ISSUE 11  |  British Isles

House Call: A Georgian Townhouse in Edinburgh Remodeled for an Artist

March 21, 2014 1:00 PM

BY Sarah Lonsdale

When Scottish artist Alison Watt was looking for a studio space in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she could also live, she turned to local architect Helen Lucas  to help turn a floor in an A-listed Georgian townhouse into a combination painting studio and gracious flat. As Helen tells us, “It demanded a clean and minimalist approach to the detailing, to provide an uncluttered, light-filled environment that allows Alison to focus on her art.” Watt is a well known Scottish artist with an OBE–Order of the British Empire award–to her name and often works on a large scale. She now the perfect setting for that. Have a look.

Photography by Angus Bremner.

Above: Helen notes that “everything is very stripped back and plain to complement the Edinburgh Georgian details. 

Above: The former living room is now Alison Watt’s studio with suspended lighting in lieu of wall lights.

Above: Double doors lead from the studio to a grand, bow-fronted library.

Above: All of the shelving and wall storage in the library had to stand off the ceilings to allow the cornicing to remain. The bookshelves are spray painted white and the walls are painted in Farrow and Ball’s Pavillion Grey.

Above: A towering canvas storage unit in the library is detailed to sit like a piece of furniture, complementing the simple bookshelves.

Above: “The kitchen is absolutely tiny but beautiful with every bit of space put to good use,” says Lucas. The cabinets are custom built and have Corian worktops in Designer White

Above: The sink-side Corian counter. “Corian is seamless,” Helen explains, “and it can cope with brush washing and oil paint.”

Above: Tubarad radiators in the kitchen provide “a modern interpretation of chunky cast iron,” says Lucas. “The shelves were a bonus added when we found a hollow section of wall where the curved shape was formed to the bow-ended room.”

Above: A detail of the inset shelving.

Above: The newly positioned front door opens straight into the kitchen rather than a dark corridor, allowing light to flow throughout the space. For more, go to Helen Lucas Architects. Check out Helen’s own Scottish Retreat which she shares with her architect husband, Malcolm Fraser. To see one of the greatest works of art in Scotland, read about Ian Hamilton Finlay on Gardenista.