‘Done right,’ heritage award winner finds market

A renovation of a rare commercial building is one of the winners of the 11th annual Heritage Awards announced Thursday.

Design House London, at 186York St., was the venue used to announce the awards given out each year by the Heritage London Foundation and the London Branch of the Architectural Conservancy Ontario - writes lfpress.com.

The decor and design company opened last September after a year-long renovation of the Granger-McMahen building, one of only two glazed terracotta buildings left standing in the city. The other one is McCormick’s factory.

Rebecca Courey, principal designer at Design House, said the heritage space is ideal for displaying decor and furniture. She said the closing of Kingsmill’s and Gielen Design created a gap in the upscale design market.

“This space presented itself and if you want to be inspired, this was perfect,” she said.

The building was purchased by Ken Demelo, who also received an award for restoring three heritage homes in the Woodfield district.

Demelo said he and his father, Tony, run a thermal insulation business, but started buying and renovating heritage buildings.

They purchased and renovated a heritage building next door to Design House. He said features such as the high ceilings and exposed brick are highly prized and the commercial spaces are snapped up quickly by tenants.

“If you spend the money and do it properly, there is a group of people who appreciate it and are willing to pay for it,” said Demelo.

The Granger-McMahen building, built in 1908, was designed by London architect William George Murray for James Granger and A.T. McMahen for their wholesale offices and warehouse. Design House London is only the third occupant, following Gardner Galleries.

The Heritage Awards will be presented at a gala celebration at the Delta Armouries Hotel Thursday.

Other 2018 Heritage Award winners

Kathleen Anderson: For renovation projects in Strathroy historic downtown, including the Ashwell Block, the Derby Inn, the former Pro Hardware building and 11Front St. W., former home of the Wright Piano and Music Co.

Barb Botten: For researching and writing local history through five Villager magazines focusing on different neighbourhoods: Byron, Hyde Park-Oakridge, Komoka-Kilworth-Delaware, Lambeth, and Wortley Village. The full-colour publications are distributed free to more than 15,000 homes.

Middlesex Centre Archives: For creating an archive that plays an important role in preserving the history of former townships of Delaware, Westminster, Lobo, and London. The archive includes church and cemetery records, historical photos and old account and minute books.

North Middlesex Historical Society: For buying, restoring, and repurposing two historic church buildings in Ailsa Craig: the 1870 Trinity Chapel and 1871 Ailsa Craig Baptist Church.

Innovation Works and Pillar Non-Profit Network: For restoring and repurposing the historic 1910 Garvey Block at 201 King St., now used collaboratively by community non-profits. The Italianate building was originally constructed for John Garvey's wholesale grocery and liquor business, warehouse and office.

Read more news of London on our site.

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