First light: for their debut project, a duo revamp a Belgravia townhouse
Business finance specialist Lawrence Salem and project manager Gabriel Chipperfield had been looking for some time for the perfect project to kickstart their joint property venture when they came across a Grade II-listed house on Eccleston Street in Belgravia, London.
‘It was a mess, so the project was primarily about straightening everything out, restoring the original 1850s building, as well as adding several modern extensions to the top, bottom, and back of the house,’ recalls Chipperfield, who developed and designed the house, with Salem, ‘under the watchful eye’ of his father, David Chipperfield.
The newly renovated and extended 1850 building includes a garden room and terrace. Photography: Simon Menges
The pair focused on opening up the old house, adding a new basement, rear facade and steelwork ‘to frame everything and support the new top floor and those marble bathtubs’ – and the results prove that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. The clean, white interiors, featuring Carrara marble, restored original timber flooring and Pietra Serena limestone, feel warm yet modern, thanks to the incorporation of leather elements and custom-designed ironmongery and joinery. Lighting was provided by Milan-based firm Viabizzuno.
The property spans 3,900 sq ft and six levels that include four bedrooms, a reception room, screening room, garden room and terrace. An 800 sq ft kitchen and dining area sits in the extension’s lower level, amply lit by lightwells, and the views through the different levels, skylights and double height spaces, coupled with the crisp interiors, give the house its particularly airy feel.
A stairwell in the Eccleston Street property. Photography: Simon Menges
With Eccleston Street complete and awaiting a new owner, the team is focusing on its next steps. ‘This is the first in a series of projects,’ says Chipperfield. ‘We’re honing our skills. We still need our big idea, but there are a lot of basic things to get good at; we do our own contracting, which helps save time and money without compromising on quality, but it’s a lot more work. As we become more experienced, we’ll up the ante. I’d like to do a small hotel but I haven’t told Lawrence yet.’
As originally featured in the March 2016 issue of Wallpaper* (W*204)