Converted Loft in the Heart of Shoreditch, East London by Chan & Eayrs.
This converted loft space in the heart of Shoreditch, east London, is an elegant three-bedroom apartment brought to life by young British architects Zoe Chan Eayrs and Merlin Eayrs of Chan & Eayrs. Measuring approximately 270 square metres internally, the space is an exemplary exercise in light, craftsmanship and tactile materials.
Occupying the entire third floor of a former shoe factory, the light-filled open space reflects its history, with simplicity and craft coming together to create an oasis from the urban jungle below. It’s heart-stoppingly good, really.
The main living space is arranged in a sweeping open-plan, flooded with light from large original windows and glazing across four aspects. Soft green plaster walls echo verdant views to the treetops and square of St Leonard’s Church. Each architectural element and detail has been designed by Chan & Eayrs specifically for the interior, from the patterned hand-made Beldi tiled flooring used to delineate the space within, to the bespoke oak joinery and hand-woven green linen shutters.
Chan & Eayrs are husband and wife duo, both trained architects, who create individually crafted homes from scratch. Eschewing the traditional role of an architect, Zoe and Merlin get personally involved in every aspect of each project, from finding the site right down to choosing individual furnishings. Their roles as investors, creatives and craftsmen of each project mean they retain complete, uncompromised creative freedom to bring their visions to life.
This unique practice allows them to ‘feel’ their spaces, an emotional process that is emblematic of their work. They camp or live in their empty sites to understand the context, light, volumes and temperature of the spaces, and travel to find objects, materials and inspiration. By consciously making just one home at a time, every project reflects the couple’s current interest in a place, their influences, interests in materials and methods of making and connecting to nature and the elements.
Read on for a little Q&A with the architects for further insight into this seriously beautiful project. And if you’ve got some spare cash, this place can be yours for a cool £3,200,000 – see more on The Modern House website.
+ What were the driving concepts behind The Beldi?
Our first intention was to make the most of the loft’s quadruple aspect and lateral volume. When we bought the space it was subdivided into many different rooms, and it was impossible to appreciate the lateral quality and multiple aspects of the loft.
So, the first thing we did was to take out all of the walls, and we lived in the empty space to understand the light volumes and temperature at all times of the day. True to its original form, we designed a home with a very open layout, delineating ‘rooms’ through shifting patterns and borders in handmade clay tiles on the floor instead of conventional walls.
We also found the views towards St Leonard’s church and the treetops surrounding it very inspiring, as they are such a beautiful contrast to the very urban landscape at street level. We loved that when you are up in the loft you almost feel like you are in a tree house. To echo and amplify the verdant views out of the windows, we developed a palette of soft greens and blues inside. Home for us is a feeling of safety and retreat and we wanted The Beldi to feel like an oasis from the urban jungle below.
+ Can you elaborate further on the colours and materials you used in The Beldi?
The patterns and borders on the floors were a key device in delineating ‘rooms’ or zones without the need for walls. The floors were crafted out of handmade Moroccan Bejmat Zellij tiles in their natural terracotta form, and also a glazed white version.
Our choice of material was inspired by our travels around Morocco and the riads we visited in Marrakech, where we got married. These tiles were then laid out in Herringbone and Basketweave patterns, and interlocking geometries found in traditional courtyard houses in Suzhou, China, where we have travelled with our young daughter, Max. Casting your eye across the floor is like reading a woven visual map of our travels and history.
We love nature and the beauty of natural pigments and colours so, like all of our other projects, The Beldi’s material palette is quite earthy and soft. To echo the verdant views outside, we used traditional lime plaster mixed with a natural green pigment on the walls, which creates a soft and tactile feeling to the space.