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A “Modern Victorian” Loft in London by Mark Lewis

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A “Modern Victorian” Loft in London by Mark Lewis

March 6, 2017

It’s the kind of project every designer dreams of: a vast, raw space—in this case, a well-located London loft stripped down to its brick and mortar—and the freedom to “do what you do best.”

What Mark Lewis does best could be defined as channeling the past and improving upon it. Here, he was asked to not only transform an empty shell into a glamorous two-bedroom apartment but to furnish it down to the pots and pans. “And to add soul,” he says.

Lewis’s client is the owner of a tech company who bought the property with an eye to creating a high-style, fully furnished rental. Lewis, in turn, took inspiration from the century-old building itself and reimagined the setup as a modern Victorian loft.

Photography by Rory Gardiner, courtesy of Mark Lewis Interior Design.

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The expansive kitchen stretches along one wall for nearly \20 feet. Lewis tells us that whenever possible, he avoids having kitchen cabinets turn a corner: &#8\2\20;If you keep the joinery simple and in a row, it doesn&#8\2\17;t have the air of a fitted kitchen.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: The expansive kitchen stretches along one wall for nearly 20 feet. Lewis tells us that whenever possible, he avoids having kitchen cabinets turn a corner: “If you keep the joinery simple and in a row, it doesn’t have the air of a fitted kitchen.”

The cabinets are made of salvaged pine roof boards, one of several key elements in Lewis’s arsenal that he’s begun offering on his site. The floor is original and was unearthed under layers of weatherproofing material. “We had to remove and clean each plank and then reassemble it all,” says Lewis. “We used motorized brush tools to remove the dirt. But I don’t sand because it strips the top layer and you can lose a lot of character.”

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis &#8\2\20;Every detail considered,&#8\2\2\1; is Lewis&#8\2\17;s motto. Against the preserved weathered brick, he introduced a double basin sink from Baileys and solid brass Tradition Mixer Faucet by Aston Matthews. The Cast Bronze Draining Rack and Cast Bronze Soap Draining Rack are from his new reproduction hardware collection.
“Every detail considered,” is Lewis’s motto. Against the preserved weathered brick, he introduced a double-basin sink from Baileys and solid brass Tradition Mixer Faucet by Aston Matthews. The Cast Bronze Draining Rack and Cast Bronze Soap Draining Rack are from his new reproduction hardware collection.
A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The salvaged pine cabinets have cast bronze Gareth Pull Handles and are topped with 40 millimeter (\2.4 inch) thick honed Carrara marble. The Fréderic Périgot for Rossignol trashcan is a Remodelista favorite—see The Last Trash Bin You&#8\2\17;ll Ever Buy (it&#8\2\17;s available in the US from ABC Carpet & Home as the Frisbee Trash Bin).
Above: The salvaged pine cabinets have cast-bronze Gareth Pull Handles and are topped with 40-millimeter (2.4-inch)-thick honed Carrara marble. The Fréderic Périgot for Rossignol trashcan is a Remodelista favorite—see The Last Trash Bin You’ll Ever Buy (it’s available in the US from ABC Carpet & Home as the Frisbee Trash Bin).
Inexpensive custom industrial lights run along the perimeter of the loft: “We didn’t want to damage the fabric of the building, so I came up with surface-mounted designs,” says Lewis. “In the kitchen, we used galvanized conduit with aged bronze wall lights that fit well in a factory environment.”

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis One of the nicest elements in the loft is the tiled pantry, which doubles as a wine cellar. There are marble finished shelves for produce and wooden shelves for dry goods.
Above: One of the nicest elements in the loft is the tiled pantry, which doubles as a wine cellar. There are marble-finished shelves for produce and wooden shelves for dry goods.

Hidden luxury: A refrigeration unit commonly used in wine cellars is tucked in a black box high on the wall just beyond the coffee shelf (where it goes through to a utility room in back), so in warm weather, the space stays cool.

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis &#8\2\20;Walking around the apartment when it was stripped out, you had this amazing sense of space and light,&#8\2\2\1; says Lewis. &#8\2\20;I didn&#8\2\17;t want to lose that, so almost all of the walls we introduced are partial and topped with glazing.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: “Walking around the apartment when it was stripped out, you had this amazing sense of space and light,” says Lewis. “I didn’t want to lose that, so almost all of the walls we introduced are partial and topped with glazing.”

The original steel beams are newly painted and finished with inserts of old wood (behind which hide some wiring). The filler-joist constructed ceiling was sand-blasted and then left as is.

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis Designer Mark Lewis sits on an antique bench in the office area outside the bedrooms. He made the sconces here using adjustable bronze knuckles and filament bulbs on dimmers: &#8\2\20;They create a halo of light around the loft.
Above: Designer Mark Lewis sits on an antique bench in the office area outside the bedrooms. He made the sconces here using adjustable bronze knuckles and filament bulbs on dimmers: “They create a halo of light around the loft.

Of the rescued floor, Lewis says: “Because it had so much traffic in its factory days, the undulations are quite dramatic: The knots are mountainous! We finished it with wax and it’s great; the amount of soul in that floor is off the charts.”

