Room of the Week: A Unique Extension Inspired by Japanese Design
High ceilings, clever storage features and a beautiful walnut staircase make this project in southwest London anything but ordinary
The family living here wanted to completely overhaul the house. They extended it down and out, adding a neat extension into an infill site at the rear of the house. But perhaps the most striking addition is the black walnut staircase. ‘We built a new staircase to link all the levels together,’ says Webster. ‘It also creates double-height spaces throughout, which helps to boost light levels and make the house design feel more generous.’ And, with the lights on at night and its tall windows glowing, it’s easy to see how the new extension earned its nickname ‘the lantern’.
Who lives here A family of four
Location Southwest London
The property A semi-detached house built in the early 20th century
Size 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
Architect Lizzie Webster of Fraher Architects
Completed July 2014
This family home is arranged over five floors, with a loft room on the third floor and bedrooms on the second and first floors. The front door opens onto the upper-ground floor, which contains a living and music room. On the lower-ground floor, the extended kitchen and dining space lead downstairs to a series of rooms that stretch right under the garage, seen here to the left. In this basement level is a snug, a guest suite, an additional bathroom, storage space and a gym.
As well as the house being extended downwards and outwards, all the floors and walls were removed and the building was stripped back to the existing external walls.
At night, the 6m-high glazing on the extension creates strips of glowing light, giving it a lantern-like appearance.
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Original windows have been preserved on the upper-ground floor and are beautifully framed by the dark wooden staircase, which is made from American black walnut.
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Rather than install completely solid timber balustrades, the staircase has glass sections, which give a better view of the stairs as they rise up through the house. ‘It also allows light to flow through the space,’ says Webster.
The owners were also keen on it being carpeted, so Webster designed the treads with carpet inlaid into each one, so as not to obscure too much timber. ‘This also emphasises each step,’ she says, ‘so you really feel you are climbing up through the house.’ The handrail has been smoothly carved and recessed into the framework, which is also lit inside. ‘You feel more like you are stroking your way up rather than walking up,’ says Webster.
Staircase, all joinery and cabinets, built by Fraher and Co, a sister company to Fraher Architects.
The kitchen worktops are quartz with a hob built into the island. An extractor fan is fitted neatly against the ceiling, so that views out through glass doors to the garden are not interrupted.
All kitchen cabinets, Fraher and Co. Wide format Oak flooring from Havwoods.
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