Play it Again: NW5’s Brinsmead Piano Factory is Reborn

by Kate Burt in Interior designed homes

When is a piano not a piano? When it is in the newly refurbished Brinsmead Piano Factory in London’s Kentish Town, which the very creative interior and furniture designer Ellie Weidman has just transformed into luxury apartments.

All photography by Luke Agbaimoni

When Ellie Weidman landed the job of turning this disused Victorian industrial space – once London’s largest musical factory, supplying instruments to the Royal Family – into ten high-end flats, she was determined to keep the building’s history alive. So along with nice little touches such as the piano key artwork and the salvaged piano innards propped artfully against an exposed brick wall, Weidman also designed a bespoke table with an oak veneer top and hairpin metal legs – that cleverly conceals a piano beneath a fold-down flap.

This small selection of the furnishings and accessories Weidman has used in the project illustrate perfectly her inspiring ‘mix it up’ approach. On one hand, there was a lot of junk rummaging: “The internal parts of the grand piano I found in a skip,” says Weidman. “But it is so beautiful.”

“I imagine my designs, and cannot always find what I imagine – so often design them myself.”

There’s also a coffee table made from an old factory truck which Weidman bought at the Ardingly antiques fair  “It’s so heavy!” she says, “it has big wrought iron wheels and a solid wood top.” There are antiques fairs around the country that the people who own vintage interiors shops buy their stuff from – well worth checking out for unusual bargains.

As a designer committed to incorporating as much eco into her work as possible, Weidman loves this sort of recycling. It also adds to the character of a home, she believes: “Loads of the accessories are from a mixture of antiques fairs such as Ardingly and also Sunbury Antiques markets and I love to make things feel like someone has lived there for years and collected to their heart’s content! I get a massive kick out of sourcing bits and bobs.”

And where recycling wasn’t practical, the lived-in look continues in many of Weidman’s choice of new products – such as the wonderful Piet Hein Eek ‘Scrapwood’ wallpaper, £199 a roll from Bodie & Fou, which she has used on a feature wall behind one of the beds, and Nick Fraser’s ingenious pipe coat-hanger, £125 which you can see in the hall.

Meanwhile, on the other – more luxurious – hand, there are some seriously sleek designer touches – including the Philippe Starck bathroom fittings, the Italian Scic kitchens, and bespoke furniture made in collaboration with the architect Konstantinos Chalaris, of Supernova Studio.

One of the pieces made in collaboration Konstantinos Chalariswas is the unusual illuminated bed headboard: “I imagine my designs,” explains Weidman, “and cannot always find what I imagine – so often design them myself. Kostas Chalaris is a good friend and we work together on lots of lovely projects – including the headboard. This is made from oak veneered wood with a simple lighting system integrated into it. We wanted something that would illuminate the room with elegance and give a real atmosphere and our starting point was the reflections of candlelight flickering across the room.”

She continues: “I wanted some one-off interesting pieces to make the flat feel very bespoke and as little like a ‘show flat’ as possible!”

I think she’s pulled off exactly that, and very beautifully too.

No wonder all the apartments have already sold out.

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