The house was in a run down state and required considerable repair. Remodelled it accommodates a family of five. Interconnectivity of spaces was important to the family, as was solidity and richness of materials and opening up to natural light. Creating a feeling of space and height was essential to the clients. They also did not want the kitchen tucked away and out of sight. The clients’ were keen to explore sustainable energy saving measures where possible. The feeling of being outdoors was an important factor in the choice of materials.
The ground floor was transformed into a single open plan space linking lounge, kitchen, dining and garden. The kitchen is at the heart of the home, allowing the family to interact across the space. The floor and ceiling levels vary, altering scale and proportion within the main volume.
Large skylights the over the kitchen and dining spaces bring light into the heart of the home, allowing for a connection with the outside environment, important to the family. The simple palette of materials creates a sense of calm solidity – polished concrete linking inside and out, with timber walls providing warmth.
We improved the thermal performance of the envelope by overcladding the existing brick render with a high-performance insulated render, and installing double-glazed windows: traditional sash and aluminium (on the modern extension).
The polished concrete floors have underfloor heating pipes below –taking advantage of the embodied thermal mass within the polished concrete slab, which stores heat for long periods decreasing the amount of energy used to heat the spaces. South- facing skylights bring natural light indoors reducing reliance on artificial lighting. The folded geometrical planes are an important feature of the space and allow daylight to enter deep into the house.
The ground floor is broken into “served and servant” spaces. Kitchen utility spaces – fridge, freezer, pantry, laundry, guest toilet – are hidden neatly behind an iroko slatted wall giving the public spaces of the home a greater hierarchy. All the joinery in the house is bespoke designed; the Western Red Cedar shutters outside the bathroom are designed for privacy and can be rotated and opened to access the skylights for cleaning.
Natural light is emphasised throughout allowing that connection to nature. Skylights in the en-suite bathroom and master bedroom create the feeling of showering and sleeping under the stars.
Photographer: Dennis Gilbert