I have a home tour with a difference for you today, as it’s a house which I had the pleasure of mooching around in person over the weekend. I was visiting thanks to Tiffany Grant-Riley of Curate & Display and Annie Kruse of Style Juicer, who have joined forces to launch a series of design-focused gatherings known as Function + Form. Their latest event, organised in association with home renovation platform Houzz UK, took a group of bloggers and photographers around two beautiful London properties, starting with the stunning Georgian townhouse of architect Chris Dyson.
Located in the historic Spitalfields area of East London, the building was built in 1719 and was originally occupied by a Huguenot cleric, before becoming a tenement block and eventually a catering school. Chris and his family bought the property in 2005 and set about a total transformation, stripping away ugly modern additions to reveal the 18th-century facade and reconfiguring the interior.
Chris showed us around the house, and his enthusiasm for the building and its history was infectious. The ground floor is now his studio, and the first floor contains a beautiful drawing room and snug which he often opens up as a gallery space. Both are clad in elegant wooden panelling, which hides away books and the TV; there’s also a nifty built-in seating nook which can transform into an additional bed for guests. I was struck by how bright these rooms are; from the street, the tall brick terrace looks a little dark and imposing, but inside it’s flooded with light thanks to large sash windows at the front and back.
The second floor is home to the bedrooms and bathroom, while the loft space at the very top of the house – once used by Huguenot silk weavers – is now a sunny kitchen-diner with contemporary black units and banks of windows (I didn’t manage to take a photo but you can see one here). One side opens up onto a lovely little terrace planted with lemons and herbs – a peaceful sanctuary high above the city buzz.
Throughout the house, Chris has mixed contemporary furniture (sleek leather sofas, Matthew Hilton chairs) with salvaged pine flooring and antiques from nearby markets; I loved the old French grandfather clock in the hallway, and the quirky taxidermy dotted here and there. There are also little morsels of history uncovered during the restoration, including a collection of old pipes and a couple of horse’s skulls found in the cellar.
I’ll share some photos of the second property we visited later this week, but in the meantime do have a browse around Chris’ website to see more of his inspirational projects. And if you like the look of his home, you might want to check out my tour of a similarly beautiful Georgian B&B in Bath.
All photography by Abi Dare