Location: Surbiton
Date: 2023

Situated on a high street in Surbiton was a building that had gone unused for several years. Originally a bank-turned-office building, the property’s new owner contacted us to complete a commercial renovation that had been in the pipeline for around 3 years.

Heronlake came highly recommended for this project by a past client of ours, who we’d also worked with on a commercial high street project.

The goal this time was to turn the historical building into five apartments that could be rented out. Since the owner came to us with some outdated plans, the first step involved bringing everything up to speed — from new designs to making sure the plans met new building regulations.

Building value into every stage

During the planning phase, we uncovered some potential opportunities to deliver extra value to our client. One design adaptation, for example, let us add an extra bedroom and bathroom to the top-floor apartment, which could then be rented out at a premium.

Together with the client, we weighed up the best ways to heat the apartments, scoping out things like running costs and green credentials. We eventually settled on an excellent electric heating system. Choosing not to bring gas into the building makes the flats more attractive to tenants and is cleaner for the environment.

While Heronlake took care of everything from electrics to plumbing and floor finishes, we also worked closely with the kitchen supplier and window company, going above and beyond to keep processes smooth and streamlined.

Meeting strict commercial regulations

Commercial renovations come with their own set of rules and regs. High footfall outside the building called for scaffolding, sheeting and pavement licenses, and we had to adhere to health and safety and fire regulations.

The staircase design in particular proved challenging. Our team worked closely with the building control officer to bring the proposed layout to life without breaking any rules.

Stand-out features: Holding onto the building’s history

The client wanted to honour the building’s history, which meant keeping many of its striking original features. Externally, a stonemason gave the facade an overhaul, putting the stonework through a specialist clean and repoint.

Inside, we built all apartments to a similar specification, adhering to a neutral palette and simple design to appeal to a wide range of tenants. The communal hallway still had original floor tilings, which added character to the building. We chose to keep the tiles and freshen them up, ready for future renters.