Modern living in Georgian homes

Melissa York meets the developer who transformed dilapidated offices into £5m gems

N UMBERS 58 and 59 Myddleton Square, Islington, have lived many lives – first as opulent townhouses with quarters for staff; then a more modest existence as apartments and offices; and, finally, as a vacant, but handsome, building falling into disrepair.

Originally built in 1836, the houses occupy a prime corner on the north west of Myddleton Square in Angel, which was named after Hugh Myddleton, an engineer responsible for building the New River, an artificial waterway created so Londoners could have clean drinking water.

This new chapter in its history begins with Gal Adir and his wife Tanya, the eponymous owners of luxury developers G&T, which acquired the the houses a year ago. Gal took care of the extremely complex planning requirements that often hinder renovation projects involving listed buildings like these while Tanya designed the interiors.

The town houses have retained many of the Georgian period features that make them unique such as their original sash windows, ornate, fully-operational fireplaces, intricate cornicing, decorative cast iron railings, and red brick chimney pieces.

The cavernous basements couldn’t be altered dramatically, due to the houses’ Grade-II heritage listing, so the developers installed large, rectangular panes of glass in the walls and floors to contrast with the period brickwork. This allows light to flood into the rooms underground and transform the entire feel of the house. Looking up from the basement through the solid glass ceilings, you can see right through the core of the house.

“We wanted to break all the conceptions about Georgian houses being creaky and draughty places to live,” says Adir. “We wanted to restore the building to its original use and proportions without compromising on comfort.”

With the help of modern technology, these houses manage to surpass simple comfort and enter into the world of luxury lifestyle. The basement is not just flooded with light – it also houses a home cinema (complete with surround sound, velvet lounges and giant jars packed with sweets and popcorn), and a wine cellar that will be stocked to the rafters with bottles to suit the buyers’ taste.

There’s a spacious piano room, underfloor heating in every marbled bathroom, and iPads installed into the walls. These are detachable and they can control everything from mood lighting, heating and air-conditioning, music and CCTV for every room.

Little flourishes have been added for show to entice potential buyers. Every room has its own distinctive smell and the surfaces are smothered with inviting trinkets, sparkling champagne flutes, cupcakes. G&T also hired contemporary painter Carla Ashwood to create colourful pieces.

“We’re trying to sell a lifestyle” says Gal, “not just a house. All we need is someone to come in and visualise it and say, ‘I could live here.’”

The guide price for 58 Myddleton Square is £5.7m and 59 Myddleton Square is £4.25m. Call joint selling agents Knight Frank and Savills on 020 3551 5089 or 020 7226 1313. G&T also runs consultancy sessions to give advice on building and design. Book at gandtlondon.com.