A true Aladdin’s cave of architectural salvage, Renaissance London are proud experts in original and reproduction fireplaces, furniture, lighting as well as restoration and fitting. Based in Shoreditch, the company sources pieces from all over the world and has built a unique reputation as a leading expert in exquisite fine architectural pieces and fireplaces.
Owen Pacey, the founder of Renaissance London, believes that the aesthetic value of choosing antique or reproduction fireplaces and furniture is immeasurable. Choosing such a piece yourself gives a home personality and life whether it’s your main residence or a summer house.
Without a doubt Renaissance London’s passion is fireplaces – there’s not much they don’t know about them…
“My route into dealing fireplaces began with doors. This was big in the eighties – pine was everywhere. I took a real shine to the work. We had a big water tank which was filled with caustic. These doors would be stacked up in the tank: we’d have to really push them down – one time I even fell in and had to get hosed down pretty quickly. After that stage, we would take a jet hose and blast away all the sludge.
These doors would reappear – they looked lovely after a wax. I realised we didn’t just have to strip the doors, we could also restore them. It was quite a magical process and we started to do it with cast iron fireplaces too.
Clients would walk in and just say ‘wow.’ It gave me a sense of achievement, creating something that someone would cherish and enjoy.”
– Owen Pacey
Specialising in Victorian and Georgian marble fireplaces, French and Italian stone fireplaces all of Renaissance London’s stock is carefully sourced from around Europe. As well as fireplaces, when you peruse the eclectic showroom you’ll discover anything from 16th century pieces to the present day including Queen Anne to Victorian, chandeliers, one-off bespoke pieces to reproduction in the form of furniture, specialists mirrors to lighting and salvaged artefacts.
Seeing real potential in the industry, Owen decided to set up a business with his friend John Balotti in the late 1980’s. The pair would travel to old mansion blocks that were under development and purchase original fixtures such as doors and fireplaces that were being removed. On one occasion whilst visiting a house in South Kensington, the duo purchased a thousand doors – that’s a lot of doors!
Skip forward a few years, to 1995…Whilst being treated in Moorfields Eye Hospital, Owen Pacey noticed a run-down pub available on City Road and snapped it up immediately. Not only did it become his place of work and a showroom but also his home.
Today, Pacey’s knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the design industry is truly inspirational, with the showroom and his home still based in the pub he found twenty-five years ago.
Sprawling rooms and corridors are filled with one-of-a-kind architectural furniture and ancient salvage, from a ceiling dripping with chandeliers to walls lined with fireplaces as diverse as they are striking. Owen Pacey’s home is a bold a beautiful reflection of his showroom and character.
A true craft-master, Pacey and his team of experts are specialists in restoration, reproduction and fitting always highlighting their passion for preservation and the beauty of original pieces. The teams workshop is situated in the basement of the showroom, with Saturday becoming the allocated ‘restoration’ day. Their installation expertise and services are second to none, with Pacey offering expert insight on how a fireplace is installed.
“Installing a fireplace properly should take a good day’s work. We do it very thoroughly, the old fashioned way.
Other companies sometimes just use adhesive to attach the fire surrounds but this isn’t safe. We place heavy duty pins into the brickwork to ensure the fireplace is firmly secured. Installation also often depends on flooring.
The first thing I ask is what period the building belongs to or where the property is. Take a Georgian house for example, the ground floor and first floor are normally marble whereas the basement will be stone or slate.
If someone comes to me looking for a first floor fireplace in a Notting Hill flat, I’ll know exactly what they need.”
Renaissance London has amassed a plethora of clients from interior designers, hoteliers and a host of names you may recognise, such as Mick Jagger, George Michael, Orlando Bloom, Kate Winslet, Robbie Williams, Jeremy Irons, Naomi Campbell and George Osborne. For this and so many more reasons, Renaissance London is truly unique.
The range of antiques, the diverse stories from its owner, even the iconic pub in which it is situated, means we can consider it as a true London design gem.
Visit the Renaissance London website here to find out more…
Images: Vinterior, Renaissance London, Graham Atkins Hughes