SECRET BASEMENT OFFICE, BRISTOL
BASEMENT refurbishment to create OFFICE WITH CONCRETE DESK, BRISTOL
I had an existing relationship with the clients and they had asked me to return to fit new hardwood flooring throughout this period flat in Ashley Down, Bristol. When I removed their old floor, I discovered a concrete staircase underneath which led to an unusual underground space. We think that the building had originally been a laundry for the huge neighbouring property and, after removing some earth, we discovered a quirky brick arched space with some original cast iron equipment. At that point, the clients, who both work from home, decided it would make a fabulous office and asked me to manage the project.
We began by excavating tons of earth, all of which had to be taken up the stairs and out through the flat, and then undertook a full renovation project. Old equipment and piles of old bricks were removed to free up enough room to create a decent workable space. The whole room was made water tight and we laid a concrete floor and rendered and plastered all walls, leaving a shadow gap as part of the minimalist styling. The brick areas were all cleaned and treated. Feature lighting and sockets were installed.
The clients then commissioned me to make a concrete desk and shelving. These were made using melamine MDF, to give a polished concrete finish, and scaffold formers, which had to be extremely rigid to withstand the pressure of the wet concrete. I took advice on loading from a qualified engineer to make sure that there were no messy accidents. I worked with the clients on concrete sampling at the outset to test different pigments and cements so that they could chose their preferred texture and colour.
I then needed to create a hidden access hatch in the floor upstairs to access the basement. This was heavily engineered since it had to perform as a floor when not open. The hatch was constructed from steel and hardwood and finished in the same flooring as the rest of the upstairs room. It utilises a hydraulic piston and latch system so when the clients turn the handle that is flush with the floor, the hatch self opens to reveal the stairs to their secret office.
The clients now run two home businesses from the office which have very limited impact on their living space.