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Canal Side House

Retrouvius extensively remodelled this canal side home to meet the needs of an expanding family. The staircase was boxed in and the building was missing the sense of soaring space it so desperately asked for. A lack of storage and tricky navigation of ground floor doorways had led to a cluttered and confused hallway. The clients needed a practical home, both durable and to reflect their exuberant personalities.

Opening up and providing multiple routes with sliding doors, moving surfaces and a basement combining an informal sitting room, summer dining room and children's play area kept a flexibility to the basement and first floor levels. Widening and repositioning the lower level staircase connects the basement to the heart of the home; inviting, easily negotiated via the family kitchen-dining area and within earshot of the adults, this arrangement solved the dark a pokey Victorian arrangement. We always try and reuse materials if they fit logically into the design; original staircase timber was combined with our lab top, a bespoke sideboard to conceal the new stairs, an adapted mahogany island cabinet, drawer fronts from the National Museum of Scotland. Bathroom cupboards are panelled with heavily aged leather once used on shelves of the British Library.

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