The existing 1950s house has been transformed to re-expose all the original floors, brick walls and plaster while a large factory-like rear extension adds a colourful open-plan living space.
The full-width rear extension creates an 8 x 8m living space with varied floor levels, ceiling heights and materials to make a series of connected spaces flowing from one to the other. A raised snug area with timber flooring steps down to the concrete floor of a taller dining area.
The dining area in turn wraps around to the lower ceiling of the kitchen space, which also features a window seat. These interconnected spaces aim to be function and flexible as use for gallery spaces for the clients growing collection of objects, which include two full-size traffic lights.
Windows have been positioned to track the path of the sun throughout the day with raised central clerestory windows catching the rising sun and adding height to the space with a roof profile similar to that of an industrial structure.
Low-tech materials have been used for the extension: white painted plaster and brick, red-oxide painted steel beams and standard softwood timber and grey fibreboard for the exposed roof. Galvanised electrical conduit links the rough-cast aluminium light switches with salvaged factory light fittings.
A new stair has been installed with open treads to allow views through from the front door into the rear extension.
The clients approached OEB with references of large exposed brick warehouse conversions, drawn to the rich textures and often unusual spaces provided by these old industrial buildings. However, they had just purchased a rather squat and boxy 1950s house. Our challenge was to translate these references to the new domestic context.
In the existing spaces a process of selective opening up and uncovering removed the layers of stained chintzy wallpaper and revealed the rough material beneath. In parallel, the design for the extension uses readily available materials and simple construction methods to achieve similar qualities of layering and texture.
Within the carefully revealed interiors there are surprising moments: what would normally be the living room is instead dedicated to the display of the clients’ large collection of street art objects, entered from the hallway through a large galvanised-steel sliding door. The renovated bathroom contrasts dramatically with the other rooms in the property, lined entirely with a luxurious green tiled surface. This undulates to envelop a bath and form two independent walk-in showers, with brass fittings and reclaimed legs for the basin.
We worked closely with the clients to interpret their tastes and ideas and to produce something unique from a very ordinary starting point. The house offers a surprising mix of subtle and bold textures, recognisable and new references, bespoke and found objects. It is a place that embodies their distinctive idea of home.
David Eland, architect, OEB Architects
Space, light and flexibility are just three reasons we love our extension with its integral kitchen and ‘snug’ area. During the day it serves as the cats’ sun lounge, a breakfast bar and lunchtime hangout for days working at home. In the evening it’s a gym, communal kitchen and cosy TV area. Twice a week the space doubles up as a dojo for virtual kendo practice, with the extra height of the clerestory a real bonus.
The multiple windows across different planes generate natural light that continually changes during the day connecting us with the outside world.
Start on site October 2020
Completion date April 2021
Gross internal floor area 162m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 320m2
Form of contract or procurement route RIBA domestic contract
Construction cost £210,000
Construction cost per m2 £1,300
Architect OEB Architects
Client Simon and Lauren
Structural engineer Bob Johnson Structural Engineers
Principal designer OEB Architects
Approved building inspector Stroma Building Control
Main contractor MG Bross
CAD software used Vectorworks