When Emma Ellson was first invited along to see a client’s latest property acquisition, she had to look past a lot of dated décor and uneven alterations. But once she realised how it would look with its original features repaired and reinstated, she began to revel in the possibilities offered by this commanding three-storey house in Glasgow’s west end.
As an interior architect, Ellson brings together the nuts and bolts of a renovation or an extension with the job of styling the interior. It’s an all-encompassing role; whereas many architects remove the hard hat once the build is signed off, Ellson’s involvement continues as she works with the homeowners to create a look that reflects their style while being sympathetic to the property.
This house was undoubtedly tired and in need of rejuvenation; its previous owners had lived there for 30 years and while it was not in a bad condition, it required updating throughout. “Previous interventions – such as a large extraction vent through the kitchen window, for example – were detracting from the character of the house,” Ellson recalls. “But apart from this, the interior remained largely intact and in a good state of repair.”
The new owners wanted the Victorian property to be fully refurbished, with all of the original features retained and preserved, while making their home fit for contemporary living. “The critical alterations to the layout were to include opening up the rear of the house so the kitchen could flow into a garden room with direct access to the garden. This is where the owners envisaged spending most of their time.”
The blond sandstone front of the B-listed townhouse boasts beautifully detailed bow windows on the ground and first floors. Cast-iron railings and a slate roof reference the building’s heritage, while the red ashlar rear of the house has a single-storey extension into the garden. Internally, the layout of the ground floor has barely changed since it was built: a grand hallway leads to a living room at the front of the house, with the kitchen to the back. Upstairs, there’s a formal drawing room and the master bedroom suite, while the top floor is given over to more bedrooms. Overhauling all of these rooms has made a huge difference to the experience of living here.
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Photography Neale Smith
Art Direction Gillian Welsh
Words Catherine Coyle