We were approached to make some radical transformations to the interior and exterior of this 19th century, semi-detached property in Hackney. The proposed work also involved extending and updating of the existing garden studio to the rear. Located in London Fields and within a conservation area, the house forms one of several pairs of four-storey family houses and had previously being occupied as two individual flats.
From the outset, the client had a strong brief outlining what they wished to achieve and our first challenge was to refine these into a series of coherent and feasible options addressing both the needs of the client, budget. The client was keen to be heavily involved in both the design process as well as the day-to-day matters affecting procurement and construction.
Our first challenge was to design a highly modified, coherent layout to each floor, enabling better interaction between living spaces through a more open-plan living arrangement, increasing the passage of daylight to the rear of the lower ground floor. We dropped the floor level to the rear and formed a rejuvenated outrigger with an aesthetic that heavily contrasts, yet complements the existing London stock brickwork. With openings scaled-up in proportion to those of the original building, we opted for one single, enveloping material to unify, punctuate and define the rear facade.
Being situated in a conservation area the use of weathering steel (aka. Corten) on such a dramatic scale could be considered to be potentially controversial however after seeking pre-application advice, London Borough of Hackney were supportive of the more contemporary addition. The reconstructed rear facade sits, grounded in a sunken, concrete-lined garden leading to a discreet yet spacious, larch-clad pilates studio beyond.
Internally the new double-height space to the rear features a monolithic cast in-situ, concrete staircase linking the upper floors with the split-level lower ground floor in which the kitchen, family living spaces form the heart of the home. The interior palette serves acts a backdrop to the clients own art/sculpture collection with the decor and muted chalky wall finishes not seeking to dominate. Characterful oak floors and oversized rugs add another layer of patina and texture. Throughout internal rooms feature bespoke joinery with marble-lined vanities set against metallic and tactile brassware to each of the four bathrooms
The ground-back concrete staircase ascends from lower ground to ground floor, from where a fully plastered, solid balustrade folds its way vertically serving the upper three floors. This dramatic centrepiece with oak stairs opens up on each landing offering glimpses into each room through the full-height door openings. The master suite takes over the first floor providing a spacious dressing room and calming Tadelakt lined ensuite with central free-standing bath.
Extensive works to the garden and pilates studio to the rear have sought to bring harmony to the main house and studio, linking both with a naturally weathered larch walkway which drops down into the sunken rear patio. The planting seeks to blur the edges between hard and soft landscaping, affording the occupants the most use of a relatively compact rear garden.
Structural design – SD Structures
Kitchen/joinery – McCormack Joinery
Project services provided –
Obtain Planning Consent
Obtain Building Control Approval
Manage Tender Process
Site Attendance during Construction
Manage Rectification Period
Completed March 2020
Photos. Ståle Eriksen
Grand Designs Magazine