The client’s brief required a complete re-organisation of a tiny existing 2-bedroom Victorian house and a substantial extension to the rear and side of the property to create a 4-bedroom family dwelling with open plan living spaces connecting to the large rear garden.
The new work has been integrated carefully into the existing dwelling to create a contemporary but sensitively handled addition in recognition of the particular planning constraints of the conservation area. The new extension echoes the adjacent existing houses in scale, colour and texture using a matching traditional facing brickwork however it is bonded and coursed in a contemporary style.
From the road the new extension is clearly defined from the old. The purity and simplicity of the new extension is subservient to the more ornate existing house. The vertical slot, ‘arrow slit’ windows on the front façade allow shards of South light into the main open plan living space whilst also allowing views out to the busy street. However the thickness of the front wall restricts views into the room from most angles. This motif is echoed at the rear at first floor level where vertical slots in the brickwork allow East light to flood through yet screen views of the neighbouring garden, a strict planning requirement.
The new and old elements are separated by the glazed, 1½ storey link with a large glazed rooflight over bringing light into the centre of the building. The central void space acts as a ‘street’ where ‘balconies’, platforms and spaces at different levels overlook and open out into it. This allows visual and physical communication throughout the family dwelling. The Master Bedroom has 4No. sliding timber screens allowing the whole corner of the room to be opened up to the void thus disintegrating the enclosed space whilst also giving it the flexibility to become more private. The sliding screens also act as shutters to close off the full-height window adjacent.
A central half-level staircase acts as a library seating area with stairs on either side serving the two ‘halves’ both old and new. The separate stairs also gave the headroom to enable the vitally important retention of the existing eaves detail on the existing house and meant the new extension could sit much lower on the site. This maintained the appropriate scale on the road façade and allowed flush access to the garden through the full-height glazed rear facade.