Hot Property: Buy a house on an award-winning scheme created by the neighbours of a vacant, rubbish-strewn site in north London

Melissa York
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A RIBA (award winning house)

Everyone walks past an eyesore on their way home from work, but very few people choose to do something about it. But Jake Edgley, an Islington resident who lived next to a vacant site on Godson Street, went further than that; he turned it into an award winning piece of contemporary design and moved his business in.

It helps that he’s the director of an architectural firm, Edgley Design, but the project was a joint community venture that came together in partnership with neighbours Chris Joannou from CKS Partnership and James Engel, director of Spaced Out Architects.

They bought the freehold, then spent two years submitting planning applications to Islington Council. “It was a way of working together to develop the site into something that worked for all of us,” said Edgley. “When we went to planning, instead of going in as developers, we were approaching them as a community group and I think that definitely helped us a lot.”

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They came up with six buildings that would house their businesses alongside residential houses. They took a further three and a half years to build, but now the businesses have moved in and they’re looking for residential neighbours.

It helps their search that they won a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) London Award last month. In their winning statement, the judges said “the partners have transformed Godson Street, with the project emerging from a disused and rubbish filled site into an eye-catching addition to the city.”

The three-storey, two bedroom house currently on sale is next door to Edgley Design and a short walk away from Chapel Market. The layout inside is inspired by the Georgian architecture that surrounds it, but with a modern, angular zinc exterior.

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“I don’t know if I’d describe it as an industrial look,” says Edgley. “They’re kind of cosy when you’re inside and the details are quite refined so they feel rustic. I just think it’s much more interesting than building another neat white box.”

The bedrooms are situated on the lower ground floor, with ensuite bathrooms and built-in wardrobes, while the ground floor is given over to a fluid kitchen and dining area finished with quartz resin work surfaces in neutral tones. An open steel staircase leads to a living room on the first floor with natural light flooding into the high-ceilinged space onto the wood panelling and lino floor.

And if the buyers ever feel the urge to extend, their next door neighbour have plenty of ideas.

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Godson Street is on the market for £1.295m with Fyfe McDade. Call 020 7354 4044 or visit

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