Super prime construction company London Projects has recently completed extensive renovation works on a six storey townhouse in Belgravia. We speak to the team to find out more about their work and this impressive restoration.
Founded by Nick Stuttard and Steve Howat, London Projects is a Westminster-based super prime construction company specialising in the refurbishment of prime residential properties in central London. With an extensive portfolio of completed projects, the London Projects team pride themselves on their professional and collaborative approach and have gained a reputation as specialists in their field.
The team has recently completed work on the restoration and renovation of a historic property in Belgravia – the home that Michael Heseltine lived in while planning his Tory leadership bid, which led to the toppling of Margaret Thatcher. With the extensive 72 week project now coming to a close, we spoke to London Projects to find out more about their work.
Tell us more about how London Projects began?
We established London Projects in 2005. We met whilst working for a leading luxury residential developer and decided to set up our own construction company, specialising in central London refurbishment projects in locations such as Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. We started the business on-site, sharing a laptop, and we have steadily grown over the last 14 years. We have worked on over 300 projects on since starting the company and now have 50 members of staff in our Westminster Head office and 150 tradespeople working on our sites.
How did you get into the luxury market?
During our previous roles we both spotted a gap in the market - a need for a construction company that specialises in super prime and prime property; a firm that provides impeccable service, professionalism and delivery to exacting standards. We felt we could offer a much better service than what was available at the time.
What is the most important thing to keep in mind, when restoring/refurbishing prime residential properties?
Developing strong relationships with clients and the professional teams is a critical part of what we do – we make sure that there is open communication throughout every project and encourage a highly collaborative approach at all times. We’re also particularly interested in the evolving living habits of our clients and how the owners spend their time. It’s becoming increasingly important to consider family life; as such, we work closely with the professional teams to understand how best to design the flow and use of spaces.
Favourite part of the process?
Our projects can be very lengthy, due to their complexities and scale. One of the most rewarding parts of the job is unveiling a project that has been up to three years in the making. Seeing the client’s reaction to their home once every room has been completed is a great moment.
In terms of a specific project that we have been most proud of, it would probably be our second ever project, in 2006. It was a benchmark and milestone moment for us. The value of the project was over one million pounds – so an enormous responsibility – and at the time we didn’t have an office and we had very limited resources. However, we still managed to win and deliver the project, to a very happy client.
Most challenging part?
From a practical, construction perspective, working in central London always presents challenges and each project we work on usually involves a large number of logistical problems to overcome – more so than you might face in other areas of the country, simply because most properties are in very close proximity to one another, plus our clients and their neighbours have exacting standards and high expectations. Working on sites in such a niche market, word can spread quickly, and so it is very important to keep the local community happy, as well as our own client.
Tell us more about the Chapel Street project?
This project involved the full refurbishment and renovation of a six-storey townhouse in the heart of Belgravia. Across 72 weeks, we carried out extensive structural works, extending two storeys below ground level to create an impressive leisure and spa suite, including full length pool, gym, cinema room and wine cellar. With a grand dining room and contemporary open plan kitchen, leading onto a landscaped garden at the rear, this is now a magnificent family home spanning 6,500 sqft.
Did the owners give you a brief for the project, and if so, what was it?
The client didn’t have us a specific brief for us on this project – they really relied on our expertise and past work to advise on what was possible in terms of the renovations and construction work.
How did the brief affect your design choices, and the materials used?
The interior finish and style of this property is traditional; there is a lot of wall panelling throughout the house, including in the master bathroom, which has raised and filled marble panelling.
The basement is a space for leisure but provides natural light to entice and welcome the owners and their guests to indulge. This involved extensive use of glass in order to create a lightwell in the garden and a striking bespoke glass box extension to the rear of the house, which was both practical in terms of increasing light levels and a striking design feature for the property.
Were there any unusual design elements involved in the Chapel Street project?
We excavated the basement to create a state-of-the-art leisure suite, including a pool and a spa suite, which has an experience shower, steam room and sauna. The ceiling of the pool is actually stretched black barrisol, which gives the illusion that there is no ceiling.
We added a large glass extension at the rear of the house, which extends down the lower basement level. It includes a glazed ceiling which gives an open air feel to the back of the house and includes a basement lightwell – providing natural light down into the lower core of the building.
We took great pains to ensure that the original staircase – a stone cantilever staircase with a wrought-iron upright balustrade – was maintained and refurbished. Wherever possible, we like to restore and refurbish original features on our projects. For example, we also kept the original life in the property but extended the lift shaft down to reach the basement level so that it now spans all six storeys.
What products/brands did you use for the project?
We used marble extensively across the house: the ground floor entrance hallway floor is tiled with black and brown marble, cut and laid in a pattern that gives a striking three-dimensional effect. The marble in the master bedroom particularly striking, it’s called Taj Mahal and originates in Brazil. The garden boasts a faux green wall designed and produced by Exubia and stainless-steel planters by Kinley.
What challenges/problems did you face?
We undertook a top down, bottom up construction process on this project. We had to pile and underpin the party walls, with additional piling then required to create the swimming pool. We also added a lightwell into the garden design, which again provides natural light to the basement.
Another challenge involved the framework for the glazed structure at the rear of the house. It is a very discrete and minimalist structure which maximises the light, open feel; it’s called a ‘sky frame’ and is made from powder coated aluminium. The installation of this element was complex and highly challenging. As there is no direct access to the rear of the building, installation required road closure and a crane to transport the glazed panels over the house. The main piece of glass required for the basement lightwell was approx. 8m in length!