14 Oct 2022

Practically Perfect Georgian Townhouse Renovation

After homeowners Ben and Hannah acquired this Georgian townhouse in Windsor, they set about renovating it into their dream home. The couple's vision for the house was heavily focused on creating a functional yet sociable space to enjoy. Here, Pure Theatre, the audio-visual specialist, talks us through the project.

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"We had a clear idea of the kind of house we wanted to live in,” explains Ben. “We couldn’t find something that ticked all the right boxes, so it became clear that we’d need to carry out a lot of our own work to make the perfect match.

“Hannah works at Eton College. The property, which was built in 1894, is very close to the school and in a great location on the high street. It reminded me of home and looked like it had lots of potential. It’s a perfect size to start and grow a family, and I’m hopeful that we won’t have to move for a long time.”

Wanting to make the most of every inch, Ben and Hannah enlisted the help of Krantz Designs, an expert in producing bespoke furniture, to transform several rooms throughout the property into practical yet beautiful spaces.

“A Victorian townhouse in a Queen Anne style, most of the inspiration comes from my family home,” says Ben. “I grew up in a beautiful home.”

The heart of every home is the kitchen. The design and concept of this room started with the architecture. Tapered walls and ceiling beams with original features made the kitchen layout a little more complex than usual. The design thoughtfully and skilfully incorporated the existing features to make a kitchen that is both beautiful and functional. In order to incorporate a large central island as well as a dining table to seat six plus people, they created a peninsular island with a bespoke banquette seating area on the reverse with enhanced views through the large bay window.

Ben was also set on incorporating a cinema room into the house. The challenge here was ensuring that it would match the traditional feel of the rest of the home. By incorporating traditional features and designs, it is made to feel cohesive with the rest of the property. The room looks fantastic and also functions perfectly. In contrast to the light and airy feel throughout the rest of the property, the dark hues create a vibe that almost exaggerates cosiness; you just want to sink yourself into the sofa and never leave.

The team at Krantz Designs worked closely with the team at Pure Theatre to determine the best products to create a truly immersive experience whilst also achieving beautiful aesthetics. The two suppliers worked closely together to ensure that the traditional design didn’t compromise the viewing experience. To ensure the projector did not take away from the luxurious feel of the room, a Pure Theatre projector lift was installed. This allows the projector to recess into the ceiling when not in use, and reappear at the touch of a button. Powder coated in black and then painted over in the same colour as the walls, it is almost invisible when retracted.

Ben’s dream of a big screen is fulfilled thanks to a 100” Fixed Frame Projector Screen cleverly recessed into a custom-built media wall creating a real focal point. Symmetrical alcove shelving on either side of the screen draws your eye to this central point. The cabinetry houses three in-wall DALI Phantom S-180 speakers and the AV equipment, so everything is hidden away. Bespoke antique brass grill features were used, which match the cabinet hardware, to hide the low-level speakers.

“We love the walnut used for the bookshelves and TV cabinet, and the marble tiles used in the bathrooms and hallway (Fired Earth) are also amazing.”

The couple knew that getting the sound right was pivotal to recreating that theatre experience at home. This room benefits from the aforementioned in-wall speakers teamed with two subwoofers and four in-ceiling speakers fitted into the coffered ceiling creating a Dolby Atmos-enabled 5.2.2 surround system with phenomenal sound output.

Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry can also be found in the library of this home. Designed to maximise shelving space for the couple’s extensive literary collection, a statement, free-standing desk takes centre stage. Features such as the antique brass cabinet hardware and the tongue and groove detailing in the back panels continue through from the main kitchen. This, along with the ornate cornice and wall panelling, really complement the traditional feel of the property. With deep, low-level drawers for additional storage and even bespoke internals for filing, this is definitely the work-from-home set-up we all need.

To top off this incredible renovation is a peaceful, serene and relaxed dressing room personalised completely to Hannah’s requirements. The dressing table knee hole drawer cleverly houses the hairdryer, and pull-out racks on either side are designed for standing perfumes and make-up. The use of mirror on the doors give the room a bright, spacious feel and the unique glazing bars on the door style reflect the existing period windows of the property. Continuing into the master bedroom, bespoke fitted wardrobes transform the corners of the room into extra storage for clothing and shoes.

“The work is still ongoing,” comments Ben, “but we’re hoping we’ll finish it within the next couple of weeks. We lived in the property whilst it was being renovated. We just used different rooms whilst others were being worked on.

“On reflection, it would have been best to complete the renovations before moving into the property. At times, it’s been very stressful having people in the house. It causes a lot of disruption and noise. Moving furniture around the house and not being able to use certain rooms for long periods of time isn’t ideal. I think thoughtful scheduling is critical. It creates a lot of hassle if jobs aren’t done in the correct order.

“Altogether, the project has taken just under a year. We started in October 2021 and are just about finished now (September 2022 at the time of Q&A). I thought it would take much less time. I was hoping we would complete work by June.

“It’s our first home, and I was pretty naive about how much things would cost. There were lots of things that I didn’t account for. Electrics, plumbing and decorating costs were all more than I expected. There were also lots of small items that added up. Floors needed levelling to enable tiling etc., and walls needed re-plastering to allow for coving installation.”

There were also some hurdles associated with the project, as Ben explains: "There were challenges related to an old house – wonky walls and uneven floors. The property used to be commercial, and the initial renovations weren’t particularly well thought out. Many changes were required to make it more suitable to live in. The property is also located above an office, so this created issues with neighbours. Work had to be done at certain times of day etc. It’s been hard work, but the results are worth the effort."

When asked if the finished space is everything he hoped it would be, Ben replied: “It’s everything and more. It’s a fantastic place to live, and every time we come back home, we’re amazed by how great it looks.

“I love how everything now has a place, and the different rooms all look like they belong together. Each room is beautiful and functional. The design is consistent across all the rooms, but each also has its own individual character.

“Our favourite room is definitely the cinema room. We spend more time there than we ever thought we would. It’s replaced the living room – it’s perfect for relaxing, comfy and great when we have friends come over.”

When asked what tips he has for others, Ben advised: “Have a project manager. It’s nice to have a buffer between yourself and the tradespeople. You have to be available almost constantly, and it quickly turns into a full-time role. Don’t expect to stay within budget."

PRODUCTS USED:
•  Pure Theatre CR50 Projector Lift
•  Pure Theatre 100” Fixed Frame Projector Screen
•  Arcam AVR-30 16 Channel AV Receiver
•  DALI PHANTOM S-180 In-Wall Speaker
•  DALI PHANTOM H-120 In-Ceiling Speaker
•  REL T9x Subwoofer
•  Sony VPL-VW590ES
•  Home Cinema Projector

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