Urban Living

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The Site

The site at 29 Mosley Street is on the third floor of a commercial building in the heart of the Newcastle. It has been used as office space in the past but is now, for this brief, being redesigned as an apartment for a single person, couple or small family. The building itself already has an industrial feel with exposed steel joists and brickwork. It has a fairly open plan layout with a large room running the length of the building.

Visual Reference

The visual reference I used for my client was a ‘shabby chic’ style. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the building and felt that this ‘worn in’ look would sit well in the old building. I wanted to create a style that was warm, welcoming and comfortable, a place to kick off your shoes and unwind. I felt that the design should look as though it had come together naturally over time with pieces selected for their individual beauty. Many of the examples of shabby chic style show opulent and decorative objects in quite sparse and humble surroundings. Much of the design will be focused on the objects within the build, rather than the build itself.

Site Design

The site already had an open plan layout and I felt that maintaining this would not only give a more spacious and airy feel to the design, but would also allow the character of the building to be seen.  The glass block wall is floor to ceiling and 2m in length. Having a full height opening and no door maintains the open plan feel of the design whilst still providing room division.

I also altered the existing windows. In the kitchen and living area at the front of the site I felt that large sash windows would be in keeping not only with the original, industrial style, but also with the surrounding buildings. The only other windows are at the other end of the building in the bedroom overlooking the terrace. I wanted to remove these and install a glass doorway both for the access and the light. I initially considered bi-fold doors but felt that French doors would be more in keeping with the building, the front windows and the style I was creating.

The only area that does not have any natural light is the bathroom, and this was one of my primary reasons for placing it there. People do not spend as much time in a bathroom as in other areas and for this reason electric light only is more acceptable here. It is also quite nice to feel entirely isolated when in the bathroom, it gives a feeling of complete privacy.

I also incorporated some concealed wardrobes in the bedroom. My concept here was to create a row of decorate panels, two of which were to be the wardrobe and one to be the door to the bathroom. I felt this had the ‘secret room’ feel reminiscent of old, rambling mansions, which would appeal to the romantic side of my client.

The original brick and steel of the building is integral to the design and is to remain on show. The longest wall which runs the length of the site will be exposed brick with the rest of the walls to be white smooth plaster. However, the back wall of the kitchen is to be brick that is painted white to allow the kitchen to stand out against it whilst retaining something ‘rustic’. The flooring will be reclaimed oak boards throughout. They should be unvarnished and roughly finished.

The kitchen itself is hand made from reclaimed oak. This is not only green and sustainable but also adds individual character. The kitchen is centred around an Aga which is housed in a brick built inglenook giving a homely, farmhouse effect. Having researched the Aga I found that it has ecological credibility in keeping with the sustainable nature of the apartment. The Aga can also run the heating and hot water system and is available in a variety of fuel options.

Furniture and Décor

The simplicity and utilitarian nature of the building’s décor is a sharp contrast to the furnishings it contains. I have tried to select classic and timeless pieces in order to give the design an ageless feeling. I would have liked to have used more antiques to give the impression that the apartment is a collection of heirlooms and curiosities, but found that sourcing these was a lot harder than sourcing items currently in production. For this reason I have chosen several modern pieces that I feel compliment the theme and which have the ability to be heirlooms of the future. I have used some pieces by Tom Dixon which are so perfect in their simplicity and use of materials that they compliment both the industrial and homely aspects of the design

I found particular inspiration in the Copper Shades. I had been concerned that there was no discernible colour scheme to tie the kitchen and living area but found that the addition of copper taps, cupboard handles and a coffee table gave a link between the two. The natural, warm colours of the brick, wood and metal are reflected in the worn leather sofa and autumnal reds and brown of the chair upholstery, soft furnishings, rug and window dressing.

I felt the study area, whilst really an extension of the living area, should have its own discernible area and decided to do this with the bookcase made from books. This serves several purposes, firstly, it does mark a boundary without spoiling the flow, secondly it is practical shelving, and thirdly, it is simply an incredible and stunning design.

The bedroom is the area where I felt the girly and romantic side of my client could be expressed and thought that an antique brass bed would fit comfortably with both the pretty bedding intended for it and the industrial nature of the space. As the bedroom is quite a small area I was concerned that it could appear cluttered with too much furniture, so I chose to have only a few simple but decorative pieces. The blue and white colour scheme keeps the bedroom light and airy, and the crystal chandelier and sumptuous bedding give it an opulent feel.

The bathroom stands alone. It is intended as an absolute contrast to the rest of the apartment and is hidden behind a concealed panel. I intended a very modern and minimal wet room style bathroom with the most incredible and technological shower. The room is completely tiled in a natural stone with a similar warm colour as the wooden basin and storage. The warm colours of the tile and wood will prevent the bathroom feeling too clinical.

Modelled in Sketch Up

Rendered in Kerkythea

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