Article featured in Oxfordshire Living Magazine, October 2023.
From a simple concept to the stunning finish, Design Storey, based in the heart of Oxford, can transform your historic property into a high-end home
The Cowshed - read more about the project here
Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds are full of historic and listed properties with interesting stories. And when it comes to writing your own story in your home, you need a design studio which specialises in this. Enter Design Storey. It’s an award-winning architecture practice that specialises in high-end residential, heritage, and lifestyle projects.
Lydia Robinson and Lawrence Grigg founded the practice in 2013, and won a host of awards for their first project together. The Miner’s Cottages won two prestigious RIBA awards, including a special award for conservation. Miner’s Cottages are two 18th century cottages located on the High Street in the Somerset village of Pensford. Formerly two cottages, they had been joined together in the 1950s to form a single residence. Lawrence and Lydia had a vision to reinstate the original configuration of the cottages and fully restore them to create two dwellings appropriate for 21st century living. And it is perhaps having worked on this – their own home – that gives their company such deep understanding from a client’s perspective.
The Miners Cottages - read more about the project here
“We are an enthusiastic and personable studio that feels able to rise to any challenge,” says Lydia. “We enjoy getting our teeth into tricky architectural issues in a variety of building types.”
Having met studying architecture, Lydia and Lawrence have a collective 25 year’s experience in delivering high quality architecture projects, from airports to high-end houses. Having moved their studio to Oxford in March, the directors are looking forward to working on more interesting properties across Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. Now a team of seven, the studio can see a project through from concept to interiors. This means you do not have to worry about finding various providers for each part of your project, it will have the seamless design of being created by one unified team. And you can expect personalised and hands-on service; both directors work with the clients on all projects.
“When we take on a project, we give it all we can,” says Lydia, clearly passionate about helping clients’ visions come to life. She says that sometimes, clients are unsure what isn’t working about their property – and that’s the magic of working with this firm. While the owner may have been attracted to the history of a home, or the plot itself, they need Design Storey to work its magic in creating concept suitable for modern living; whether that be entertaining, work or family life.
Of one recent Cotswolds project, Lydia says: “The owners fell in love with the plot but couldn’t work out what wasn’t working with the building. It had an amazing garden, but none of the windows were facing it. The building wasn’t working with the land. Now every room has a view of that beautiful garden; we’ve brought the garden inside.”
Vineyard House - Exterior view - Read more about the project here
Vineyard House - Interior view - Read more about the project here
Another recent project is a manor house for a TV gardener in the Cotswolds.
Oxford makes a great location for the firm’s HQ, given its proximity to not just the Cotswolds but also London. It’s the perfect spot for clients to visit who may either live nearby and commute into London, or who are looking for a second home in Oxfordshire or the Cotswolds.
But it’s not just residential projects that readers will enjoy looking through on these pages – Design Storey has worked on the stunning Luxe Fitness gyms, which make the prospect of working out incredibly appealing. The first gym project was transforming a Grade II listed former library in Bristol. It won the Constructing Excellence South West 2020 Conservation and Regeneration Award.
Luxe Fitness - Read more about the project here
The second gym project opened in the city this year, complete with pink lighting, giant chandelier and even a juice bar. Lydia says the brief was “Instagrammable”, and that photos of the stunning design are now acting as a marketing tool. It goes to show that the return-on- investment for a Design Storey commercial project has the potential to be huge.
Whether you’re looking for the transformation of a commercial space or want to renovate a second home in the Cotswolds, Design Storey can make it happen.
Lydia says the firm is incredibly excited to now be located in Beaumont Street, in a regency building which perfectly encapsulates what this company is all about – helping you write your future story in your historic home.
Oxford Studio - Design Storey