Renovation in Brighton, England

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This Edwardian house, built around the year 1900, is fundamentally sound. But as found, the interior has a terminal case of beige. Michael Dant Architect LLC was hired to update materials, finishes and equipment to bring the interior of this house into the 21st century while maintaining its historic character.

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By British standards, this home is generously sized. Ample windows and through-corridors give the home a spacious, open feeling. The entrance hall, above, gives a sense of the home’s historic features.

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The main entrance stair, above, occupies a generous, well-lit space. However, its fussy detailing and suffocating oatmeal carpet were not appealing to the new owner. Updating this staircase and extending it up to a new bedroom in the attic became one of the main program elements of this home’s renovation.

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I studied the renovation of the existing stair in three dimensions, using renderings to convey a sense of the new stair design to the owner. One of the key elements of the renovation, new wood flooring, is shown here both as flooring planks and as stair treads.

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On the first floor (second floor in the US) the existing stair terminated. In order to reach the new bedroom in the loft, a new stair was needed. My goal was to make it feel as though the new stair was a natural part of the house, like it had always been there.

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The view from the top of the stair shows both the spiraling path of the stair and the open column of space the stair wraps around. A new landing bisects the existing window, sharing its light with the new stair above and the renovated stair below.

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One of the more significant elements of my work on this project was assembling the material palette of the renovation. The owner was interested in rich, clean materials. The wood sample in the lower right corner is Dineson natural oak flooring, which will be installed throughout the house. The grey stone sample is Bianca Eclipsia, a natural quartz stone that resembles marble. It will be used for counters and bathroom floors. The remainder of samples are finishes being considered for the Bulthaup kitchen, including lacquer cabinet finish, solid oak breakfast bar and glass backsplash.

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Bathroom design was a large part of this project. With three existing bathrooms and one new one in the loft, much of the project budget will be spent in the bathrooms. Duravit Happy D.2 fixtures and Dornbracht Meta.02 faucets were chosen for their harmony with the home’s traditional features. In the drawings above, the elevation rendering (upper drawing) shows Ann Sacks glass tile in relation to the Duravit sink and the Dornbracht shower, while the floor plan in the lower drawing shows the scale and texture of the floor relative to the vertical elements.

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As a US architect working on a project in the United Kingdom, I limited my role in this project to its design. I assisted the owner in hiring a local firm, HUUK of Brighton, England, to be the architect of record. They will ensure that the project meets all relevant codes and planning regulations, and is detailed in accordance with locally practiced methods.

I created all the photographs, drawings and renderings in this post.