Text description provided by the architects. This project was for the refurbishment, reconfiguration and extension of a late Victorian coach house that complements the architectural spirit of the building. The building was converted into a residential dwelling thirty years ago and had been untouched ever since. It still echoed its late Victorian origins and function with stable doors and a first floor fireplace for the coachmen which we re-instated and repaired. It was important to maximise the living space with an open-plan ground floor and combining domestic functions creating a practical family home. New floorspace was created by converting the garage while also annexing a dark and unused corner of the courtyard and bringing it into the home. This new garden room extension employs a light touch with the continuation of the external floor and wall finishes resulting in unity with the courtyard.
This house is about a celebration of natural materials and finishes to express their raw characteristics. We specified oak for the floor and doors, eco-concrete using recycled aggregate for the worktops, natural black oxide and wax for the steel crittall screens, exposed gypsum with a clear beeswax sealer for the walls, reclaimed terracotta for the paving, utilitarian copper pipework for kitchen and bathroom fittings and exposed birch plywood for the joinery. The herringbone oak flooring unifies the spaces throughout the ground floor and wraps up the staircase extending the flow of rhythm and materials. The evidence of the handmade process of construction and application in a material’s character bring with it a sense of craft. As an exercise in improved environmental performance, our approach of considered reduction has meant that we did not demolish in order to rebuild.
Bricks reclaimed from the demolition were cleaned on site and re-used in the construction of the extension. To align with our ethos of responsible sourcing we opted for environmentally considerate finishes. Beeswax was used as a plaster sealant, and both the interior wall and external timber paint were made from linseed oil free from any solvents, binders, emulsifiers, heavy metals or carcinogenic / toxic substances. Additional insulation was added to the external walls and high performance argon filled glazing specified for the garden room extension limiting heat loss while introducing new opportunity for cross ventilation.
The kitchen consists of warm cherry timber cabinets with white stained birch plywood shelves and wall mounted cupboards. Birch plywood and antique brass sew a common thread throughout the house. For the bathroom the ‘nude’ colour, soft pigment and matt finish of the encaustic cement tiles tying back into the exposed, soft and calming textured surfaces elsewhere in the project. Other furniture was source locally and we re-purposed some clay flowerpots as bedside pendant light shades as well as reclaimed steel gas canisters as pendants to light the kitchen island.