by Emily Dobby
The site of the Ironworks building is steeped in the rich history of Victoria’s industrial age, namely the Albion Iron Works Company, which was located on the Chatham Street block between Government & Store Streets.
The Albion Company was founded in 1862 by Joseph Spratt. It consisted of two lots at the corner of Chatham and Discovery streets and was created in response to Victoria’s growing demand for wood stoves. By 1881, the main Albion complex covered an entire block on Store Street at Discovery.
515 Chatham was designed with a respectful nod to the heritage and character of the past – note the weathered steel – and has effortlessly blended into Victoria’s old town district which is abuzz with galleries, shops, restaurants and bars.
Adriana Wootton of Kimberly Williams Interiors was the principal designer behind Ironworks. She opened up to SPRUCE about the design process and her favorite elements of the project.
Where did your design draw inspiration from?
Both the architecture of the building – the corten steel facade was a powerful statement and its industrial, raw form really set the tone for the character of the building; and the client who appreciates materials that are true to their origins and the creation of authentic spaces that stand out as something unique + diverse.
Where did you start? Was there a specific part of the design that shaped the rest?
We started where many of our residential designs start; in the kitchen – we knew we wanted to create a dramatic kitchen that really set the tone for the suites industrial vibe. The bold palette of that area really started to dictate other finishes within the interiors and the palette really came together from that.
What was the biggest design challenge you faced?
We wanted to create a unique space that had a presence like the architecture of exterior — but the interiors also had to attract buyers. So we had to ensure we kept that fine balance between developing an interior scheme with personality while also creating a space that felt like home + showcased a specific lifestyle for the market.
What are your favorite design elements of the space?
Our absolute favorite is the custom light fixture in the Lobby of the building; it’s the perfect mix of truly humble and raw materials installed + painted in a way that really elevates its presence – It really sets the tone for the interiors.
What are the key design elements to look for in the space?
There’s a lot of play in surface materials; matte finishes reflect a more industrial feel and we used that throughout hardware, cabinetry finishes, penny round tiles, plumbing and lighting as a way to really tie together our theme.
How can people incorporate the design aesthetic of Ironworks into their own space?
This aesthetic is all about highlighting bolder tones + materials against a light neutral backdrop; So homeowners looking to achieve this style could look to really simplify their overall backdrop – keeping walls, trims and doors throughout in the same warm white allows metal finishes; like Black Plumbing, Hardware + Lighting Fixtures to really make a statement. From there layering textures – wood grains, chunky woven carpets, boucle throws + pillows really add warmth to the space.
Don’t be afraid to show off your personality; this aesthetic really lends itself to adding in fun, boho vibed, quirky accent pieces in small doses for guests to discover as they move through your home.