Downside

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Location: Belsize Park, London

Client: Private

Project Year: 2017

Cost: £500k - £2m

The semi-detached Villa’s of Belsize Park are closely built houses. Only the small side passages between them conceal almost secret garden environments beyond. The neighbouring houses form the boundaries to the gardens, which are long, wide and mature in foliage. This is the setting for our latest full house refurbishment.

The house is a well-proportioned five-bedroom property. The upper floors are remodelled to remove previous compromises to each bedroom. The living rooms to the ground floor are well proportioned. As with many Victorian houses, the existing kitchen is small. Only a modest sink window offers a glimpse of the garden beyond.

The client wanted the house to feel better connected to the garden. A series of angled facets establish a notional hierarchy to the kitchen. The facets are expressed as solid and void walls to provide a level of transparency and privacy between the house, garden and the neighbours. The staggered configuration creates views of the garden and avoids the full-width house extension. The roof projects beyond the building edge to provide a simple solar shading device to the extension.

The roof formed in timber and painted with a special Swedish preservative paint treatment produces a matt red finish. A stepped plinth of York stone provides a new garden terrace to the lawn. The heavy brick piers to the rear bay have been removed to allow more natural daylight in.

The ceiling is expressed as a series of exposed timber joists which double to incorporate the LED strip lighting. The exposed brickwork walls complement the subtle warmth of the bespoke kitchen design. High-level kitchen cupboards have been omitted to avoid the room feeling constricted.

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A fine garden setting for a new addition to the rear garden

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Full house interior refurbishment

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The rear extension opens into the large rear garden