A dark Victorian house by the Regent’s Canal has been refurbished to create space and light. Photography by Alan Williams
Canal House is a refurbished end-of-terrace, four-storey property by Emrys Architects, which has transformed a severely compromised building into a large and stylish home, adding value through a focus on careful design and the public realm.
The existing Victorian building, standing on a prominent corner site alongside the Regent’s Canal, was poorly maintained and had been subdivided several times, resulting in series of dark and tired spaces including a ground-floor massage parlour and a lower-ground-floor flat with a windowless living room.
Emrys has stripped and stabilised the building, relinking the ground and basement floors to create one stylish and coherent apartment with two further apartments on the first and second floors. The new homes are now characterised by a sense of space, created with a series of flexible partitioning sliding doors and light drawn from quirky towpath porthole windows that reference the canalside setting.
In memory of the building’s history, in pride of place above the staircase hangs the earlier massage parlour’s illuminated sign. Canal House was completed in February 2018.
Glyn Emrys, director, Emrys Architects
Start on site April 2016
Completion January 2018
Gross internal floor area 202m²
Architect Emrys Architects
Executive architect Glyn Emrys
Structural engineer Elliott Wood Partnership
Quantity surveyor Equals Consulting
CDM co-ordinator Vey Consulting
Approved building inspector Building Control Approval
Main contractor DDC
CAD software used AutoCAD
Detail and specification
Emrys placed an emphasis on maximising natural light within the new home, adding a large ‘shopfront’ window on the ground floor and a double-height space that runs along the front windows allowing daylight to penetrate the lower ground floor. Large porthole windows bring light to a lower-ground bedroom and glazed doors open on to a rear courtyard. Upper floors enjoy plentiful light through full-height glazed doors which open on to balconies overlooking the canal.
Sliding partitions enable efficient and flexible use of space within a relatively compact footprint, transforming open-plan study and play areas into private bedrooms. Bespoke joinery and exposed timber ceilings enhance the sense of space.
Emrys has taken care to preserve the building’s external elevations, repairing the brick and render façades to enhance its conservation-area setting. New additions – such as the towpath portholes and balconies with their glazed balustrades – read as contemporary elements that do not diminish the building’s historic character.
Glyn Emrys, director, Emrys Architects
1. Bathroom floor tiles (first floor)
Domus Industrial DFDL 04 600 x 600mm porcelain tiles
2. Bathroom wall tiles (first floor)
Bert & May Canola Yellow Otura, hand-made cement tile
3. Partitions and door (first floor)
Solid core doors, lacquered finish. Paint: Farrow and Ball Charlotte’s Locks (No 268), by SRS Joinery
4. Timber flooring (first floor)
Torres 20mm prefinished engineered timber flooring. Naturally Wood Floors
5. Worktops (first floor)
Silestone Cosentino natural quartz White Storm
6. Kitchen cabinets (first floor)
Lacquered MDF, RAL 9016
7. Kitchen backsplash (first floor)
Bert & May Black Duchamp glazed tile
8. Invisible hinge
Argenta NEO S-5 brushed stainless steel 3D adjustable hinge
9. Steam room tiling (lower ground)
Domus Mother of Pearl Shell Hexagon DVMP 01
10. Kitchen cabinets (ground floor)
11. Kitchen worktop and backsplash (ground floor)
GEC Anderson Brushed Satin stainless steel
12. Stone flooring (lower ground floor)
Stone interiors Basaltina honed 20mm natural stone tile
13. Engineered oak flooring (Lower Ground and Ground Floor)
Naturally Wood Floors Warwick herringbone 20mm bespoke engineered timber
14. Joinery (lower and ground floors)
Lime-washed oak, lacquered (RAL 9016). Combination of veneered MDF and solid wood
Itfitz brushed stainless steel door knobs and 600mm pull handle