Cholmeley Crescent 2, Highgate
Sara has completely changed the way we live in our home – it’s had a greater impact than I could have imagined. We spend a lot more time together in the same space, which is great. Having a family room a teenager wants to be in with you is really something. Read more (Client)
Space is in short supply in many family homes, making it so important to get the most from what’s available. Our brief was to transform the room at the back of the house into a light-filled and comfortable family space that reflects the way our client wants to live.
Cold and without sufficient room for a proper table, the existing conservatory was doing service as a dining area. Although the space linked directly with the kitchen, it did not provide easy access to the garden and prevented natural light from reaching the rest of the house.
It was important to come up with a design that both inspired our client and allayed the neighbour’s concern about losing light. Consultation is an important aspect of any successful home extension. While neighbours’ objections may impose design constraints, rather than being a negative, such constraints are more likely to spark creative, win-win solutions.
To achieve the maximum acceptable extension without compromising the neighbour’s aspect, we built out by four metres to the height of an existing trellis between the two properties, then stepped up in height away from the boundary. Sliding, full-length glass doors are framed with an aluminium panel angling inwards to draw the eye inside.
We completely rethought the layout of the ground floor, moving the formal living room to the front of the house, and introducing a small laundry room and cloakroom. The remaining floor space is given over to a single large, shared-use room with defined areas for seating, cooking and eating.
A large, custom-designed roof lantern situated directly above the seating areas bathes the room in natural light, increasing the sense of space. Framed in oak, it is a feature in itself.
From inside, the full-length glass doors afford an uninterrupted view of the garden. With the interior now flooded with light, it was possible to move the garden closer to the house, creating a natural flow between inside and outside elements, which is reinforced by placing the garden seating at mid-level.
Visual simplicity was achieved by limiting the use of materials and adhering to a subtle and neutral palette. The partial oak wrap is an attractive, integrating element, employed to mediate between the room’s different functions.
Part of the language of the house, and consistent with its aesthetic, the use of oak parquet flooring throughout has a unifying effect. We installed under-floor heating to ensure the space feels comfortable and warm – a home for all seasons.
Sara has completely changed the way we live in our home – it’s had a greater impact than I could have imagined. We spend a lot more time together in the same space, which is great. Having a family room a teenager wants to be in with you is really something.
From her portfolio it was evident that Sara takes an individual approach to projects. This was important – we didn’t want an architect who would impose their style on us. Some architects insist on doing things a certain way, but Sara is not that kind of person.
Sara listens really well. She spent a lot of time understanding what we were looking for, and then translated our ideas into something that worked. Once we had a shared design vision, Sara was great at following it through. Her attention to even the smallest design details is quite remarkable, and the quality of the result reflects that.
I really valued the way Sara supported us through the whole process. We didn’t have the time or inclination for the daily minutiae, and Sara took that burden from us. While she was great with the builders and suppliers, she absolutely fought our corner. If something wasn’t right, Sara would talk things through with us, and advise on what to do.
When the builders laid the chevron-pattern wooden floor, it looked a bit wonky. She brought them back to re-lay it over the Easter weekend. It was Sara who made that happen.
Sara has since worked for our neighbour. While their house is very similar to ours, the end result is so different. Sara has created a space that reflects their vision for the family home they share. (Client)