Even the most gracious of residences can be subject to shifting fortunes. Faced with once proud, now dilapidated interiors, the architect's best response can be simply to start afresh removing, restoring and reinstating elements that first gave the building its soul.
The remodel of this 1890s townhouse by architect Brian Connolly has followed this design approach. Over time, the five-level house had been reconfigured as one-bedroom studios, all but destroying its original beauty. Connolly was asked to restore the exterior and reconsider the interior as three apartments, retaining the look and feel of the bygone era.
"On the facade, elements such as the brickwork and railings were patched and painted, and window frames were removed and rebuilt to hold the requisite double glazing, then rehung," says Connolly. "On the inside, the extent of the restoration required the entire building to be stripped back to the masonry shell, with most floor joists removed."
To preserve the original charm, wood details such as wainscoting, door and window casings, stairs and balustrades were recovered and restored for reuse in the new interiors.
"Starting afresh made it easier to configure new kitchens and bathrooms for the three apartments, and there were no issues with uneven floors," Connolly says.