We visit Emrys Architects' masterful transformation of a canalside London house

Canal House is a transformed historical waterside property in London, designed by Emrys Architects.
(Image credit: Alan Williams)

Most of London's handsome townhouses have gone through many different lives; often originally built as majestic, several-storeys high single family houses, but then subdivided into apartments, shops and offices as times and need changed in the ever-evolving British capital. This also pretty much sums up the story of a canalside property that Emrys Architects recently completely transformed from a neglected and fragmented old building, including retail and flats, into two generous and contemporary homes. 

Canal House, as its name suggests, sits right on one of London's key waterways, Regents Canal, in north London. When new owners acquired three floors of a four-storey town house with a view to renovate, and their upstairs neighbours swiftly followed suit, appointing the same architects, Emrys found themselves in the fortunate position of having to redesign the whole structure; which helped them to address both structural and design issues in a consistent and holistic way. 

The project involved the reimagining of an existing four storey townhouse on Regents Canal

(Image credit: Alan Williams)

Canal House is a transformed historical waterside property in London, designed by Emrys Architects.

A key priority was allowing plenty of light into the building, and especially the fairly dark basement. This was achieved by placing large glazed openings in key areas – a strip window that overlooks the lower ground floor, a shopfront style facade towards the street, and glass doors that open onto balconies towards the canal. Thecarefully chosen opacity and placement of the glass ensured the owners' privacy was not compromised.

Inside, working with often narrow and awkward spaces, the architects used intelligent spatial arrangement and divisions such as sliding partitions to make the most of the available room. Now, the design reads as a coherent whole, contemporary and warm, featuring bespoke joinery and exposed ceilings. An open-plan living space on the first floor looks out towards the water, celebrating the house's picturesque positioning and characteristic London views

Canal house emrys architects exterior

The studio added a large shopfront style window on the ground level to maximise light.

(Image credit: Alan Williams)

Canal house emrys architects interior

The architects updated and unified the different spaces that were poorly maintained and subdivided by past owners.

(Image credit: Alan Williams)

Canal house emrys architects london

The architects had to work with awkward spaces and lack of natural light but they succesfully updated the structure.

(Image credit: Alan Williams)

Canal house emrys architects kitchen

The property comprises of two apartments, one of the three lower levels and one at the top; all of which were redesigned by Emrys.

(Image credit: Alan Williams)

Canal house emrys architects living space

Full sized windows were added towards the canal to allow plenty of sunlight in, while maintaining the owners' privacy.

(Image credit: Alan Williams)

Canal house emrys architects bathroom

The architects went for a modern, and at places, sculptural design.

(Image credit: Alan Williams)

INFORMATION

For more information visit the website of Emrys Architects

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).