Garde II townhouse restoration interior

This Grade II listed building is one of a number of large terraced houses lining both sides of the street, close to the centre of the town. As with many of these houses it had been converted to commercial usage in the twentieth century and for some forty years had functioned as a restaurant on the ground floor with living accommodation above. The conversion of the house to the restaurant had resulted in some drastic alterations to the ground floor.

In 2011 the restaurant closed down and the building put up for sale. Our clients bought the property with the intention of restoring it and converting it back to a single house.

The building had suffered many disfiguring alterations during the last forty years; internal walls, chimneys, fireplaces, windows and doors had been lost. The intention was to return No.19 to its proportions when it was last used as a single residence, removing the late twentieth century alterations that had engulfed the building; reinstating lost features where accurate and measurable evidence existed and repairing those that survived.

Most of the ground floor of the original house had been converted into a single L shaped dining room and bar area. Two chimney stacks had been removed in totality and another above roof level. The original walls had also been lined with plasterboard.

To return the ground floor to living accommodation, three timber-framed internal partition walls were reinstated in their original positions to form an entrance hall, study, sitting / dining room and kitchen.

Investigation and subsequent removal of modern plasterboard linings to the walls and ceilings revealed original panelling and plaster finishes intact or partially intact beneath.

The large modern flat roofed restaurant kitchen, the dining room extension to the North wing and the attached storage building were demolished and the areas they occupied returned to garden space.

The most dramatic change to the building was to the Street façade. Research produced nineteenth century photographs showing it before it was decorated (thought to have been undertaken in the mid twentieth century). A test area of paint stripping was undertaken using paint removing poultices and the DOFF steam cleaning system. These successfully lifted off the masonry paint without damaging the patina of the brick surface beneath or the lime mortar. Following approval from the local authority the whole of the paint was subsequently removed.

The high free standing parapet on the street elevation, leaned significantly back towards the roof. Removing the paint revealed the parapet had been re-pointed in cement, this had failed and the whole structure was unstable. After discussions with Conservation Officer it was decided the most appropriate course of action was to partially dismantle the parapet and rebuild it using the salvaged bricks and incorporating stainless steel ties from the parapet into the gable walls.  Only a few bricks were lost in the process and by placing any new ones on the back face of the parapet all of the visible new walling from the street was formed of the original bricks. All the stone copings were also salvaged. Such care was taken that the rebuilding is almost undetectable.

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