A Stannah Microlift was 'a necessary innovation' for 11 Spitalfields, a Huguenot House which appeared as a finalist in the 2008 Grand Designs 'Best Restoration Category'. That was how Kevin McCloud, Channels 4's Grand Designs presenter, described the Stannah Microlift installed into the historic townhouse, in the Spitalfields district of London.
If you read the Telegraph you may be even more familiar with this beautifully refurbished London home, as it won the 'Best Restoration' in their 2007 Building Awards.
The Huguenot house has been meticulously restored to its former glory by Chris and Sarah Dyson. The 17th Century property had been left dilapidated and in the need of some TLC. The couple converted the large townhouse into their family home and the premises for Chris Dyson Architects. Their hard work and dedication to the project showed in its finish, which was recognised by Grand Designs.
The townhouse has been taken back to it origins as a multi-purpose building. The basement provides space for a small business. The ground floor houses a gallery with shop frontage, with the design studio at the rear of the house across the courtyard. The family home occupies the upper three floors.
The Stannah Microlift was installed in the premises to help the Dysons achieve practical family living over several floors. During the restoration, the new kitchen and dining area were relocated to the 'weaver's loft' rooftop extension. The Microlift was a must when it came to the family shopping. The lift stops on all four floors (except the basement), enabling the easy transport of goods without wearing out the stairs and the occupants of the building.
The original dumb-waiters in the grand London Homes were installed to aid service from the 'downstairs' preparation areas (kitchens) to the 'upstairs' dining area, reducing the need for guests to actually see the servants. The Microlift is delivering a similar function, although in this day and age the servant and the host are usually one and the same.
Stannah Microlifts are structure supported for easy installation with a quiet and efficient high-power motor. The finish is easy-clean and hard wearing ideal for domestic as well as commercial use.
At the heart of the East End of London, Spitalfields has long been associated with the textile industry. In the 17th century French Protestant Huguenot refugees settled here, bringing their silk weaving skills and a new prosperity to the area. Built for the master silk-weavers and mercers, the houses of Fournier Street today form one of the most important and best preserved collections of early Georgian domestic townhouses in Britain.
Project: Huguenot House
Owners: Chris and Sarah Dyson
Architect: Chris Dyson Architects (020 7247 1816)
Size: 330 sq m
Site cost: £658,000
Build cost: £500,000
Current Value: £1.8 million
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