It’s hard to believe that this dramatically different new-build is right in the heart of Glasgow’s west end, with Victorian tenements on all sides. But its designer owners have a talent for seeing things differently
For the past three years something has been stirring among the venerable Victorian and Edwardian tenements in the west end of Glasgow. Now, at last, the mystery is ready to be revealed: at the very end of a ‘blink and you’d miss it’ lane that leads through a solid terrace of four-storey flats is the remarkable new home of Neil Fullerton and Natasha Marshall, as different as it is possible to be from the surrounding buildings.
In fact, parts at least of this audacious addition are less new than they first appear, however. “The original building was here before the tenements were built,” says Natasha. “The title deeds actually date from the 1840s.”
She and Neil, with whom she runs a design studio, creating items for various interiors brands that are sold worldwide, had long known about the old building at the end of the lane. “For 13 years, we lived in a flat opposite the lane which leads into this unexpected open area. The previous occupant was an antiques restorer and there was also office space that we nearly rented out a while back. We always agreed that if it came on the market, we’d have to go for it.”
That opportunity finally arrived in April 2010. “We opened the curtains in the sitting room one morning and saw a ‘For Sale’ sign being put up – we phoned the estate agent right there and then,” laughs Natasha.
Following a chat with the planning department, outlining their intention to convert the commercial property into a home, the couple eventually submitted a bid that was accepted. All that remained to do was to transform the hotch-potch of ground-level workshops and various upper-level timber office extensions, all under an extensive concrete roof, into something they could live in. “At least it was in a really good state of repair,” says Neil. “It was immaculate inside and the roof was sound. There were no maintenance issues… at that point!”
The couple were well placed to take on such a project; they had previously collaborated with Cameron Webster Architects on the conversion of a similar 19th-century factory building in the west end, which had produced the award-winning Printworks, currently serving as head office to both companies. Both parties decided to team up again on this development.
“We learned a lot from the previous experience,” explains Neil, who project-managed the new job alongside Natasha, hopping daily from their rented flat around the corner (they had to sell their own home to raise funds for the new building) to their office. “It’s similar in that both buildings have lane access, which creates logistical challenges, but at least with this build we were able to keep a skip in the lane when we went on site. That was helpful.”
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 104-110, issue 92.