McLaren Excell is converting the warehouse into a craftsmanship-focused Camden workshop

McLaren Excell is converting the warehouse into a craftsmanship-focused Camden workshop

Architecture studio McLaren Excell has transformed an industrial building in north London into a home that includes spaces dedicated to arts and crafts activities.

The project, called Camden Workshop, involved a 600-square-metre expansion of the former factory, which was once the sculpting artist’s home and studio.

Extended rear fascia of the Camden workshop designed by McLaren Excell
McLaren Excel has converted an industrial building in London into a home

The McLaren Excel scheme involves converting the ground floor into hobby rooms, used for a range of activities including woodworking, weaving, photography, candle making, brewing and brewing.

Meanwhile, the upper floor contains family living spaces, including a spacious kitchen, dining room, separate lounge and four double bedrooms.

Ground floor of the London home of McLaren Excel
A back extension has been added

In order to create these spaces, the building was substantially reconfigured. Behind the original facade, a rear extension allowed the architects to unify the previously disparate floor plan.

“The modest former warehouse exterior of this property reveals nothing about what lies beyond the front door, and there is something exciting about that,” said Rob Excel, co-founder of the studio.

Create spaces inside McLaren Excel's Camden workshop
The ground floor contains hobby rooms

Camden Workshop is home to a family that includes a member with special needs, so accessibility was a key aspect of the design.

McLaren Excel said customers were “inspired by the therapeutic properties of craftsmanship and making things by hand”, which prompted them to include hobby rooms in their brief.

The garage in the London home of McLaren Excel
The Volcano Room is designed to provide a multi-sensory experience

Featuring 3.2 meter high ceilings and 4 meter wide glass doors, this highly flexible 200 square meter area includes seating areas, workshop space and kitchen facilities.

The ground floor also contains a space dubbed the “Volcano Room,” a space where light, sound and tactile surfaces provide a multi-sensory experience.

“Creating a home but also a multifunctional space in the highest sense was a challenge,” said Excel.

“But as a designer of buildings and interiors with longevity and integrity as guiding principles, it is fascinating to think about what these craft-oriented spaces can produce and inspire those who use them.”

Steel staircase
There is a hot-rolled steel staircase

A hot-rolled steel staircase leads to the first floor, although there is also a lift.

On this level, the materials chosen lend a more homely feel to the industrial aesthetic. Douglas fir panels line some of the walls and ceilings, while the original brickwork has been exposed and painted.

Travertine kitchen island
There is a limestone island in the kitchen

The large family kitchen features a limestone island that appears as a solid block, while wood cabinetry extends to a built-in bench seating that frames the room’s outline.

Built-in cabinets provide a sense of depth to the walls and match custom storage cabinets in the bedrooms.

First floor entrance to the Camden workshop designed by McLaren Excell
Douglas fir boards line some of the walls and ceilings on the upper floor

“This is a true representation of the journey and experience we have with the client,” Excel said.

“By incorporating natural materials, recycling guidelines and always keeping in mind materiality and sustainability – something we are passionate about as a studio – it was great to be able to offer a large number of materials in their raw state.”

Bedroom with large picture window
The bedrooms are designed to give a more homely feel

The Camden workshop is completed with a landscaped garden featuring wild plantings and beehives.

It has been longlisted for the Dezeen Awards 2023 in the Home Renovation category.

It is the latest in a series of residential projects completed by the London-based studio founded in 2010, with other projects including the corner Kew House extension and the conversion of the former Merrydown School.

Photography by Rory Gardiner.

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