This project was unusual from the outset. Rather than the standard approach to residential additions to original terrace houses where the minimum two rooms is left acing the street and a new large open space added to the rear; this project retained the entire original Edwardian semidetached terrace and included just a single room extension.
The owners, a young family, felt they had plenty of room in the original house but felt the cramped and tired 90’s addition at the rear, housing just the kitchen, blocked the access to the perfect northern orientation and the connection to the rear garden; a tiny green oasis the family cherished. The family loved cooking, eating and entertaining friends and family and wanted to create a unique space to do this whilst bathed in natural light and directly linked to their established bush garden.
Alongside the main addition of the kitchen / dining room, the brief also called for works within the retained original house including a new bathroom in the same location as the existing bathroom and laundry, an additional powder room and the inclusion of a new study space which could be separated from the other rooms when required. The rest of the house was left as existing, the owners appreciating the original Edwardian house already provided generous bedrooms and a cosy lounge space which they valued being able to have fully separated from the dining and kitchen space.
The new addition is conceived as a complete contrast to the original rooms of the house. The form maximizes access to sunlight and connection to the garden, whilst not overshadowing the adjacent garden spaces. The raked roof form allows for dramatic height internally and the subtle angle to the line of the extended roof over the terrace skews the view from inside towards the north and views across the neighbourhood. The entire footprint of the new addition extends no further than the old kitchen, allowing for the retention of the existing garden beds and bush planting.
An all plywood interior provides warmth and detail, an unexpected and pleasant surprise after the long walk from the front door through the all-white original house with ‘frilly’ original period details. The timber structure is expressed and accentuates the dramatic raked ceiling. The space is flooded with light from the northern façade which is fully glazed, and from the high level window on the southern side. The southern window also allows for cross ventilation and provides a view back to the original tiled roof of the old house beyond.
The new room includes walls of plywood joinery including the kitchen as well as a European laundry and additional storage cupboards. The kitchen is designed to allow the whole family to cook together and gather in the kitchen at one time. There is a long stainless steel benchtop on one side with the sink and cooktop, and a multipurpose island bench on castors for flexibility. The fridge and pantry are concealed behind full height plywood doors along with even more valuable storage space.
The reworking of the rear portion of the original house includes a large family bathroom set within the footprint of the existing bathroom and laundry rooms, minimizing plumbing work and structural changes to the original brickwork walls. An internal nook once housing the small dining room has been reworked to include an additional powder room and a WFH study space with openable skylight. The original fireplace is retained in the corner bringing some of the original period character to the now stripped back, clean space. A large sliding panel door conceals or reveals the study area allowing for separation when required.
The finished project delivers a warm and inviting home retaining the charm and period character, as well as the gracious proportions of the original rooms, with a complete contrast when you reach the plywood addition at the rear. The new room provides the light filled gathering space and connection to the garden that the family desired, and has become the new heart of the home.
What were the key challenges?
The key challenges of the project included maximising the light and volume of the new addition whilst not increasing the footprint of the house or encroaching on the established garden. The addition also had to be designed to minimise impacts on the adjacent properties and not create any additional overshadowing on the compact rear gardens. The new bathroom had to be designed to sit within the original house shell, not altering key brick walls. The addition had to make the most of a very narrow block and make the most of every square metre of space.
What was the brief?
The brief was to rework some tired rooms within an existing Edwardian semi-detached house and add a new dining and kitchen space directly linked to the north facing rear garden. The existing house already provided generous bedrooms and a cosy living room but the old 90's low addition at the rear, housing the kitchen, was tired and lacked light and volume. The entire house felt disconnected from the garden and the kitchen, whilst located in the best position with northern exposure, was the darkest and lowest room in the house. A new bathroom was required in the same location as the old, whilst a small dining nook was repurposed as a WFH space.
What were the solutions?
The new rear addition was designed to maximise height, internal volume and access to sunlight by locating the highest point adjacent to the neighbouring house and roof on the boundary, By lifting the roofline on the east and minimising the height of the wall on the west, the new addition does not add any additional shadow onto the rear gardens of the adjacent houses. The new addition extends from boundary to boundary and has a full wall of glazing to the north and opening onto the garden. This makes the compact and modest floor area of the new room feel much larger and floods the space with light. A high level window on the southern side allows for cross ventilation and allows for views of the tiled roof of the original house beyond.
Who are the clients and what's interesting about them?
The clients were a family with two you sons. They felt the existing house provided enough floor area just not enough light or connection with the garden. Cooking, eating and entertaining are very important to them and they wanted a new kitchen and dining space that celebrated this aspect of their family life and allowed them to live in the back room of the house connected directly to their existing bush garden.
How is the project unique?
The project is unique in that the new addition provided minimal additional floor area to the house but did add light, drama, volume and connection to the established garden. The footprint of the original Edwardian house was reworked in some areas to house additional functions including a WFH space, additional powder room as well as the redone bathroom.