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The refurbishment of a home for a design-forward couple rested on an exercise in activation. Located in Hackney, East London, the maisonette's mid-century DNA brought light into the garden-facing living spaces and worked to a compact plan.

The project's central challenge was to open up the apartment's tight organisation, as well as to highlight the virtues of its original features, all while resisting blatant reproduction. Instead, the redesign focuses on material nuance, fine craftsmanship, and considered formal details.

The driving approach for Brownlow Road has been to strengthen existing visual connections and circulation; release truncated space; and introduce new, congruous moments of design intrigue.

It began with a mapping process, understanding the way the owners wanted to use the space and identifying limiting factors within its existing layout.  A key move became the freeing up of the previously partitioned kitchen, connecting it with the primary area of activity: the front living room that leads onto the garden. This meant removing a ground floor structural wall to create an open plan kitchen, dining and living area.

A new reeded glass and timber partition created a hybrid threshold, whilst providing a storage and maintaining visual connection between the two spaces. 

An existing enclave within the living area was also converted into a seating nook, defined by accents of walnut panelling with natural clay-work plaster. The nook is bordered by a finely crafted 'porthole' opening, lending character to the wider circulation and curating views towards the outdoors.

Brownlow Road, E8 

The project's main intention was to create a backdrop for its

homeowners' tastes and personality. As such, the design looks to conserve the fundamental, mid-century character of the space, emphasising a framing of existing activity zones as opposed to radical reconfiguration. This served a dual purpose of creating soft divisions, whilst introducing pockets of relaxation – safeguarding the home's original flow of space, timbre of materials, and quality of detail.


Unlike multi-unit housing, flats and maisonettes do not enjoy permitted development rights, meaning they require planning permission and a license to alter for significant changes to be made internally.


Ha-Ey's structural design offering and setup as a design-structure-delivery outfit enables smooth navigation through this council process, where we ensure to maintain sensitivity to the character of the neighbouring properties and wider area, whilst achieving the solutions required by our clients. 


With Brownlow Road, this expertise meant we were able to save time communicating with contractors and use it to refine design details. Subsequently, there were no gaps in communication and, ergo, no shortfalls in quality, finesse or function.

Brownlow Road crystallises the original design intentions of a Modernist home, 

extending its innate stylistic flair into a space for contemporary living.

Ha-Ey Services

Architectural Design Services Stages 1 – 6
Concept and Design Development
License to Alter Submission
Technical Detailing
Cost Consultancy
Tender Documentation
Interior Design
On-Site Management

Structural Design Services Stages 1 – 6
Steelwork, Masonry and Timber Design
Temporary Works Advice and Review
Connection Design and Detailing
Site Progress and Monitoring

Project details

Location: Hackney, London, UK

Client: Private Client

Architecture: Ha-Ey

Structural Design: Ha-Ey

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