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Gatehouse Apartments 

Using our hospitality experience in a residential setting

Interior Design

Gatehouse Apartments in Southampton includes 132 apartments, a gym, co-working space and residents’ lounge, private dining area and outdoor terrace. Our interior design for the amenity space was inspired by the local industry, trade and transit that have always been at the heart of the city.

Once a thriving Roman port and the point of departure for the Mayflower and the Titanic, Southampton is now the busiest cruise terminal and second-largest container port in the UK. By introducing design elements subtly influenced by this story, we connected the interior spaces with the locale and its history, creating original interiors with a real sense of place.

The front-of-house amenity offer is one of the key differentiators for Grainger’s build-to-rent properties. We used our hospitality experience to create ‘home from home’ amenity spaces with flexible communal areas which people want to spend time in. The carefully considered furniture and bespoke joinery are closer to the type that someone might buy for their home than what you would see in a purely hospitality setting. 

Research shows residents are likely to stay for longer if they know who their neighbours are. Our design encourages interaction. This can’t be forced, it requires a subtle approach embedded across communal areas. Space planning in the multifunctional lounge / co-working area optimises open-plan layouts that can be adjusted to suit the use of each tenant, whether they want to work or socialise.

A bookable private dining room encourages social interaction as does the roof terrace area. The flexible nature of the communal areas gives residents their own space if they want some privacy.   

The initial reaction has been very positive. Grainger launched the first apartments in April 2021 and the entire development was fully leased within four months, eight months ahead of plan.

Sustainable living

We specified durable, environmentally sustainable materials throughout the interior space. Richlite, an incredibly hard-wearing surface material made from paper, was used in the joinery. Constructed from many layers of high-quality decorative paper, Richlite’s surface texture comes from the natural variation in the way fibres lay within the paper. The rolls of paper are saturated with a thermosetting resin before they are cut to length and laid up by hand. Each sheet is carefully stacked, alternating the direction of paper for the ultimate balance and stability. 

Fun recycled products were used within the joinery to enliven the scheme by creating a narrative around the material itself. Kaleido by Smile Plastics contains distinct traces of the plastics’ origins, from flecks of foil from yoghurt pot lids, to text and barcodes from plastic packaging. These details draw the user in and tell the story of where the material comes from. Plastics such as these are typically low value for the waste management industry and often end up in landfill or incineration plants. Through design, the value category is flipped on its head creating high-value materials that people enjoy being around.


Industrial elements, such as metal mesh, timber, glass, and softer aspects such as recycled fabrics, plastics, acoustic panels and sheers subtly connect the interior spaces to the local area. 

Location, location, location

The location-based design narrative is skilfully communicated through finishes, FF&E and accessories which embed the scheme in the community, and create a sense of place. A vivid, geometric wallcovering, informed by the local wool and cloth trades, leads up the ramp to the lounge and co-working area, with the dining room and gym beyond. 

The deep flaxen plaster wall in the central amenity space is inspired by the textures and grains of natural materials from the rural heritage of the area. A multi-functional co-working / lounge area contains a cosy corner working banquette, high tables and a raised seating area nook. These spaces play with both complex industrial elements, such as metal mesh, timber, glass, and softer aspects such as recycled fabrics, plastics, acoustic panels and sheers, which subtly connect the interior spaces to the local area. 

The balustrading brings another layer of texture to the space using metal mesh to add depth on the raised level, while also providing a cosy seating nook.

Artworks positioned throughout are reminiscent of Southampton’s industrial history. These sit alongside books and decorative items that give a sense of place to the articles and aspects of the history.  

The resident’s gym is a bold space with an eye-catching metal mesh and tube lighting detail to the ceiling, inspired by the cranes, transit and docks in the city. A fifth-floor rooftop terrace is protected by lush and hardy perimeter planting. Composite decking, checkerboard tiling and artificial turf create zones for lounging, dining or playing, and a trellis acts as a screen for alfresco film nights.

At Gatehouse Apartments our hospitality ethos blends with residential elements creating public areas that act as an extension to residents’ apartments; welcoming and adaptable, as well as easy and comfortable to use.

Rachael Reid Senior Interior Designer at Studio Moren

Awards and nominations

  • Mixology Awards
    Project of the Year Finalist: Living
    Gatehouse Apartments
Southampton, United Kingdom
Completed 2021
132 keys
Courtesy of Grainger PLC