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homify 360°: Book tower house, London

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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Book Tower House, is a peculiar title indeed, however, as we delve deeper into this London property, you will soon learn the reason behind this interesting name. Platform 5 Architects were commissioned to add an extension to this original London building, and have done so in an outstanding fashion. The brief was to introduce a contemporary and modern feel to the internal spaces, without sacrificing the existing history, and consequently, the arts and craft influence that was housed inside. Here at homify, we love seeing homeowners and architects reuse and re-purpose older or heritage homes. The challenge is far greater and more interesting to collide two different worlds together, rather than begin again from scratch. The following home was awarded in 2013 the Don't move, Improve prize, which encourages people to think within the space they already have, and not outside. Take a look at what was achieved…

A room with a view

In this first image, we are presented with the rear of the property. A rather typical scene for London, where a two storey home has access to a narrow courtyard garden. From this view, you can see the kitchen extension, which creates a wonderful juxtaposition between the indoor and outdoor spaces. That dialogue is not often found in urban life, with many apartments in high density areas barely containing a balcony. The addition of zinc framing helps us to distinguish the new features from the old on the external envelope, with the charcoal colour complementing the existing pipework and railing almost exactly.

For bookworms

As we step inside, we begin to unravel the name Book Tower House. Cascading from the ground to the top floor, is this stunning shelving unit. Not for the faint-hearted, this book shelf is for serious readers. Despite the other quirks and features of the home, this ribbon-like double height library is the heart of the house. Masterfully clad in Oak, the entire stair and shelf unit appears to blend seamlessly into one, blurring the line between where one structure begins and the other finishes.


Bathed in natural light, the nook at the top of the staircase cleverly houses a study area. Making full use of the available space, the occupants are able to complete office or study related tasks with a lovely view outside to the front, and a cascading bookshelf to the left. Inner city life encourages us to use the square metres we have to the best of our abilities, and this has definitely been evidenced here.

Dining in style

Part of the kitchen extension houses this casual dining area with air of industrial charm. The low hanging lamps, coupled with exposed brick wall are reminiscent of a refurbished warehouse. The timber rafters, which are shown off in their most raw and natural state, act as both a structural element for a skylight and clever decorative storage unit. The clash of old and new are apparent in this space, but by keeping the colour palette neutral and the ornamentation to a minimum, the eras mould wonderfully together.


Continuing on the same vein as above, the kitchen counter has too, been uniquely crafted from an industrial style material—concrete. Leaving the aggregate and polishing marks exposed, the island looks raw and freshly cut. Again, different eras and decorative styles in this home are played off against one another to great effect, as from this angle we see an ornate glass door and classic style fireplace peering in from the distance. 

A fond farewell

Before we head out the door and say goodbye, we take one final glance at this artistically decorated property. Heading away from the industrial feel of the extension, we wander back toward the original style of the home. The staircase and stark white walls give a little away, yet do not completely reveal the variance and diversity in decorating theme that take place around the corner.

To see more interesting home conversions and renovations, might we tempt you with the following ideabooks?

Victorian townhouse conversion, Islington

A modern renovation of an East London home

Do you have any experiences with renovations or conversions that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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