Room Tour: A Garden Pavilion Provides Flexible Added Space
This garden room, designed to blend into the landscape, created a playroom, guest suite and summer entertaining space
As such, the structure – which contains a living room/bedroom, shower room and kitchenette – has a green roof and is clad in larch battens, meaning it almost disappears into the landscape.
Who lives here? A family with three primary school-age children and a dog
Location Clapham, south London
Property A Victorian terraced house
Room dimensions Approx 8m x 6m
Designer Ellen Sacks-Jones of Matthew Giles Architects
Photos by Logan Irvine-MacDougall
“The clients had this bit of unloved space at the end of their garden that kicks out, and our brief was two-fold,” Ellen says. “We were asked to make the most of this bit of the garden, so it didn’t just peter out – especially as the owner really loves gardening – and also to create extra family space where the kids could hang out.”
The new room also functions as an occasional guest room, with a seating area that converts into a sleeping space. There’s a shower room and a small kitchen, plus a games table and TV for the children, and extra storage space.
She explains that the layout of the main house makes this an especially valuable addition; the owners’ home has its entrance on the upper ground floor and the kitchen on the lower ground floor level. “The connection between the kitchen and garden isn’t that great,” she says. “This gave us the opportunity to create a space that was much better integrated with the garden and on the same level.”
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The garden designer was key to the project. “The planting is so lovely – soft and natural. We worked closely with Jack to blend the two projects,” she says. “Often, the money runs out on projects for the landscaping and it gets done a year or so later – this project just goes to show how integral and important the landscaping is.”
The building is clad in larch battens fixed thin end out, rather than flat, like fins. It gives a contemporary appearance to the exterior without making it stand out against the planting.
What looks like a three-part sliding door is, in fact, one door made from three panes of glass. The whole structure slides into a pocket door to disappear. “It’s wonderful and it feels as if you’re in the garden when it’s fully open,” Ellen says.
The green roof can be seen from this angle. “The building is not only visible from the owners’ house, but also from neighbouring properties. We didn’t want anyone to look out and see a big, grey roof,” Ellen says.
It’s a sedum roof, which is particularly suitable, as Ellen didn’t have much depth to play with. “It’s mainly succulents and has brown/green tones,” she says. A skylight can be seen here, too, which brings light into the back of the building.
Inside the building, the layout is open-plan, with a seating and TV and games area that converts into a sleeping space when required. Towards the back is a kitchenette and the shower room.
Just visible here, too, at the back right-hand corner, is a little cut-out to allow for a neighbour’s existing lime tree. “It’s actually worked out really nicely, because it created a tiny courtyard, which is lit and planted and lovely to look out over from inside,” Ellen says. “The space is accessible from inside through a window, but only for maintenance.”
You can also see the interior finish here. “We didn’t want it to be too pristine,” Ellen says. “We wanted the inside to feel like a garden building rather than be plastered and painted.” As such, she chose birch ply wall cladding and exposed the ceiling.
“There’s a plan to build birch ply joinery along the back wall to make the TV bench more in keeping and discreet,” Ellen says.
Hanging lights; ironmongery; light switches, all Buster & Punch. White ceiling lights, Astro.
There’s electric underfloor heating beneath the Marmoleum flooring. The building is supplied with electricity, Wi-Fi, water and waste, but not gas. Everything is contained in one trench that had to be dug along the full length of the garden.
The lighting is all Wi-Fi controlled from the house. “It means it can be lit up, so you’re not walking down here in the dark,” Ellen says.
The worktop is Corian and the grey doors are melamine-faced birch ply. The skylight brings natural light to this area.
You might also enjoy How to Install an Outdoor Kitchen.
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