington, but is miles further east, just off Mile End Road in Bow. It is a classic garden square; the tall terrace houses lining each side are all beautifully preserved, their sash windows, arched doorways and railings now protected through the Tredegar Square Conservation Area. In the centre of the white stuccoed terrace on the north side is a meticulously kept house with double doors and huge windows, set off with a classical pediment and pillars.
But step through those double doors and you fast-forward through the centuries, to a fabulous contemporary home with a huge glass atrium at the rear. It is full of stylish, 20th-century furniture and art, but also carefully highlights the original architectural features of each room. This is the spectacular result of two major renovations by the current owners, each taking 18 months and spanning nearly 20 years.
“We really wanted to live on this square, so when this house came up we bought it, even though it needed a lot of work,” says Michael Brennan, an oil and gas executive who was living nearby with his wife Pauline, a volunteer NSPCC counsellor, and their young daughter.
Back then, in 2001, the house was divided into a lower ground floor flat and three-storey house. The Brennans wanted to bring it back to one home, and extend the lower ground floor to connect with the garden.
Cambridge architects 5th Studio came up with a dramatic design for a double-height glazed extension, which involved removing half the back wall of the house and erecting a steel frame to support the glass, a job that took 18 months and £600,000. “It took a long time to get planning permission,” says Brennan. “And when the work finally started we discovered the house hardly had any foundations, it was just rubble under the basement.”
This meant foundations had to be dug at the back to support the steel frame. The glass-roofed extension, along with the rest of the
Michael Brennan, who overhauled his Georgian terrace house
The back of the house has a double height glass atrium