Beresford road in north-east London had been built as a speculative property development in the late Victorian period. The original designs for the terraced townhouses were oversized and overambitious from their inception, the result being that when built, the houses were quickly converted into multiple flats. These conversions tended to be ad-hoc, incoherent and poorly conceived, with awkward spaces, poor use of light, and labyrinthine staircases overlaid onto the otherwise grand proportions of the original rooms.
Mosley Thorold Architects were appointed for the refurbishment of an upper maisonette in one of these townhouses. Following a complete gut of the existing interiors which had no original features, and little of the original plan form, a new proposal was developed which focused around a relocated staircase.
The existing stairs to the property spanned five principle storeys with three intermediate levels and were formed from multiple runs in different locations with circuitous routes and awkward, dark spaces. The new proposal instead used a single flowing stair, formed from a continuous metal-ribbon structure and timber surface, to bring light and connectivity into the family home. Through the considered use of new rooflights, terraces and openings in structural walls around the stairwell, light is brought deep into the building whilst the grandeur of the original spaces is reinstated.
A warm palette of robust natural materials has been deployed to give coherence across the full height of the building from the grander public rooms to the smaller and more intimate bedrooms and family rooms above.