The project brief was to design a reading room and study for a 1950s, end-of-terrace house.
The challenge was to create a spacious and light filled extension within a confined north London garden that was both sympathetic to the original house and a characterful addition to the property.
The clients were a recently retired couple who had raised three children in the house since the 1970s, improving and extending the property over time to adapt to their family’s changing needs. This project was to create a new, intimate space for work and reflection, just for them.
The project took 18 months from conception to completion, with a budget of £92,000, although only four months was spent on the actual construction. The clients weren’t in a rush to complete the project, which enabled us to spent a lot of time investigating different design solutions, materials and methods of construction. The prolonged design process is evident in the finished project which has achieved a level of refinement that is not always managed on residential extensions.
The existing house was constructed in the late 1950s so we weren’t confronted with the ornate detailing that you may encounter on some historic Victorian or Georgian properties. In some respects not having this history to work with was a challenge as that can often be a jumping off point for the design process.
Oak timber cladding and glass was chosen to compliment the existing brick house and pick up on the original timber detailing around the windows. The limited palette of materials was key to harmonising new and old. Oak lining internally establishes a continuity of materials inside and out and draws the occupant’s views to the garden.
The oak desks, shelving and storage was all very carefully integrated into the design. In order to achieve this seamless aesthetic between building and furniture the works had to be very carefully sequenced and planned out beforehand. We coordinated regular meetings with the various tradesmen and contractors so everyone knew exactly what they were doing and when to ensure a very refined and integrated aesthetic.
We love the building’s design in that it folds and wraps back against the existing house. The extension only adds 10sqm of space yet we successfully addressed the awkward and confined geometries of the site and unlocked other areas of the property that were historically under utilised.
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