That’s east coast of America meets west end of Glasgow – the results of a vibrant, harmonious collision that brings out the best of both worlds
When you split your life between Glasgow and Los Angeles, what do you want from your Scottish property? Should it be a wee but’n’ben, a couthy retreat far away from the sun-drenched swimming pools of the Hollywood hills? Or perhaps something up a close: a room and kitchen with a bed recess that’s a reminder that families used to sleep in spaces smaller than a Mulholland Drive shoe cupboard?
For one Glasgow entrepreneur who splits his life between these two cities, the answer was more prosaic. He wanted a spacious, light-filled, three-bedroom property in the city’s west end, with plenty of room for himself and two grown-up daughters, with a parking space (although this is sadly not for a tail-finned convertible) and a price tag shorter than his mobile phone number, if at all possible.
Then, when he saw an apartment in the Art Deco Kelvin Court building on Great Western Road, he had a brainwave. He might be in central Scotland but why not stick with the American theme and create himself a New York-style loft?
The property, all 1,500 sq ft of it, had the dimensions to make this possible. Its new owner inherited a living room, dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, a couple of bathrooms and lots of hallways and corners. A modernisation in the 1970s had left it with two brick fireplaces and a brick-built bar. On the plus side, there were amazing views of the Campsies, which is more than you get in TriBeCa.
Gutting and then repurposing the shell into three bedrooms, three bathrooms and an open-plan kitchen-living space was not, says the owner, as fraught as it sounds. “I had a structural engineer look at the project but, as none of the partitions were full-height or tied into the beams above, there were no structural implications in the remodel.”
In fact, removing the many unwanted bricks – from the walls as well as the 1970s signature design treats – was the biggest challenge of the project. “Demolition took about a week and we had to have a fresh skip delivered every day,” recalls the owner, who project-managed the build himself. “The elevators are small and we’re up high!” It was negotiating with the neighbours, rather than planning or utilities, that were the trickiest times.
After years in business in Glasgow, the owner had both the diplomatic skills to deal with the people on the floor below and the contacts to make sure that his new home came together exactly the way he wanted it. The architect, a long-time friend now living in Spain, was persuaded out of retirement to produce the blueprints. The heavy lifting was done by a firm of shopfitters owned by another friend – at mates’ rates, naturally. Within three months, the shell had been replumbed, rewired and then reshaped before the owner’s eyes.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 146-153, issue 97.
Words Anna Burnside
Photography Neale Smith