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Karl & Vanessa were moving from a large New York apartment to London. They had been living a lateral existence, all rooms on the same level, no steps and no stairs. They asked for a sense of their New York apartment in their new home, but there was only one catch… The house they were buying was a town house, over five floors, with steps in abundance.
Andrew Wood Associates
We were asked to create a flexible space at basement level that could act as a family living room and guest suite. They needed a utility space in the pavement vaults and an elegant basement bedroom with en suite toward the front of the building, and the rear extension needed serious modification to accommodate a new kitchen. We were asked to make as many horizontal connections as we could, so whilst the house was vertically arranged, the family areas were as connected as possible within the constraints of a grade 2 listed building.
Toward the rear of the building at basement level, we stripped away the building, excavated and tanked and then created a glass-topped living space, separated from the listed façade by a small glass courtyard to keep planning happy. A water feature runs along the top of the garden wall and falls into the courtyard to bring some of the garden feel to the basement level. Above, the kitchen enclosure was rebuilt with tall sash windows and doors to allow the back of the house to open up to the garden and the new glass floor over the basement below. The conservatory at first floor above the kitchen was propped temporarily whilst all of this was undertaken below – this was not for the faint hearted!
The family living room has a hidden kitchen, a steam room and a bed which folds down from fitted furniture. The basement bedroom at the front of the house has bespoke frosted glass screens which can be parked to open the basement level fully up, or closed to contain the bedroom and provide privacy. At ground floor level we enlarged doorways and reinstated old structural openings. This created a series of more open inter-connected spaces.
The project was completed in 2008 and the main contractor was Scotscape Limited.