The project is the refurbishment of a London townhouse from the 1870s; it was a decade that saw Graham Bell’s first prototype telephone and Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb. There were also advances in construction with increased professionalism and new technology – with the advent of plate glass, large windows could be fabricated with fewer glazing bars. But building was still a craft and there are no straight lines in the fabric of this house.
Revealing Historic Layers
When we refurbish a 150 year old house that is barely modernized, lots of curiosities are unearthed. Peeling back the layers of old carpet, underlay and then floorboards reveals the history of the building and some of its inconsistencies. At first floor level, original timber joists appear; they are solid and very deep, more so than modern joists, while in the roof the original timbers barely support the slate tiles. You also find the odds and ends of other stories - a scrap of newspaper from the 1950s and then the glint a crisp packet unmistakably from the 1980s and alarmingly intact.
Woldon are soon to be completing the refurbishment of this tired 19th century townhouse and garden in Notting Hill as an elegant and contemporary home. Our task has been to balance the apparent gymnastics of retaining and revealing the house’s character while providing almost total modernization. Our intervention is at times extreme, with demolition and new steels, to more subtle - new finishes, ironmongery and cornices. Often our skill is knowing when and how far to intervene and knowing when to stop.