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Architecture

House extensions and renovations in London: a Wallpaper* guide

5 Sep 2018

Consider us a resource for your latest renovation or extension project on your home in [insert Greater London borough here] where Victorian or Edwardian townhouses roll out in abundance. Improvements on single family homes in London might be an architects’ bread and butter – but lest us forget, these projects only add to London’s rich patchwork of styles. From a white cube extension here, to a loft conversion or floating mezzanine there, to a radical reclaiming of a 1990s warehouse, and an entire renovation of 20th century town house – if you can overceme an onerous construction period, you’ll be well on your way to a renewed and improved abode...

Bavaria Road Studio
West Architecture

West Architecture converted a former Islington Methodist church into a minimal live/work space for the founding director of The School of Life, Morgwn Rimel. Simple and functional adaptations were designed to release unused space and separate the living and working areas. The renovation involved a dormer extension, the rebuilding of an existing mezzanine and an upgrade of all facilities, giving the double-height space a completely new life.

Photography: Ben Blossom. Writer: Harriet Thorpe

Bavaria Road Studio
West Architecture

‘The large volume of the existing space made it perfect for the introduction of the mezzanine,’ says architect Graham West, who rebuilt a small existing mezzanine, opening up the ceiling to the room below. The simplicity of the exposed timber mezzanine, suspended from the roof on slender steel rods and reached by a folded steel-plate staircase floating just above the floor, became emblematic of the whole design: functional, minimal and stripped back.

Photography: Ben Blossom. Writer: Harriet Thorpe

Disco House
William Smalley and Danny Pine

The Disco House in Notting Hill, London, is the fifth collaboration between architect William Smalley and Danny Pine, founder and creative director of interior design and property investment company Pinzauer. From the shell that they found in 2013, this dynamic duo has fashioned six floors of decorative delight, using a delirious mix of Italian and bespoke pieces.

Photography: Luke White. Writer: Christopher Stocks

Disco House
William Smalley and Danny Pine

The house is full of meticulously designed details, such as the reeded oak stair rail that takes the curve of the original newel post on the ground floor, the alabaster windows or the brass fillets in the ceiling of the first-floor den that link the centre of the back window to the centre of the opening to the drawing room. Italian influences abound, with vintage pieces by Gio Ponti, Paolo Buffa and Melchiorre Bega that Pine sourced on visits to Milan, mixed with modern classics from B&B Italia and Flexform.

Photography: Luke White. Writer: Christopher Stocks

Belgravia townhouse
Lawrence Salem and Gabriel Chipperfield

Business finance specialist Lawrence Salem and project manager Gabriel Chipperfield had been looking for some time for the perfect project to kickstart their joint property venture when they came across a Grade II-listed house on Eccleston Street in Belgravia, London. ‘It was a mess, so the project was primarily about straightening everything out, restoring the original 1850s building, as well as adding several modern extensions to the top, bottom, and back of the house,’ recalls Chipperfield, who developed and designed the house, with Salem, ‘under the watchful eye’ of his father, David Chipperfield.

Photography: Simon Menges. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

Belgravia townhouse
Lawrence Salem and Gabriel Chipperfield

The property spans over 360 sq m and six levels that include four bedrooms, a reception room, screening room, garden room and terrace. A 75 sq m kitchen and dining area sits in the extension’s lower level, amply lit by lightwells, and the views through the different levels, skylights and double height spaces, coupled with the crisp interiors, give the house its particularly airy feel.

Photography: Simon Menges. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

Fissure House
Threefold Architects

The new owners of Fissure House tasked Threefold Architects with transforming it into a highly functional, bright and contemporary living space. Threefold completely reworked the structural and architectural programme of the home to create an open and sunlit interior, equipped with terraces on three of its four levels.

Writer: Sara Sturges

Fissure House
Threefold Architects

The architect’s choice to flip the conventional residential programme on its head allowed them to play with the interior arrangement more. For example, there is an influx of light via the home’s series of staggered interior balconies, which were created by cutting back each of the floor plates on the upper levels. On the first floor the kitchen and dining area can be found, while the second level houses the living room and the third and final floor is a cosy office space.

Writer: Sara Sturges

Mews house
Groves Natcheva

Groves Natcheva completely transformed a 20th century mews house in Battersea into a stylish contemporary residence. With this project, the architects had to think outside the box, due to the clients’ desire for a modern home with extra space. The new structure is a simple box volume made out of blue bricks, a result of the architects digging down to add an extra floor, resulting in a total 90 sq m space.

