Comment: The unique St Albans conversion that stands out from the crowd

The Beaumont Works building on Sutton Road, pictured before renovation work commenced. Picture: Goog

The Beaumont Works building on Sutton Road, pictured before renovation work commenced. Picture: Google Streetview - Credit: Archant

While St Albans is currently experiencing a shortage of good sized family homes, one thing the city certainly isn’t lacking is one and two bedroom flats.

Consequently, news of yet another such development tends not to elicit a massive amount of enthusiasm.

But every so often, a scheme comes along that's worthy of a little more fanfare, and Beaumont Gardens is one such place.

While the two new build blocks to the rear of the Sutton Road site are fairly standard, Hansell House, the Grade II listed former Beaumont Works building, is a different story.

I love a period conversion, and when I first heard a few years ago that this building, with its beautiful Dutch gables, was going to be renovated, I was keen to see it evolve.

Designed at the turn of the last century by local architect HE Hansell, after whom the building is now named, it has an exterior so striking and a history so rich it has long been considered a local landmark.

Hansell was responsible for designing what - in my opinion - are some of St Albans' most attractive homes. These include swathes of grand properties on Clarence and Blenheim Roads, plus a pair of handsome semis on Paxton Road.

The Beaumont Works site has had many uses since its days as a raincoat manufacturers came to an end in 1972, having been split into industrial units in recent times, housing a gym among other businesses.

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Now the transformation is complete, and it's a job well done. The building's integrity has been preserved, with key period details being retained and enhanced.

Light-flooded courtyards and mezzanine bedrooms have helped create unique living spaces unlike anything else available locally.

Unusually for St Albans, Hansell House's loft-style living feel gives it something of an urban edge - a point of difference to be celebrated when so much of the competition feels like more of the same.