If you’ve ever had the joy of leisurely wandering the streets of Spitalfields, you will without a doubt have found yourself on Princelet Street. A street like no other for its rich history, it looks virtually untouched and although I’ve been lucky enough to experience a shoot inside one of these locations, I still none-the-less have that strong yearning to explore further. So, we were pretty excited when our sponsors Houzz suggested that for our most recent Function+Form gathering we meet with award winning architect Chris Dyson to tour his Georgian townhouse on that very street.
Home to both his studio and a ground floor art gallery, Chris and his family have found a way to use this four storey townhouse for work and pleasure. In 2005 the family bought the property in a state far removed from its original style, a hotchpotch of mid 19th century additions, it had gone from a three window wide frontage as shown by many of the other original buildings to two. With a three hundred year history in a location made famous by the Huguenot weavers and their exquisite cloth, Chris wanted to return the house to its former glory which included some rather extreme renovations including removing the facade to reinstate the three windows width, installing pine panelling to the interiors painted in classic Farrow & Ball soft green throughout and lime washing the floorboards.
Following the renovations and on going excavations (Chris is extending downwards to create a flat for his daughter) their home now houses many finds discovered within the foundations including the skulls of two dray horses and an array of clay pipes. The living rooms also doubled up as another gallery space and the collection of carefully chosen antiques combined with more contemporary furniture gave the space a lived in, family feel.
Whilst the majority of the houses in the Spitalfield area would have included a weavers loft to make the most of the light to work during the day, Chris’s home didn’t have one as it belonged to a clergyman. In keeping with many of the houses on Princelet Street, he designed a loft kitchen space and terrace using more contemporary materials, but blending beautifully with the history of the old house.
The house was a real calm oasis away from the bustle of the streets below, filled with a warm light. We drank in the views across the rooftops (see the other weavers lofts across the road?) and felt extremely lucky to have toured such a stunning home.
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Photography © Amelia Hallsworth Photography courtesy of Houzz UK.