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Landmark Industrial, Lee Thornley’s House, Poppleton, York

Bert & May founder Lee Thornley refurbished his York family home from ordinary to Scandi.

Design entrepreneur Lee Thornley has always had an eye for interior transformations. From developing a boutique hotel in Southern Spain from salvaged materials, to building a business selling reclaimed tiles into the offbeat Bert & May selection that we know today. There was even a project that turned a Hackney narrowboat into a boutique hotel.

When an unassuming home in the quiet village of Poppleton, York became available, Thornley couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to exercise his creative flair, with the help from associate designers Sam Ford and Anita Gordon. The two-storey home may have appeared unassuming from the outside; however Lee had the vision to demonstrate what’s possible when focusing on beautiful, simple materials.

The home was built in 1959, therefore it already had the makings of a mid-century, Scandinavian, aesthetic. In order to open up the home into an airier space, Thornley enlisted the assistance of York-based practice Mass Architecture. A surplus lean-to was removed from the back of the home to accommodate a two-storey extension, complete with generously sized bedrooms and a third bathroom. The addition also made room for an open-plan kitchen and dining area, which acts as the hub of the home.

While the overall concept of the home speaks ‘beautiful easy living’, achieved by layers of warm and textural oak, brass, bronze and Crittall, Thornley’s team injected a careful dose of quirky colour and pattern using a selection of Bert & May tiles (of course). Each of the three bathrooms are a selection box of distinctive looks, two of which were chosen to suit the fanciful interests of Lee’s young daughters. The master bathroom, however, is a ‘grown-up’ escape from reality.

Inspiration was taken from boutique hotels to create a chic bathroom with a cool, masculine aesthetic. A display of hexagon tiles in sultry Darkroom Grey allows Samuel Heath Landmark Industrial brassware to glow in contrast, alongside a contemporary curved washbowl from Kast Concrete basins. The bathroom is confident its own identity, however the use of a black-framed shower screen alludes to the Crittall-style glass doors used in the living spaces, to allow for the boutique look to travel throughout the home.

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