A refined renovation and modern rear extension of an Edwardian townhouse in Crouch End, London. Carefully carving away the structure of the house, removing floors and walls, Merrett Houmøller Architects has relocated the home’s kitchen, living and dining spaces to the basement floor, level with the reworked garden. Bedrooms and additional living areas are on the ground and first floors, connected by a dramatic central stair that has been refurbished to highlight its original Edwardian features.
The client’s initial brief was to affordably modernise the historic house and create comfortable and connected living spaces with better correlation between house and garden. Inside, the original townhouse layout was dark and disconnected. Outside, the east-west Edwardian street layout inscribed on the northern slope of Crouch Hill caused the back gardens to fall away sharply to the rear, meaning the entrance level was one storey higher than the garden level.
The architects have successfully addressed these issues by reinterpreting the typical domestic spaces of the townhouse typology and creating a dramatic sequence of connected volumes and views with internal and external cuts.
The home’s new layout is a mix of open and broken plan design, with double-height ceilings and windows to the rear and a newly cutout mezzanine that allows for light to enter deep into the plan.
The kitchen sits below this mezzanine, playing with levels and views – a sleek timber and black steel stair case draws the eyes up to the ground floor, and fully glazed doors demarked with astragal bars look onto the newly level garden. An attached, enclosed dining area has custom furniture and lighting designed collaboratively by the architects and clients. Here, a long dining table is punctuated with an oriel window framing views of the garden.
Practice director Robert Houmøller said, “Creating visual connections between rooms was important for this young family. Carving out walls and windows in the home’s new interconnected and layered spaces work both for practical purposes and to create a sense of dynamism throughout a once stale period property. Rooms are visually linked but physically separated, letting in light and visual movement, yet retaining privacy and spatial divides.”
Throughout the home, design patterns and motifs run across internal and external finishes, giving a sense of continuity and expressing the transition from the original Edwardian elements to contemporary interventions. Most prominent is the subtle yet ubiquitous chevron pattern, visible in the restored turn-of-the-century parquet flooring, which is echoed in the brass-inlaid concrete on the lower ground floor. The 45-degree angle of this pattern is transformed again into a triangular waveform of charcoal-coloured porcelain tiles and black zinc apron on the dining room exterior.
|Landscape Architect||Field & Waite Design|
|Structural Engineer||Michael Hadi Associates|