TV builder restores a grand old lady

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TV builder, Adrian Marmont, who was project manager for the Home Front TV series with Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen and Diarmuid Gavin, recently completed a two year, multi-million pound restoration of a stunning landmark, regency building in Worthing

Mayfair House had been a popular hotel in the roaring 1920s, but over the years and after numerous owners and changes of use, the building had been left in a serious state of neglect, finally being boarded up and left to further deteriorate over nine years ago.

Parts of the building were literally falling onto the pavement and road below, which had to be closed and the council issued an enforcement notice which let to its owners deciding to sell.

The building forms a central part of Grade II listed Heene Terrace on Worthing’s seafront and Adrian, owner of The Pure Group, a building and renovation company, took the opportunity to convert the property into high end, luxury apartments.

Adrian said: “As a developer, I saw the potential of the property and I instantly fell in love with it. This previously grand building was in a significant state of disrepair, which had deterred many people, but someone had to help to preserve this piece of history and I saw it as a challenge. It’s certainly been a passion project for me.”

The Pure Group received unanimous approval from the Development Control Committee and also from Worthing Society, a local group dedicated to preserving and protecting Worthing’s heritage.

Tony Malone, vice chairman of Worthing Society, said: “When Adrian took on the job, the Victorian Grade II listed Mayfair Hotel was in a very sad state, but his enthusiasm to bring the old building back to life, in a style in keeping with the rest of the terrace, soon became evident, and we were very excited that this craftsman was determined to save a building that had long been on our ‘Listed Buildings At Risk’ register.

“When Adrian invited our committee to a preview of the apartments, we were eager to see the finished product and we were not disappointed. His design showed a good use of floor space; en suite bathrooms were spacious and he had paid great attention to details such as the sash-windows. The staircase is beautifully crafted in the original style and the lifts to all floors are discretely designed so that they are barely noticeable. All-in-all, well done Adrian.”

Adrian employed a specialist heritage advisor, Nicholas Antrim, and worked closely with Richard Small, design and conservation architect at Worthing Borough Council, to preserve the heritage and architectural integrity of the building.

Richard said: “Working with listed buildings is often very challenging. Right from the start of the Mayfair project, Adrian’s hands on approach and attention to detail have been central to meeting the local authorities requirements. The successful outcome of the restoration works at Mayfair House has revitalised this part of Heene Terrace, and is considered to be a real enhancement to the seafront conservation area.”

The Pure Group also brought together a team of experts to ensure that the restoration preserved as many of the original features as possible so that it was both authentic and sympathetic.

Here are some examples of the specialist works which were undertaken:

l Before the original mouldings were completely lost forever, the remaining sections were carefully copied by local restoration experts and recreated following traditional methods. Internal modern features have been styled to compliment the original architecture, including beautiful handmade furniture and fittings such as radiator covers, wardrobes and kitchens.

l All of the fireplaces are original and have been fully restored.

l The internal stairs have been meticulously remade using parts saved from the original staircase .

l New handmade, timber sliding sash windows were installed throughout.

l The building’s façade, with its ornate balconies and canopies, has been fully restored.

l On the front doors to the building, a small section of the original etched glass was found allowing Adrian’s specialist to recreate the pattern that the house was first built with.

l A retired ex-Rolls Royce sign writer was employed to provide the traditional signwriting in gold on the glass above the doorway.

l The steps outside the building on one side had been destroyed and these have been fully recreated to match the opposing steps.

l The original ornate chimneys had been lost completely but by researching local archives they have been rebuilt to their former glory, as have been the dormlet windows, complete with hand turned finials.

Adrian said: “Keeping the integrity of the original features was very important to me and we are delighted that we will be nominated for a Sussex Heritage Award and hope also to be considered for a Distinction of Design & Build award by Worthing Borough Council. We are also now speaking to English Heritage who are interested in our project.”

The end result is 11 stunning apartments, each with a master en suite bedroom and a separate guest bedroom and bathroom. Some also benefit from balconies and private parking.

While the apartments enjoy the aesthetic appeal of a bygone era, they also benefit from modern day interior design and conveniences, including Farrow & Ball hand painted, tulipwood kitchens with handmade Carrera Marble finishes and Neff integrated kitchen appliances.

It’s not surprising that, as soon as the apartments were released, the penthouse was quickly reserved and one of the apartments has been sold.

These luxurious apartments will not be around for long.

To request a brochure or to arrange a viewing, please contact the selling agent, Michael Jones on 01903 213281 or visit www.michaeljones.co.uk