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Rowntree House, York

This exciting project was a sympathetic renovation, turning what was a dilapidated building into 8 luxury apartments. 

The Brief

This grade II listed building was the birthplace of Joseph Rowntree and in 1857 George Cadbury worked there as an apprentice where he learned his prowess as a chocolatier. The project aimed to bring a touch of stylistic eclecticism by retaining original features and incorporating them into a contemporary fit-out.

The Design Concept

Modernisation of the building was desperately required and restoring the building to its former glory became a labour of love due to careful preservation of the integrity of its original features. The team at Stonehouse worked closely with members of the Rowntree Society to ensure that the renovation was always appropriate to the history.  

What We Delivered

Prior to the renovation, the building was dark, dusty and occupied only by roosting pigeons in the upper floors.

As the building is grade II listed, everything that was included at the time of the listing had to be retained, refurbished and brought back to its former glory. That included plaster coving on the two lower floors and the original wooden interior doors.

Tenants and visitors to Rowntree House can now enter via a new door in Lady Peckett’s Yard, installed to separate the development from neighbouring Pizza Hut. Occupants share an entrance, hallway and staircase that celebrates the heritage site by displaying old Rowntree related photographs as well as original artefacts uncovered during the renovation process.

Decorated throughout in a monochromatic colour scheme and using a range of geometrical patterns to accentuate detailing, the nature and class of the building is captured in a way that ensures the history is still respected. The original stone acorn newel was recovered from under the floorboards and restored to the winding staircase post, which is a standout feature that welcomes occupants and exhibits the true beauty of the architectural age from which it originates.

Each of the apartments has a unique ‘old world’ ambience that can be hard to come by with modern apartments. Bay windows let natural light in meaning the top floor especially now benefits from fantastic views across the city of York. Free standing roll-top baths, period style radiators and a neutral colour scheme encompassing soft greys is used throughout, complimented by natural wooden flooring and work surfaces that create a vintage feel.

This project was one of the most enjoyable we’ve taken on and the finished product has been extremely rewarding – in fact, all but one apartment was snapped up before the project was even completed.