Going to extraordinary lengths on London project
In the heart of Knightsbridge a high-end residential project is taking shape. James Lund-Lack talks us through its extraordinarily high spec and the challenges of the pool.
James Lund-Lack of Red Square
A five-minute walk from Harrods sits the six-storey 510 sq m mock Tudor town house we’re renovating. We had already refurbished it but were invited back by the new owners to complete some minor decoration works, and the scope quickly developed.
Three years later the house has been completely stripped back, with many of the rooms reconfigured. The ground floor has been opened up into a single space which required a 6m fire curtain for the escape route between the stair well and front door.
The home automation system is elaborate: heating, cooling and audio-visual requirements are fully integrated using Crestron and Lutron controls with custom back boxes and fascia plates.
The house has a multi-room AV system with the latest flat panel TVs in principal living spaces and bedrooms, mirror-treatment TVs in bathrooms and pool room, a dedicated home cinema, discrete architectural speaker system and universal access to central Sky, Apple TV and other media sources.
Throughout the house sophisticated lighting controls are installed, along with window treatments including control of the motorised blackout blind and curtain window treatments.
Above: The Knightsbridge town house was stripped back and reconfigured with luxury finishes. Below: Marble from an Italian quarry was used for the basement pool room
Miles of Cat 6 and fibre cabling have been installed to enable the various communication requirements, such as a robust wireless network for smart phones and laptops; wired network for PCs and other fixed devices; whole house phone system providing room to room intercom; and multi-line calling features with high speed fibre-optic broadband service.
Security requests include intruder and fire alarms, video door entry with keyless entry and CCTV whole-house security systems, monitored 24/7 and centrally recorded. The house boasts a swimming pool which has been retiled and the air handling unit moved with new ducting and grills, a heat retention pool cover installed to reduce the amount of power consumed and AHU workload along with a UV unit to cut the chlorine requirement by 50%.
The wall finishes are a mix of made-to-measure bronze mirrors and sculptural Armourcoat wall panels, and for a seamless finish an invisible hanging system has been used from US-based Monarch Fabrication – it took a lot of research to find this solution. With a 2mm tolerance for fitting the wall finishes, and a lengthy wait to have the delivery released from customs, it’s not been the most straightforward process, but we’re very happy with the result.
Tying in with the pool room is a marble floor covering which runs from the front to the back of the basement, connecting all the rooms and finishing in and around the pool room.
The marble was sourced from an Italian quarry, with specific slabs reserved. A textured finish was applied for grip, with extra composite reinforcing applied to strengthen the water jet-cut slots bridging the drainage channel below.
All veining had to run in one direction, which means over 50% of the tiles are individual. We allowed for wastage by keeping a reserve of the raw materials at the quarry, ready for production should a spare be needed; needless to say, this contingency was not called upon and the end product is stunning.
James Lund-Lack MCIOB is general manager of Red Square