Room Tour: A Garden-focused Extension Boosts Light and Views
Striking glazing and a green roof contribute to the sensitive modernisation of this early 20th century home
The owners wanted a modern, family space, but not a huge extension, nor to encroach on the garden. Plentiful green vistas were also on the wish list. The architect translated this brief into something very special, with a sensitively modest addition, an ingenious courtyard and verdant views at every turn.
Who lives here? A family of four with primary school-aged children
Location South-west London
Property An Arts and Crafts end-of-terrace with five bedrooms and three bathrooms
Architect and interior designer Lizzie Fraher of Fraher & Findlay
Joinery Shape London
Photos by Adam Scott Images
The project was an extension of two halves. On the left-hand side, as seen from the garden, Lizzie designed the building to come out by around 4m, while on the right it projects by around 2m.
Within the left-hand side of the construction there’s a two-level space containing the snug, by the window, and a dining area, at the back. Lizzie also created a small courtyard to replace the conservatory.
Rather than designing these rooms to all sit at the same level as the original house, steps down to the snug mirror those outside from the side return. “It minimises the impact of the architecture on the neighbours,” Lizzie says.
This side is shallower than the left, partly because of its raised level – Lizzie didn’t want to extend too far into the garden at that height.
The right-hand window extends up and over the top, giving views of the sky as well as the garden. Below it is a large planter; in time the greenery will be tall enough to be seen from inside.
“We like to push the garden right up against the back of a house to improve the relationship between the two spaces,” Lizzie says. “I didn’t want a big, wide terrace that acted almost as a barrier to the garden.”
“We didn’t want to lose much garden space,” she says. “And we replaced what we did lose by adding it onto the roof.” What you’re looking at is a sedum and wildflower mix; the sedum is green year-round, while the flowers appear in spring. This element had to be designed in at the outset, so a structural surveyor could advise on a roof strong enough to support the weight of the planting.
Lizzie chose brick for the extension’s exterior “to create some relief from the render at the back of the house”, and also to reflect the Arts and Crafts tradition of honesty about materials.
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The island contains storage on both sides and a small space to sit, rather than an area for dining. “The clients have a wonderful big Danish dining table so close, so this is more a spot to sit and have a coffee, really.” Lizzie says, adding that one half of the couple is from Denmark and sourced a lot of the furniture there.
The kitchen fronts are a mix of white spray-painted MDF and ash timber, while the worktops are Cararra marble.
There’s discreet downlighting in the ceiling as well as task lighting concealed in the shelves over the sink.
The kitchen floor is polished concrete, and a Sonos sound system is installed in the ceiling.
In the foreground is the ash-topped side of the small staircase leading down to the snug.
In place of the too hot or too cold conservatory is this delightful small courtyard. “It gives breathing space to the back of the house and between the old and the new,” Lizzie explains.
“When extending, you risk losing the space in the middle, as it gets sandwiched and has no connection to the garden,” she says. “As we needed to step down to the garden, creating this space was possible – and it brings more green to the interior.”
Tucked into the left-hand dining room wall there’s a tiny bar with a floating drawer and storage below.
Light oak parquet flooring, Havwoods.
The door on the right side of the dining room leads to the aforementioned utility and cloakroom.
What’s your favourite detail in this unusual extension? Share your thoughts in the Comments.