Before & after: Public toilet to eco office

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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A public toilet in Brighton isn't the first place you would think of when deciding where to set up your office. However, to Claire Potter Design, this run down WC was full of potential. With the vision to transform the space into an eco office, kitted out with upcycled and reclaimed furnishings, the designer was able to breathe new life into a building that would most like have remained abandoned, falling further into a state of disrepair.

The interiors are inspired by contemporary industrial design and are based around the incorporation of sustainable materials, including refurbished wall surfacing dating back to the original construction, and reclaimed parquet flooring. The down to earth interiors reflect the humble setting, and the home-made, recycled look displays real care and an emotional investment in the project. This special studio space just goes to show what can be achieved with a little vision and creativity! 

A less than appealing office…

BEFORE - Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:   by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

BEFORE—Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

Here we can see the public toilet before work began to transform it into an inspired and quirky office. It could seem a little overwhelming when one considers all the work that needs to be carried out to turn it into a functional and enjoyable space, but this was a challenge that clearly wasn't going to intimidate Claire Potter Design.

Before the renovation

BEFORE - Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:   by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

BEFORE—Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

Another shot of the interiors before the renovation reveal patchy and chipped walls and dark, dingy areas. The layout certainly wasn't suited to a place of work or study: we can see that cubicles are still divided by the old interior walls. However, the original skylight is a great feature that illuminates the space—it was retained and updated to make it suitable for the new purpose of the building. 

After the renovation

Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:  Office buildings by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

The dark grey slate paint from Newlife Paints provides an understated and modern look that contrasts with the neon green fabric cable threaded across the ceiling. The reclaimed enamel shades and refurbished terazzo-style wall panelling you can see here was actually rescued from beneath two layers of tiles. 

The light wooden sliding doors conceal a kitchenette and wc—small but essential rooms which have been decorated in keeping with the eco theme. 

Sustainable design

Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:  Office buildings by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

The dark green light shades hang on a neon green fabric cable for a unique visual effect. A maze of cables runs across the ceiling, bringing a burst of colour into the office, and mimicking the industrial exposed-wire look. 

 Just a few simple design elements are brought together to create an original commercial space rich in texture and materials—all sustainable, of course. The idea behind using reclaimed and recycled furnishings is not only to create a lighter footprint for the project, but also increase the individual nature of the end result

Kooky, upcycled interiors

Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:  Office buildings by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

The skylight has been adapted to the new office space and modernised. The fresh lick of grey paint complements the painted borders around the wall panels. The design could definitely be described as eclectic, with a house plant hanging up-side-down from one of the beams!

From 1950s seating and salvaged cabinets, to old tables rescued from a local scout hut, every piece of furniture and decoration in this office is full of character and history.

Parquet flooring

Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:  Office buildings by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

The parquet flooring which brings a traditional and elegant style to the office, was sourced and refurbished locally, and relaid in a chevron pattern. This project is about the beauty of simple, neglected items, rather than glossy and commercial pieces that often lack personality and individuality. 

The kitchen

Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:  Office buildings by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

The tiles in the small but sweet kitchenette were found at a local salvage centre as a part box—exactly the amount required to tile the lower half of the wall. The stripped-back wooden shelves are the perfect place to display the second hand kitchen wares. The grey and off-white colour scheme continues in this room, creating a flow between the different areas in the studio. 

The exterior after the refurbishment

Studio Loo - a new office space from an old public wc:  Office buildings by Claire Potter Design
Claire Potter Design

Studio Loo—a new office space from an old public wc

Claire Potter Design

The outside space is equally as understated as the interior, and all of the materials used are equally as eco-conscious. The grey crates are home to a variety of herbs, flowers, and delicious fruit. A ramp leading up to the front door allows for easy access to the office, and integrated storage doubles as shop front for the studio. Three new FSC wooden windows feature at the front, letting in plenty of natural light into the studio. 

If you've enjoyed this project, why not check out the following before & afters on the homify platform:

Before & after: Belgravia roof terrace renovation

Before & after: Refurbished stone cottage

Have you been inspired by this unique project? Let us know what you think in the comment section below 
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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