Britannia Row Studios on Wandsworth Bridge Road has quite a history, having played host to the great and the good of the music industry. And now you can live in them…
Owner Kate Koumi (Pink Floyd’s former studio manager, no less) has converted the space into two stunning flats that remain sympathetic to the history of the property.
The existing studio space comprised of a two storey recording studio, complete with live rooms, vocal booths, drum rooms and production suites. Now, it has been divided by a custom-built concrete staircase.
‘Although we removed the studio, we reinstated cosmetic things that are a reminder of its heritage,’ Koumi says. ‘The interior design is very much dictated by the structure. I wanted to keep the raw elements exposed, the bare bricks, metal and concrete, and soften it a little by bringing in wooden furniture and the almost driftwood-like coffee tables.’
The exposed electrics, another nod to the industrial trend, are a feature she is particularly pleased with. ‘The exposed electrics, suspended on metal trays, are totally functional. One my pet hates, living in a Victorian house, is that the moment you want to change or fix something you have to rip your house apart. This is much more practical.’
The conversion has been designed with flexibility in mind by Orchestrate Ltd, a building company based between the commons on Webb’s Road. Although together with Koumi they have created two flats, explains Managing Director Ross Malone, it was designed with the possibility of converting it into one larger home in the future in due course for Koumi and her family in mind.
In terms of the style of the build, honesty and authenticity was also important to Malone, who himself is a fan of Pink Floyd. ‘I did a music degree, so it’s very difficult not to be a fan of Pink Floyd,’ he laughs. ‘If you look on Britannia Row’s Wikipedia page, everybody’s recorded there. It’s very well- known in the industry.
The thing is, it’s become increasingly difficult or recording studios to make money,’ he admits. ‘for recording studios to make money,’ he admits. ‘It was a very sad thing to be involved with in way, because it’s a new era for a piece of real rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia – but I was pleased to do it, because then at least we could try and keep it as authentic as possible.
Koumi herself looks back fondly on the Golden Age of the studio. ‘It was an extraordinary world to be a part of,’ she says. ‘Great artists are literally given the keys to the cities they perform in and have so much freedom.
‘They were good times, but I was a very straight person within that world. I didn’t drink or smoke and that’s why I got on well. You always need someone steady and dependable to run a business, and it was quite nice not to be a casualty!’
But back to property and interior design, she’s not a fan of identikit developments, she tells me. ‘I prefer something far more eclectic that gives you a specific aura, and that aura is the reason why you might choose to live in a property,’ she says. It’s a philosophy that Malone is also on board with.
‘Industrial warehouse-style projects can end up being clichéd,’ he says. ‘But I think we’ve managed to maintain the original attitude of the building. It’s not a Franco Manca-style copy and paste – it’s authentic.’ Rock and roll…