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From Brutalist to Beautiful: Pricegore’s London Townhouse Renovation

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

Johan Dehlin

London-based firm Pricegore has breathed new life into a townhouse located in the vibrant Chelsea district. With a nod to the building’s Victorian roots, the studio skillfully transformed the 1960s brutalist structure into a modern and stylish family home. By carefully stripping away the unnecessary elements and incorporating thoughtful upgrades, Pricegore has successfully maximized the spatial potential of this architectural gem.

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

The clients, who had long admired the block from the 1960s, became the second owners of the house in 2020. Recognizing the need for a major renovation, they entrusted Pricegore with the task of reworking and reconfiguring the five-bedroom home into a more spacious and contemporary three-bedroom layout, better suited for their family’s needs.

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

Pricegore‘s investigation into the history of the neighboring property revealed a fascinating discovery. It was found that the current block had actually replaced a row of Victorian houses, which had been completely transformed. This revelation presented an exciting opportunity to delve deeper into the site’s past and uncover its split-level character. By excavating 1.4 meters, the architects were able to reintroduce a sense of grandeur and spaciousness to the modernist structure.

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

One of the key advantages of the building’s deep foundations was that costly underpinning was not required. This allowed for the creation of a remarkable 3.6-meter-high living space that embraced the existing building’s brutalist aesthetic. Exposed concrete retaining walls, sills, and kitchen worktops became prominent features, adding to the overall character of the interior. With its subterranean charm and close connection to the beautifully landscaped garden, the space also evoked the spirit of mid-century modernist homes in Brazil.

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

Moving to the first floor, the architects seized the potential of the formal living room. They installed floor-to-ceiling glazing that could be effortlessly slid back, transforming the room into a loggia-like space. The addition of tall plants and grasses on the roof of the ground floor extension created a green threshold, offering both privacy and a serene atmosphere. Furthermore, a sliding partition allowed the living room to seamlessly transition into a small film room or even a guest bedroom, providing versatility and functionality to the space.

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

A pair of matching bedrooms and a bathroom sit on the second floor, whilst an atelier-like master suite occupies the top floor. All rooms enjoy canopy views of the surrounding trees – Gleditsia, Robinia, and Horse Chestnut – often through windows subtly altered in proportion by dividing columns or lowered sills. New aluminium windows were selected for their similarly slender profiles to the pre-existing 1960s frames.

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

The clients were briefed on the use of raw materials to create a visually light interior suited to the display of their art collection. Pricegore responded with unpainted lime-rendered walls for a natural off-white finish. The clay-pot ribbed concrete slab soffits of the existing building have been revealed and lime-washed,  whilst existing concrete beams have been exposed and sand-blasted. Reclaimed timber boards ground the house’s upper floors, whilst richly stained joinery runs throughout the interior. Bathrooms feature tadelakt walls and microcement floors.

Chelsea Brut, London, UK / Pricegore

The garden, spread over three levels including the roof of the ground floor extension is the work of landscape designer, FFLO, and includes a water feature designed to soften the traffic noise of the surrounding city.