A Forgotten Warehouse Is Reborn Into a Light-Filled London Home
Formerly a schoolhouse property, this rundown London warehouse breathes new life as a modern two-bedroom abode after a complex revamp.
It won’t take long to realize why the dramatic conversion of the Defoe Road House was truly a labor of love. Completed as a personal project by James Davies of Paper House Project—a London–based architect and design studio—this intricate transformation was certainly no small feat.
Thanks to the level of needed refurbishments combined with restricted site access and historical considerations, innovative construction and strategic design solutions were continuously required throughout the remodel. Yet, the hard work paid off, as the remarkable property is now virtually unrecognizable. Scroll ahead for a fascinating glimpse inside.
Redevelopments in the neighborhood had left the warehouse concealed inside a courtyard with access unsuitable for construction vehicles. Thus, the team had to design a kit of parts, with each component small and light enough to be carried by two people. These various parts were fabricated off site and then brought to the courtyard to be constructed in place.
From the exterior, the building blends in seamlessly with the vernacular of the neighborhood. The original brick cladding has been restored and filled with gridded steel frame windows to draw abundant natural light inside.
On the interior, there are light-filled, two-story volumes that provide unique spaces atypical of London homes in the area. The architect succeeded in creating these rooms through a close collaboration with a design engineer. As a result, the open plan minimizes the visible interior structure while creating a cohesive, voluminous space.
Thanks to the combination of steel trusses with cable rod connections and a perimeter ring beam with concrete corner bonders, the original brick envelope is held together and to support the recycled slate roof.
Contemporary materials mix with warehouse remnants, resulting in an industrial aesthetic. The two-bedroom layout focuses on everyday living, creating open spaces quietly divided by the internal staircase. Daylight fills the interior through the new steel windows and an interior courtyard.