Salvaged pieces in a remodelled home - Grand Designs Magazine
Renovation project featuring salvaged materials

Salvage is the star of this London renovation

Reclaimed Crittall doors and a second-hand kitchen transformed a Victorian terrace

By Alice Westgate |

When remodelling period properties, it can be difficult to find the balance between modernising and retaining the home’s original charm. But for vintage collectors Lisa and Ian Quest, extending and remodelling their north London home presented an opportunity to inject even more character. Architect Simon Graham of Yard Architects took on the challenge of using salvaged pieces to striking effect during the whole-house renovation project.

Tell us about the project

Lisa, 37, and Ian, 48, wanted to redesign their four-storey Victorian house in a conservation area of Islington. Yard Architects added a basement and a single-storey rear extension, and rebuilt a two-storey outrigger. The couple have a passion for vintage clothes and furniture, and wanted to include reclaimed materials in the build.

salvaged pieces in a whole-house renovation and extension

The renovation and extension took 14 months to complete and cost around £4,300 per sqm. Photo: Emanuelis Stasaitis (@emanuelis_photo)

What salvaged pieces did they want to use?

Five sets of old Crittall doors and a second-hand Poggenpohl kitchen, which came from a specialist reseller. Plus, reclaimed sanitaryware, taps, door handles, bricks, parquet flooring, light fittings, ironmongery and garden paving.

What are the benefits of using salvaged pieces?

Most renovations create lots of waste, so using second-hand pieces is far more sustainable and the vintage look adds character. It can also be cheaper, so Lisa and Ian got a high-end kitchen at a fraction of what it would cost to buy new. And there was no lengthy lead time waiting for the delivery of new doors.

salvaged crittall doors in a whole-house renovation in islington

The frames of the reclaimed Crittall doors were stripped back before being fitted. Photo: Emanuelis Stasaitis

Any drawbacks?

The planning process was a little trickier than usual because exactly what we were working with was unknown until the materials arrived on site. So the parquet flooring had to be cleaned, planed and sanded before it could be installed, and all the doors had different features and configurations, so it was something of a giant jigsaw puzzle to work out where each set should go. A sprinkler system had to be fitted to satisfy Building Control because reclaimed doors aren’t fire-rated.

Any lessons learned?

I’d advise ordering salvaged pieces as far in advance as possible to ensure that you end up with a cohesive design rather than a mix of styles. It also helps with budgeting because you’ll know exactly how much work is needed to adapt and install them.

salvaged second-hand kitchen from used kitchen company exchange

The kitchen is from second-hand supplier Kitchen Exchange. Other items were sourced from eBay and Encore Reclamation. Photo: Emanuelis Stasaitis