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Stone Cross Manor | A Historical Restoration by YOUTH


Based in Manchester, YOUTH is an interior and product design studio driven by a team of unconventional thinkers whose youthful grit and conceptual rigour is met with a commitment to design detail and delivery. Through a collaborative approach and honest output, their designs are highly refined and considered, as demonstrated in their latest project, Stone Cross, a respectfully restored and modernised historical building in rural Cumbria, in the far north west of England.

Built in 1878, the iconic grade-II gothic style manor house was left to dereliction in 2001 until development began in 2018, to convert the manor into 19 luxury apartments. Restoration of this historic building required a careful, consultative approach to ensure that it was carried out with respect to the original architecture, while at the same time bringing a contemporary liveability to the space. The studio’s aim was to to do this while creating a strong design narrative, weaving together quintessential British history with opulent drama and character.

The challenge was to complement and accentuate the existing ornate architectural features such as the stone carvings and decorative tiled floor, with current materiality and shapes. YOUTH's design approach was to play with the building’s existing tones, developing them into a muted, yet meaningful palette, whilst juxtaposing features through joinery and finishes that highlighted both the beauty and contrasts of the old and new. Rather than competing or taking away from it, the use of reflective materials such as stainless steel and mirror emphasise Stone Cross’ elegant architecture, while the incorporation of monolithic, square edges sit paradoxical to the softer, curved shapes.

YOUTH co-founder Liam McGroarty says “The manor in itself is a piece of art, so every detail was planned in accordance to how we could highlight its beauty. Our goal was to breathe new life into the space, whilst considering balance and awe.” The main living area was amplified by &tradition’s Develius sofa and HANDVĂ„RK’s Daybed, a timeless classic described as “the crown jewel” of the collection, apt for such a regal space. In the communal entrance area, the &tradition Loafer chairs, designed by Space Copenhagen, accentuate the existing warm tones within the tiled floor, while the RUBN Lektor Floor lamp brings a striking, contemporary edge.

Photography by Felix Mooneeram and Chris Ramsden

The development and design of Stone Cross has ensured that its grounds remain an important heritage asset, restoring its former public glory to make a positive contribution to the fabric of the area and its historic environment for years to come.

Images courtesy of YOUTH

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