Victorian row house updated as lofty duplex by interior design Mark Lewis
When we first met Mark Lewis, he had recently left a career as a set and costume designer to open his interior business in North London. That was several years ago and since then we have eagerly followed his many adventures, from inventing a historic Hoxton full-fabric loft to introducing his own line of cast bronze shelf brackets, drawer handles and broom hooks. But we’ve never been invited to visit his own home – until now.
Mark lives with his partner, Abi Leland, who works in the music business, and their children, James, 10, and Olive, 5, in a three-story Victorian house in Highgate that had been converted into a trio of ‘apartments in the sixties. And if he says he never wanted to be a serial renovator, the place has undergone three upgrades since they bought the garden level almost 10 years ago. Initially, they cleared space in their one bedroom apartment by converting the bathroom into James’ bedroom (“we put a tub in our bedroom to make it work”). Along the way, they requested the addition of an extension to the side yard, and when permission was granted three years later, they added a new living and dining area to the facility. Then, in 2015, they bought the upstairs apartment and rented it out while looking for the loft that Abi was considering as her next step.
Running out of options near their children’s schools, Mark came up with the idea of carving out an elevated living space for himself by taking over their second floor. The family moved into a small rental, and over the course of eight months Mark came up with a remarkable new look and feel for their accommodation. It was a major undertaking made in an inventive and often frugal way: Mark is a master upcycler. And as with all of his work, it’s hard to tell what’s old and what’s new.
Photograph by Rory Gardiner, courtesy of Mark Lewis Interior Design.
The built-in multipurpose shelves feature a row of painted apple crates, one for each member of the family: “This is where all that nonsense coming home from school goes.”