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis A floating shelf of steel and salvaged floor joists serves as a partition. Lewis further defined the living area of the loft with homey tongue and groove paneling painted a blue called Prague from Eicó, which says it offers &#8\2\20;the lowest VOC percentage of any paint in the UK market&#8\2\2\1;.
Above: A floating shelf of steel and salvaged floor joists serves as a partition. Lewis further defined the living area of the loft with homey tongue-and-groove paneling painted a blue called Prague from Eicó, which says it offers “the lowest VOC percentage of any paint in the UK market”.

Interested? Go to Remodeling 101: All You Need to Know About VOCs in Paint.

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The bedroom is a symphony of blue and white. The custom headboard is upholstered in Divina 3 893, a wool from Kvadrat, and flanked by simple built in bedside tables. The wallpaper is Sunburst Green, a wavy lined Italian inspired pattern from Robert Kime.
Above: The bedroom is a symphony of blue and white. The custom headboard is upholstered in Divina 3 893, a wool from Kvadrat, and flanked by simple built-in bedside tables. The wallpaper is Sunburst Green, a wavy lined Italian-inspired pattern from Robert Kime.

Lewis notes that he “softened” the sconces in the bedroom by adding swan necks—and he sized the pine paneling so the lights could be positioned in the middle of the seven-inch wide boards.

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis Clerestory windows allow the light to travel all over the loft. Mark designed the door frames with square edges &#8\2\20;in order to give a utilitarian feel with no need for an architrave.&#8\2\2\1; He sourced the reconditioned metal radiators from Salvage Doctor.
Above: Clerestory windows allow the light to travel all over the loft. Mark designed the door frames with square edges “in order to give a utilitarian feel with no need for an architrave.” He sourced the reconditioned metal radiators from Salvage Doctor.
A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis A walled up elevator shaft was a surprise discovery. Unearthed during construction, it was transformed into a closet with built in drawers and its original battered wood doors.
Above: A walled-up elevator shaft was a surprise discovery. Unearthed during construction, it was transformed into a closet with built-in drawers and its original battered wood doors.

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The bathroom, like the pantry, is lined in Metro White subway tile, which, Lewis says, is another detail he was able to economize on: &#8\2\20;There are a lot of subway tile options out there; these cost next to nothing and they work well.&#8\2\2\1; He uses off white grout—&#8\2\2\1;white gets dirt; gray looks too graphic.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: The bathroom, like the pantry, is lined in Metro White subway tile, which, Lewis says, is another detail he was able to economize on: “There are a lot of subway tile options out there; these cost next to nothing and they work well.” He uses off-white grout—”white gets dirt; gray looks too graphic.”
An antique mahogany-framed mirror hangs above a concrete shelf. The sink and faucets are both from Aston Matthews  (Lewis says the sink is a special order).

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The rolltop bathtub is an Astonian Epoca from Aston Matthews; made of cast iron, it&#8\2\17;s painted with Farrow & Ball Railings.
Above: The rolltop bathtub is an Astonian Epoca from Aston Matthews; made of cast iron, it’s painted with Farrow & Ball Railings.
The floor is patterned with nine-inch-square Reclaimed Quarry Tiles, which Lewis offers on his site; “they’re outdoor tiles used in factories and school courtyards.”

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis  The shower has a wood trimmed glass wall, a waterproof wood floor, and a Shower Rose from Drummonds.
Above: The shower has a wood-trimmed glass wall, a waterproof wood floor, and a Shower Rose from Drummonds.
A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The WC has an old fashioned throne toilet of the sort seen in English country houses. It&#8\2\17;s made of sapele, a mahogany like hardwood. The wallpaper is Tokai from Robert Kime.
Above: The WC has an old-fashioned throne toilet of the sort seen in English country houses. It’s made of sapele, a mahogany-like hardwood. The wallpaper is Tokai from Robert Kime.

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis Lewis continued the tongue and groove paneling, only here it&#8\2\17;s cast concrete—with wood graining.
Above: Lewis continued the tongue-and-groove paneling, only here it’s cast concrete—with wood graining.

The designer says it’s thanks to his contractor, Kevin Gale of Galower Build, that he was able to pull off flights of fancy such as this.

Before

A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The \200 square meter (approximately \2,\153 square foot) space is in a former upholstery factory on Hoxton Square in the East End, a hub for creatives.
Above: The 200-square-meter (approximately 2,153-square-foot) space is in a former upholstery factory on Hoxton Square in the East End, a hub for creatives.
A Modern Victorian Loft in London by Mark Lewis The expansive living area overlooks Hoxton Square, and the bedrooms are tucked in the back, where it&#8\2\17;s quieter. Lewis inserted a &#8\2\20;secret door&#8\2\2\1; bookshelf between the second bedroom and the master bath to take care of a fire regulation.
Above: The expansive living area overlooks Hoxton Square, and the bedrooms are tucked in the back, where it’s quieter. Lewis inserted a “secret door” bookshelf between the second bedroom and the master bath to take care of a fire regulation.

Go to A Sympathetic Renovation in Stoke Newington to tour a Victorian terrace house updated by Lewis.

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