Ash Tree House offers a contextual approach to a north London site

Ash Tree House by Edgley Design is a modern family home in a north London conservation area's backyard site

ash tree house exterior of timber facade
(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

Ash Tree House was designed around the namesake majestic, mature plant sitting on its backyard site, tucked away behind two Victorian properties in north London. Created by Edgley Design, a studio headed by Jake Edgley, the new-build house aimed to bring a discreet, yet unmistakable contemporary touch to the row of rear gardens in this residential, conservation area. 

ash tree house side exterior view of terrace

(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

Ash Tree House: a hidden, contemporary home

'The brief for the project was to design a modern family home on a complex back-land site in north London. The site was defined by it's steeply sloping character, and the large ash tree to the eastern corner of the site. It was important to retain the tree, while maximising the space within the dwelling,' the architects write. 

ash tree house exterior of entrance detail

(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

Accommodating the sloping site, the design appears single-storey upon entering the plot – yet cascades into two levels below as the visitor journeys through the building. 

ash tree house living space interior

(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

At the same time, outside, courtyards seamlessly create a route through the garden and towards the deck that extends from the social areas below.

ash tree house dining area interior

(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

Going through the entry volume, which contains the more private spaces (bedrooms and bathrooms), guests are taken to an open-air terrace that contains the ash tree. This is also linked to the home's generous living spaces.

ash tree house interior

(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

Green roofs, modestly placed, low volumes and natural materials all tell a contextual story that allows the new structure to feel at home within its sleepy, green setting. 

ash tree house kitchen interior

(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

Meanwhile, inside, clean interiors in light and nature-inspired tones make for a minimalist architecture backdrop that reads as crisply 21st-century and organic to its site – celebrating the project's time and place in one fell swoop.

ash tree house exterior with timber planks

(Image credit: Emanuelis Stasaitis)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).