Being approached by an ambitious client with a desire to the improve the quality of space, rather than a yearning for simply gaining more DEDRAFT undertook a radical transformation to this semi-detached property in London Fields, Hackney.
The four-storey, semi-detached house had previously been occupied as two individual flats and was in need of modernisation and a consolidation of the main spaces between levels, to better function as a family home.
The client - an investor and lead singer were keen for the process to be a collaborative endeavour and had a hands-on approach to procurement and specification. With a strong brief and some initial, outline ideas there were two key stipulations that sought to underpin the aesthetic - weathered steel cladding (aka. Corten) and a cast concrete centrepiece staircase.
Our first challenge was to design a highly modified, coherent layout to each floor, enabling better interaction between living spaces through a more open plan living arrangement, increasing the passage of daylight to the rear of the lower ground floor.
The floor level to the rear was dropped to create a sunken sun terrace and the ground floor cut open to form an impressive double-height dining space with punched internal openings drawing on the quality of space, spatial connections and passage of light seen in La Corbusier’s 'La Roche House'.
Window openings to the rear were scaled-up to correlate to the oversized volume, reducing in proportion as they rise vertically through.
Seeking to unify the new rear facade DEDRAFT opted for one single, enveloping material (Corten) that through the depth of the punched reveals, location of the joints and its precision detailing could sit in direct contrast to the original London stock brick facade. This reconstructed three storey rear addition sits grounded in a sunken, concrete-lined patio leading to a discreet yet spacious, larch-clad pilates studio beyond.
Internally the new double-height space to the rear features a monolithic cast in-situ, concrete staircase linking the upper floors with the split-level lower ground floor in which the kitchen, family living spaces form the heart of the home. The interior palette serves as a backdrop to the clients’ art/sculpture collection with the muted chalky decor throughout not seeking to dominate. Characterful oak floors, heavy brass handles and oversized rugs add another layer of patina and texture. Throughout internal rooms feature bespoke joinery with marble-lined vanities set against metallic and tactile brassware to each of the four bathrooms.
The ground-back concrete staircase ascends from lower ground to ground floor, from where a fully plastered, solid balustrade folds its way vertically serving the upper three floors. This dramatic centrepiece featuring oak lined treads opens-up on each landing offering glimpses into each room through the full-height door openings. The master suite takes over the first floor providing a spacious dressing room and calming Tadelakt lined ensuite with central free-standing bath.
Extensive works to the garden and pilates studio to the rear bring harmony with the main house with a naturally weathered larch raised walkway dropping down to the sunken rear patio. The planting seeks to blur the edges between hard and soft landscaping, affording the occupants the best use of a relatively compact rear garden.