Regency flat with a history of neglect becomes glamorous retreat with epic sea views.

Jul 28, 2023

Location: Hove, East Sussex

Work carried-out: A Listed Building Consent application following a negotiation as part of a pre-app to make changes to this Grade 1 Listed Building.   Remedial works following historic structural movement and interior detail.

Project description: This property had a very chequered past and at one stage was in danger of collapse.   The flat had been purchased as a pied-a-terre next to the sea.   The floors had sunk considerably towards the centre of the building and the interiors reflected this with uneven floors in each room, squinted door frames and general dilapidation.  

The property had at the outset been a family house and at second floor level it had been bedrooms, but now the front rooms wanted to be one big living room incorporating a kitchen.   This involved the removal of a partition wall (separating a lounge from a former bedroom) and making a single access point as a pair of doors and a kitchen area with all the related services being needed.   The floor definitely needed to be levelled throughout to enable parquet to be laid and to resolve it so that there weren’t any smaller level changes.   The finishes all needed to be agreed with the Conservation Officer as the design required new cornices and other plaster features to be included where previously there had been none.   A wealth of small, sensitive changes were made including some newer elements like pocket doors to distinguish new from old.   The plumbing was a triumph and a combination of ingenuity, determination and cunning enabled the new drainage all to be gravity not pumped – a small and invisible point, but to the credit of the Contractor and his team who achieved an excellent finish throughout, including a shuttered arrangement for the Master Bedroom window.

We always like to feel that we have made space for our clients to enjoy the final finish to their projects and this one was no exception and their Harvey Jones kitchen fitted in very well.

Contractor: Pat Plumstead


‘Fortunately, we were recommended David Kemp. He has a long history of dealing with listed buildings and, whilst is very sympathetic to the style and aspirations of the original architect-whether Busby and Wild or Decimus Burton; brings a complementary modern twist to his design.  He is also excellent at building relationships with the trades and teams involved in these sorts of jobs and, critically, with those in charge of what can be achieved.

Between him and his-indeed our-chosen builder-Pat Plumstead; the whole exercise could not have been smoother.  Whilst the project was not short; there were very few lumps in the road.  David and Pat worked together with the Local Authority Conservation Team on a successful pre-app which achieved, to our surprise and delight, exactly what we wanted.  The front room is a real treat and the rest of the flat works very well and maximises space without any sense of cramp.  Amazingly it is also flat-floored now-a real rarity in a flat that is 200 years old.

Furthermore, my neighbours actually liked and complimented Pat and his team for the consideration they showed them and the high quality of their work.

We cannot recommend David highly enough; indeed actually want to do another project….’

This project was awarded a High Commendation in the Sussex Trust Heritage Awards 2023.

Judges’ comments

A well-executed refurbishment to a high standard of finish. The available space has been maximised in this Grade I Hove seafront property to produce a warm, light and friendly home.  The joinery was of a high order.”


We’d love to hear from you about your next project;
Please fill in the form below to get started.