International architecture and interiors practice Finkernagel Ross has designed a Victorian semi-detached home in Dartmouth Park, London creating a perfect mix of old and new.
The homes’ original features have been highlighted and celebrated, but juxtaposing twists of a contemporary, new rear extension and garden house flip, fold, and mirror the geometry of the more traditional elements of the house, creating a playful transition between the home and its garden. Throughout, the interiors continue to play on this dual personality home, with finishes ranging from monastic to opulent.
From the front, the house appears to be everything you would expect from a beautiful, traditional Victorian home. As you enter, you are welcomed by a traditional oak staircase with decorative carvings, a characterful formal sitting room off to one side, with restored cornices, restored window shutters, and an open fireplace. But from the entrance hallway, your eye is drawn towards the back of the house, where glazing frames a view through the kitchen, all the way to the garden beyond.
From the garden, the playful geometry of the new extension can be fully appreciated. The pitch of the roof of the original outrigger has been translated onto the gabled, copper roof of the new kitchen and living space below, by continuing the line of the pitch on one side of the ridge and mirroring it on the other. An additional storey on top of the original outrigger is articulated by a recessed shadow gap joint, which marks the contrast between the existing, weathered London stock bricks and the cleaned ones that have been used for the extension above.
The traditional materiality and forms of the original building have been played with, giving the impression that the new extension has grown organically out of the parent building. Deconstructing, frameless glass articulates the ground floor rear facade from the roof and at the same time as breaking up the roof space. Inside the kitchen and living space, the geometry of the ceiling folds back up again, creating height and space with an origami-style structure, punctured with roof lights.
On the first floor, the monastic master bedroom, furnished simply with monolithic Donald Judd-inspired wardrobes, sits alongside a luxurious en-suite, finished with a palette of reeded glass, brass, and marble, where a free-standing bath enjoys a fireside position. The top floor has been carefully designed to maximise space and light. Each of the three children’s bedrooms has a playful mezzanine loft bed that cleverly sits above the shower room between them, which itself draws in a shaft of light alongside the party wall from a roof light above. A corner section of the roof has been cut away to make way for a bespoke rooflight, which allows light to travel down onto the staircase below, the glass joining following the hip line of the roof.
Elsewhere in the house, the palette of materials used is as diverse as the rest of the home. A simple palette of Calacatta Mont Blanc marble and solid oak has been used in the kitchen, with the solid oak herringbone flooring running throughout the living spaces on the ground floor, connecting the light-filled kitchen, to the calming internal library, to the bright, formal sitting room beyond. Terrazzo flooring has been used in the side passage which connects the front garden to the back, as well as on the bathroom floors. Wall finishes include polished plaster and Bauwerk lime paint.
At the top of the gently terraced garden, the roof of a new garden room mirrors the geometry of the parent building. Four roof lights are nestled within the green roof which seamlessly blends the building, used as a home office, cinema room, and guest suite, into the garden. Completed in 2021, this elegant home is a testament to the careful thought that has gone into the design and the craftsmanship with which it has been created.