The proposal for this residential project was to refurbish a typical late Victorian mid-terraced house in Hampstead, London. The owners wanted to retain and highlight some of the home's original Arts and Crafts-influenced decoration, while introducing contemporary features in order to create fresh, modern living spaces.
The main feature of the house is a double height library at the heart of the house, created by combining the original rear reception room and a first floor bedroom. Library oak veneered plywood with solid lippings and cappings was used to build a series of bookcases arranged around a new feature staircase. A stepped arrangement of shelves mirrors the stairs, creating a strong, rhythmical sense of movement through the space. At the top of the stairs, a desk has been built into the landing to create a small study area with a commanding view overlooking the ground floor. During the day, the light-colored wood and white walls reflect daylight to create a pleasant place to work or relax. At night the space is transformed by integrated LED lights in the shelves that illuminate the books and cast a soft reflected light across the room. The effect changes what might otherwise have been a utilitarian hallway into a visually interesting and relaxing space where the owners and guests can stop and pass the time.
To the rear of the house, a side extension to the existing kitchen was created by resting an oak rib and skin structure, externally clad in zinc, onto the brick party wall. This articulates the structure, and the timber spars are used to diffuse the light entering the dining room from roof lights and a wide rear door, while also creating a series of niches against the internal wall. Corner lap joints to the timber spars have been arranged so that the shoulder and cheek of the joints are alternatively expressed. The timber contrasts pleasingly with materials used elsewhere in the kitchen including poured concrete work surfaces and high gloss kitchen units.
Externally, the rear extension offers a powerful contrast to the Arts and Crafts features of the original house and the cool, reflective feel of the new library space. Large door and window openings − including an impressive corner window − are placed into the brickwork to give an angular and contemporary appearance while providing a strong counterpoint to the vernacular language of neighboring properties. At the same time the external materials − predominantly brick and metal − contrast again with the extensive use of original and new timber inside the house.
This project uses space and materials extremely well to create a home full of contrasts and surprises. Timber has been used both to knit together spaces at the heart of the house and to create new space to the rear. Taken as a whole, these interventions offer a new take on remodeling the typical Victorian terraced house.