The four-storey Grade II-listed warehouse buildings were originally designed in 1897 and are situated down a side street almost directly opposite the Royal Opera House.
The buildings initially contained shops on their lower levels, with accommodation and workshops for artisans above. Later, they were adapted for use as offices before Emrys Architects was asked by property developer GMS Estates to transform them into six apartments with space for a restaurant on the ground and lower levels.
Named Broad Court, the red brick buildings had retained many original features, including arched sash windows and stone dressings on the facades, which formed the basis for the interior's sensitive renovation.
"Initially intended as a straightforward refurbishment, many notable original elements were revealed on stripping out the interiors," said the architects in a project description.
"We retained or rediscovered many interior features and kept to a limited palette of materials and colours to allow these historic elements to shine through."
Limed oak flooring, walnut joinery and bronze ironmongery were chosen to complement the internal walls, which were stripped back to reveal the original brickwork.
New glazing was introduced to modernise the existing windows, while the stonework surrounding these openings was sandblasted to reveal its true texture. The window surrounds informed the use of stone in other areas, including bathrooms.
The roof spaces of both buildings were opened up to create spaces large enough to accommodate new mezzanine floors. Original roof trusses are left exposed and become a focal point within the penthouses.
Large skylights inserted in the slanted roofs flood the interiors with natural light. The architects also added glass partitions and balustrades, allowing light to permeate different spaces.
Each of the apartments features an open-plan layout intended to offer flexibility of use for the occupants. Movable partitions between the living area and bedroom can be used to separate spaces if required.
An original staircase was refurbished with new wooden treads, and geometric tiles were introduced in the hallways to continue the period aesthetic.
Emrys Architects previously designed the offices of GMS Estates, which occupy two former Georgian townhouses and feature a faceted copper-coloured roof covering an extension inserted into a courtyard at the rear.
Photography is by Alan Williams.
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