Step inside this industrial-chic London apartment in a converted shoe factory

This savvy designer paired iconic designer furniture with high-street finds to create a cool yet comfortable home
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  • For this architect, home had been a succession of characterless modern rented flats until she finally bought her ideal apartment. ‘I’d been living in Hong Kong for 10 years and then I moved to London,’ she says. ‘As I got to know London, I remembered how much I’d missed the architecture of older buildings, which I’d appreciated when I studied in Paris.’

    After being immersed in Hong Kong’s hectic lifestyle for so long, the homeowner craved living somewhere quiet, but also within easy reach of bars and restaurants. ‘I really liked the vibrancy of Brick Lane in the East End, the mix of cultures and the artistic feel,’ she says. ‘When I found my flat in an old, converted shoe warehouse on a quiet street I fell in love with the high ceilings, brick walls and original steel-framed windows.’

    ‘I worked with the architecture of the flat but didn’t focus entirely on the industrial aesthetic because too much of these materials can feel cold. Instead, I picked out touches of black metal and oak in every room but mixed in soft leather, a thick wool rug, and cushions,’ she says.

    ‘It’s lovely to finally have my own home and live somewhere with life and history,’ she says.

    Living area

    contemorary industrial chic living area

    Image credit: James French

    In the neutral living room idea a leather sofa provides a vintage look, whilst the square rug zones the space. The homeowner appreciates good design, from all eras. Buying iconic pieces second-hand or new from stores like The Conran Shop, and carefully selecting from the high street.

    Throughout the flat, colour is discreet – flashes of green in the vintage factory pendants, a soft pink velvet chair, warm blue bedroom storage – and materials authentic in the exposed brick walls, steel-framed windows and worn wood floor. 

    Dining area

    dining area with green factory style pendants and wood and black colour contrast furniture

    Image credit: James French

    ‘I didn’t want an aggressive colour scheme’ says the homeowner. ‘Perhaps that’s a reaction to living in “neon” Hong Kong for so many years.’ 

    ‘I worked with the architecture of the flat but didn’t focus entirely on the industrial aesthetic because too much of these materials can feel cold. Instead, I picked out touches of black metal and oak in every room but mixed in soft leather, a thick wool rug, and cushions.’

    Kitchen

    compact kitchen with mint green fridge and grey and white units

    Image credit: James French

    White units were chosen to bounce light around the one-window room. ‘Choosing budget wall units gave me a new kitchen for quite a low price,’ says the homeowner. A great budget kitchen idea to keep costs low.

    Another clever change was adding the steel-framed glazed partition to zone the kitchen. ‘I like to cook but the separation means we don’t see the mess afterwards,’ says the homeowner. ‘We use this concept a lot in French apartments. The low wall hides the worktops and high glazing keeps the space feeling open,’ she says.

    Master bedroom

    bedroom with buttoned upholstered headboard

    Image credit: James French

    Relaxed textiles contrast well with the brick wall. ‘The dark tone of the walnut bedside has a feminine elegance,’ says the homeowner. ‘The framed photo of Hong Kong above the upholstered headboard reminds me of my time living there.’

    ‘I created a walk-through storage area at the entrance of my bedroom, which acts like a buffer to give the sleeping area privacy. Painted dark blue, there’s a sense of coming into a cosy space and then entering the brightness of the bedroom, the contrast is really nice.’

    Guest bedroom

    guest bedroom with sage green walls

    Image credit: James French

    Soft green walls temper the industrial feel in this serene bedroom space, which doubles up as a contemplative home office idea.

    Bathroom

    bathroom with mono tiled geo floor

    Image credit:  James French

    In the bathroom the homeowner kept the fittings, added a vibrant floor and clad the bath panel idea with a textured wood-effect design.

    Speaking generally of the property she says, ‘Good room proportions meant I could design storage without impacting the space.’

    Feature by Jane Crittenden, styling by Marisha Taylor.

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