From Victorian factory to contemporary dream home
GROHE faucets installed in professional kitchen at the Violin Factory in London
Imagine discovering a tranquil spot for a luxurious loft-style home right in the heart of London. This is what happened to Louise McDonnell and her husband, who stumbled across a crumbling Victorian violin factory in Waterloo. In this particularly built-up part of the capital with its dense jumble of houses and industrial buildings from every decade of the past three centuries they created their dream home which also serves as an exclusive event location. Highlights on the ground floor include a spacious hotel-style kitchen which opens towards the dining room. The equipment of this sophisticated kitchen would not be complete without modern GROHE water fittings and the special functions they are renowned for.
Bright and airy spaces behind tall walls
The Violin Factory is a modern interpretation of a classical factory building but it took the owners a lot of time, effort and money to make this dream come true. When Louise McDonnell stepped into the dilapidated factory for the first time, she instantly fell in love with the run-down structure which at the time bore no resemblance to a comfortable residence whatsoever. Her architectural practice, MCD Architects, spent roughly two and a half years marrying the original elements of the building with minimalist architecture and fitting it out to the highest specifications. While the industrial charm of the Violin Factory has been preserved in full, new industrial fittings continue the old industrial story – reddish brick walls are combined with wood panelling, steel reinforcements meet timber beams. The transformed interior derives its unique character from the large glass facades and skylights, which flood the space with natural light all day long. This loft-style atmosphere is further enhanced by the impressive ceiling height of more than nine metres in the reception and presentation areas.
The decor blends acrylic with glass and combines leather with fabrics. Modern design classics are juxtaposed with industrial lamps while a fireplace competes for attention against state-of-the-art consumer electronics. Rather than creating a sense of disharmony, this eclectic mix works together well and comes across as a well-balanced whole, deftly treading the fine line between “too much” and “too sober”. A sure sense of style and extensive use of warm colour tones give the entire property a homely feel.
A space for entertaining friends and guests
The whole ground floor – comprised of the winter garden, the dining room, the kitchen and the function room and private cinema – is available for private dinners, promotional events, fashion shows and concerts. Whatever the event, it can be turned into a five-star occasion in these luxurious and glamorous surroundings. The open-plan kitchen is equipped to the very highest professional standards, including high-tech GROHE water fittings. This ensures that top-flight chefs hired for exclusive events can treat their guests to the same high level of gastronomy as they would expect in the finest hotels and restaurants.
The GROHE line-up at the Violin Factory is led by GROHE Minta Touch, a unique kitchen faucet featuring a hybrid user interface. In addition to a conventional operating lever, it is equipped with a sophisticated touch-technology which allows running water simply by touching any part of the spout with the back of your hand or your lower arm. This comes in handy e.g. when your hands are messy from kneading dough or cutting raw meat. Another highlight is the GROHE Blue® water system for chilled filtered water. GROHE Blue® even offers a choice between sparkling, medium sparkling and still table water; the level of carbonation can be adjusted to each guest’s personal preference simply by turning the handle. When it comes to doing the dishes, washing vegetables and filling tall pots and vases, the K7 professional kitchen faucet is always up to the job. This highly versatile kitchen sink mixer with its professional spring spout makes light work of many chores and is much appreciated by the professional chefs hired by hosts entertaining guests at this atmospheric venue.
A luxurious dream home
The first floor houses two comfortable guest suites with windows overlooking the reception and the dining area. A spectacular glass walkway takes you to the owners’ private library from where a secret door provides access to a spiral staircase. Hand-crafted wooden stairs lead up to the top floor comprising a gym under an opening glass roof, the master bedroom, a luxury bathroom and a sauna.
The numerous and complex challenges of the redesign made for a fascinating story which featured on the TV show Grand Designs on Channel 4. However, the property’s ascent to TV stardom began much earlier. Back in 1988, in its previous incarnation as a factory, it served as a set for four episodes of the famous BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who.
Conservation, futuristic thinking and audacious architectural design – this is the formula which drove the transformation of the Violin Factory into a dream home made of bricks, glass and lots of style.