London-based architecture studio De Rosee Sa designed the house for a client who lived across the road from an old timber storage shed. The site, located on an awkward space between rear terraced gardens and a row of 16 West London garages, was initially bought to prevent it being overdeveloped. Seeing a potential opportunity, the client’s brief was to demolish the single-storey storage garage and construct a new two bedroom house.
Planning restrictions set a vertical limit to the height of the property, stipulating that any form must match the outline of the existing single-storey shed. The firm then proposed a new basement level to meet the client’s brief for a two-bedroom house.
Inserting windows into the boundary walls was not possible as they were party walls. As the site is 37 metres long, the design includes three external courtyards and skylights to draw light into the house.
The first courtyard was sunk down to create a new basement level, which contains the second bedroom. Above, on the ground floor, the courtyard separates the private bedrooms from the family spaces in the new house. The second courtyard separates the kitchen and the living room, bringing light and air into the middle of the house. The final courtyard separates the house from the front driveway, creating a storage unit for bikes, bins and housing for the ASHP.
A series of Crittal style steel and glass doors connect these courtyards with the interior spaces of the house, providing views through the length of the house. In good weather, the house can be opened up, allowing air in and blurring the distinction between outside and inside further.
Generally, the internal walls of the courtyards are clad in Western Red Cedar battens in reference to its history as a timber storage yard. Inside, the material palette was kept simple to allow the different spaces to flow into each other, using off white walls, cedar battens and oak parquet flooring.