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Real home: An East London property that celebrates its 19th century setting

The live-and-eat-in kitchen sits at the top of this converted Georgian school
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 28-02-2022 15:40pm


In the 1800s Grange Hall was an austere infant’s school where pupils hunched over slates in serried rows, warmed by a single fireplace. When the East London school closed in the 1930s the building slid in to dereliction serving stints as a social club, snooker hall and electrical warehouse. Now, Grange Hall has been restored and converted in to this inviting townhouse (one of nine in the development) where as developer Amit Green puts it, “We’ve designed the interior to complement the Georgian architecture. It’s neither a pastiche nor starkly modern.”

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Quick View

- Owners/residents: Developer Amit Green

- Designer: Neil Stafferton, showroom consultant/advisor at British Standard, architects Nissen Richards and interior designer Adam Bray

- Style: Contemporary

- Kitchen feature: The drama of the roof suggests an upside-down layout, with the public spaces at the top and the cosier three bedrooms below

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The most striking aspect of this three bedroom home is the top floor, where a canopy of restored beams crowns the live-in kitchen. “The drama of the roof suggested this upside-down layout, with the public space at the top and the cosier bedrooms below,” says Amit, a trained architect, who collaborated with architects Nissen Richards and interior designer Adam Bray to design the “sympathetic” space where the ceiling soars to a cathedral-like five metres high.

The architecture also influenced the choice of kitchen, by British Standard, sister brand of Plain English, known for its elegant, Georgian-influenced joinery. “The typical developer sleek German kitchen would not have fitted. We liked the classical cabinetry; the doors have a wooden frame and the drawers are dovetailed, so there’s lots of attention to detail. The lack of wall units gives the space that freestanding feel of traditional furniture,” says Amit.

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There are nods to the heritage of the setting, with units painted on site and in a British racing green. “The colour varies in the light from a blackish to deep green,” says Amit. Chunky Carrara marble worktops with generous splashbacks offset the gleaming Britannia range chosen to “echo the freestanding feel of the kitchen”, and attention to detail also stretches to the lighting. Instead of downlights, solid wall fitting cast golden pools of light. Above, uplights perch on the beams illuminating this home’s greatest asset, the architecture.

Q & A – Neil Stafferton, showroom consultant/advisor at British Standard

- How did the architecture influence the look of the kitchen?
Amit, the owner, came to us because he was looking for a kitchen that sat well with the history of the setting. The building has some incredible, hidden details that make each space individual, with original beams cutting through overhead and angular high ceilings creating a dynamic canvas to work with. To enhance this we used a double-stacking wall cupboard to draw the eye up the walls and added a cabinet to enhance the flow without adding too much weight. At the same time we kept wall cupboards minimal so that the space feels spacious, unified and calm.

- And the colour?
We take inspiration from our parent company Plain English, where colour and texture play a strong role in creating mood and interest. Our stripped back look means our cupboards come in an off white undercoat ready for the client’s top coat on site. For this project, interior designer Adam Bray, suggested complementary colours that suited the rest of the living space. We chose an oil-based paint to achieve a slightly hardier finish that we also find works well with our desired look. As the joinery is all made from scratch, we also suggested hand-painting to highlight the joinery techniques we use in the workshop.

- Can you tell us more about the cabinetry and what it is made from?
The cupboard carcasses are made of white melamine faced birch ply. The same material is also fused for the shelves, which are then lipped with solid beech. The panelled doors have a solid poplar frame work and an MDF central panel and they are hung on traditional solid brass butt hinges. Our four-sided drawers run on soft close metal runners and are made using solid beech sides and backs with a solid poplar front and beech veneered ply base. The sides and front of the cabinets are then dovetailed together in our workshop.

Credit: Alexis Hamilton (Images), Serena Fokschaner (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 252

Also read: 
Exposed beams create drama in a barn kitchen
A dream contemporary home in the middle of the woods

Tell us:
What do you like most about this kitchen in a converted Georgian school?





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