Lace House, built in the late 19th Century. Converted into a motorcar showroom in 1926 and displayed many prestige brands like Rolls- Royce, Bentley, Bristol, Lagonda, Alvis, and Jowett. Subsequently converted to offices in 1973 it has remained in this use since. The office became redundant and permission was sought to convert the office space into residential units.
The building is located within the Valley Gardens conservation area of Brighton and is spread over 6 storeys, including a basement. The building stands 5 storeys tall above street level with the top floor occupying a mansard roof. This was an extension to the original mass of the building.
Lace House had become dilapidated and was in urgent need of extensive repair and renewal. The proposal was to convert the offices into 9 individual flats. This included a 2 bedroom penthouse with balcony and a double storey 2 bed basement/ground floor flat. The other flats are a mixture of southwest and southeast facing flats.
One of the main challenges was using the basement level effectively. This dark confined space hidden below street level now benefits from renewed pavement lights and a large stairwell which brings much needed light. This flat has two bedrooms at ground floor level, a family sized bathroom and a further WC.
The other flats, especially the penthouse, benefit from amazing views over The Old Steine and Valley Gardens. However some flats get views of the sea and Marine Parade. The location of Lace House is within close proximity to the seafront, pier and Brighton’s Laines.
The building kept its existing form with the renovation of the external render, balcony and window guards. The portico roof and columns to the main entrance were skilfully re-crafted. The cat sculpture on the north east corner of the building has become somewhat of a landmark for the building over the years. The 92 year old cat was eroded due to its age. Therefore the contractors commissioned Lewes based Sculptor Susie Hartley to mould a new version of the cat based on its remains and archive photographs. The cat will be returned to the exact spot it has been in since 1926. The original cat is to be located within the building lobby for the new owners to admire.