Set in the Paddington neighborhood of West London lies The Pilgrm Hotel, a series of Victorian buildings split over various wings and sections with lots of little stairways and secret rooms. Before The Pilgrm stood as it does today — a celebration of its landmark heritage with sustainable design top-of-mind — it was rescued by Sheffield, UK-based design firm 93ft. Headed up by Tim Hubbard, the team including Amber Addison, Jim Butterell and Sam Skalli took care of the entire interior architecture and spacial planning of the hotel’s restoration, as well as designing and custom-making bespoke furniture. “We love amazing materials,” Tim shares. “We believe that great materials are at the heart of great design and therefore beautiful interiors. The reclamation and reuse of architectural salvage is prominent in all of our projects. It’s one of our particular trademarks that has a deeper meaning than just pleasing aesthetics. For us, design and making furniture gives us the chance to create legacy pieces and places.” That’s why the 18-month transformation of The Pilgrm was a perfect fit for the firm. From start to finish, the hotel was a strong collaborative approach with the hotel owners and 93ft.
In keeping with their ideology, what 93ft put back into the building had substantial heart and a story worthy of the surroundings. They worked with materials that will last another 100-plus years. “The materials we’ve chosen and the way in which we’ve handled them set a precedent to give guests an understanding of a sense of quality and understated luxe. We have designed and made legacy pieces for The Pilgrm that have the benefit of heritage, but also the style and elegance to transcend trend,” Tim says. “We designed over a series of wings and multi-levels which had a complicated layout, which meant we honed in on reading the changing architectural landscape from street level upwards.”
Part of this involved redesigning key features, like the ground-floor shop front which originally was hard to read from the street, lost in the everyday bustle of the neighborhood. “We wanted to give the impression that the custom-built shop front has been there since day one with just the right amounts of heritage grandeur, set off with hand glazed tiles in cobalt blue and gold finishing in all the right places,” Tim notes. The colors of the hotel will welcome thousands of guests over time, with hues and tones to soothe and restore. 93ft chose heritage colors that are reflective of the history of the building yet embrace its new direction. Purples and browns in the cafe pair beautifully against gorgeous green plants, while soft and deep greys define the bedrooms, and lovely greens inspire thought in public areas, such as the hotel’s lounge.
Aesthetics aside, the firm took extra care to make sure the roots of the building were preserved and restored, such as two of the building’s major original stairways — one stone, the other timber. Each were coated in years of paint, which took hundreds of man hours and techniques to reveal. They made sure that a restoration option was the way forward, even though it wasn’t always the easiest.
“[The Pilgrm] is set within the incredible hustle and bustle of Paddington, an up-and-coming neighborhood that sees the arrivals and departures of thousands of people every day via Paddington Station, one of the busiest in the city,” Tim shares. “London St. is [a] whirlwind of restaurants, shops and daily London life — it’s vibrant to say the least. The location is incredible! From top windows it has the classic London street views, with strong vistas over the skylines and some beautiful Victorian architecture.” Reflecting on the project, Tim adds, “If you can be sustainable, why wouldn’t you? When it comes to interiors, a beautiful historic building gives us a history, we like to work with what’s already there, we don’t believe in throwaway culture.” With their painstaking renovation complete, the reimagined and revitalized hotel now stands out in its busy locale, but with a classic design that echoes its history and will stand the test of time. —Erin
Image above: Sourced, treated and cut by 93ft into elongated chevrons, the flooring running to meet the bar and kitchen and alongside refurbished doors and windows is a real star of this room. The firm also transformed windows into doors to complete the vision of a sought after outdoor London experience, but inside. The green window to the left (formerly a wall) was created using decorative glazing, mirror and solid panels. It houses bespoke made lighting which highlights a luxuriously plump green sofa which was both designed and made by 93ft.