Photography: Helenio Barbetta. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

Mews house
Groves Natcheva

The ground and lower levels host the house’s main living spaces, spanning sitting, dining, kitchen areas and a study. The lower ground also features a small but perfectly formed courtyard towards the back, which brings plenty of sunshine inside and creates a pleasing lightwell on the ground level. The upper floor contains the house’s bedroom. Bathrooms, kitchens and the house’s entirely new feature staircase are executed with precision and design flair, employing careful joinery and luxurious stones and marbles to add a sense of generosity and richness.

Photography: Helenio Barbetta. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

Rupert Sanderson’s Tufnell Park home
David Kohn Architects

Rupert Sanderson and his wife, publishing professional Rowan Routh, approached architect David Kohn for a conversion and extension to their Tufnell Park home. Swerving ‘the white box that everyone else has’ according to Routh, Kohn’s extension brings to mind an abstract fox, with vertical and horizontal terracotta bricks and circular windows.

Photography: Leon Chew. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

Rupert Sanderson’s Tufnell Park home
David Kohn Architects

Views to and from other parts of the house were important to unify the space. The extension’s subspaces were carefully thought out so every wall’s twist and turn, every skylight and opening, was surgically sculpted for a reason. Walls were also informed by the clients’ love of art; there needed to be space for it to be hung. Outside, a curved concrete terrace extends towards the garden, its brick-block edge inspired, Kohn says, by the Brazilian pavements of Roberto Burle Marx.

Photography: Leon Chew. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

Slot House
Studio Octopi

A Victorian terraced house in north London, converted once before in the 1980s, was reshaped and extended by Studio Octopi. A 10m high glass infill was slotted in beside the neighbouring wall to open up space for a double-height dining room and new master suite on the first floor. Further adjustments included rebuilding the existing closet wing and introducing a new open stair leading from the basement to first floor, which also allowed the architects to increase ceiling heights.

Photography: Jack Hobhouse. Writer: Harriet Thorpe

Slot House
Studio Octopi

The feeling of a natural flow from space to space was important to the function of the home. ‘With a tall thin house the likelihood is you’re going to spend a fair amount of time on the staircase,’ says Studio Octopi director James Lowe. ‘The ability to see through the stair was key to maximising the sense of space, but also animating circulation.’ Considering the family’s different needs, the architects designed a snug with a kitchenette at the front of the house: ‘Perfect for the older children to hide out in.’

Photography: Jack Hobhouse. Writer: Harriet Thorpe

Union Wharf
Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects

The 1990s house, Union Wharf, sits on the Regents Canal in London’s Islington. It had been fashioned out of a post-war factory, and suffered from cellular rooms, timber laminate flooring and a roof-top conservatory that leaked heat. The most striking change made by Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects is the replacement of that energy-inefficient top room. In its place is a steel and timber pod with visible cross-bracing on one side, which was devised with the help of structural engineers, Blue. The smart new space has a small en-suite, so that it doubles as a guest room and study.

Photography: Nicholas Worley. Writer: Clare Dowdy

Union Wharf
Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects

On the ground floor, the problem was a lack of character and good usable space. Szczepaniak moved the kitchen into the converted garage and took a wall down, so that the kitchen is connected to the dining area. The previous kitchen has been turned into a playroom for the client’s young family, which can be cordoned off by a 2m by 2m fluted glass sliding door. With the enlarged roof-extension and clever reconfiguring on other floors, this three storey house has gone from being 150 sq m and tired to 163 sq m and highly-functional.

Photography: Nicholas Worley. Writer: Clare Dowdy

London terrace duplex
Russian For Fish

Polished concrete and buckets of sunny paint have helped give the lower-ground floor of a north London flat a new confidence. The lower reaches of the Victorian terrace duplex in Stoke Newington were suffering an inferiority complex. While the upper-ground floor was all period features and high ceilings, the floor below was a muddle of small, cramped rooms and corridors. London design consultancy Russian For Fish reconfigured the 74 sq m space by taking down a wall between the hall and the corridor, and replacing a WC with a shower and utility room. In addition, an existing side return extension now has a roof light.

Photography: Peter Landers. Writer: Clare Dowdy

London terrace duplex
Russian For Fish

The client was after a minimal, industrial look, so ‘we took references from commercial and gallery spaces, as opposed to residential interiors’, says RFF founder Pereen d’Avoine. ‘Not only to create the contrast with the upper-ground floor, but to allow for the client’s furniture to breathe.’ Hence the polished, light-toned concrete, which was used for the floor and the living room wall. The flat is typical of RFF’s work: making the capital’s small homes function better for their inhabitants. It now has three reception rooms, which act as a fitting backdrop to some very smart mid-century and contemporary furniture.

Photography: Peter Landers. Writer: Clare Dowdy