Cholmeley Crescent 3, Highgate
I found Sara to be both incredibly professional and lovely to deal with. She really listened to what our requirements were and delivered them 100%. She has an amazing eye for detail, and there is nothing we would change about the work she has done. (Client) Read more
Our ambition for this renovation was to create an enlarged family living space at the rear of the house that integrated fully with the garden.
The concept was inspired by the way that the garden rises from the back of the house. Instead of a single slope, we redesigned the garden as a series of stepped, raised beds. The green roof of the new extension references these raised beds, acting as an elevated “window box”. We inserted a full-length roof light behind the green roof, the glass angled so the rain runs off and waters the roof.
While the extension contains multiple functions, it reads as a single space. The island provides the focal point for the room. Mediating between different areas, it is integral to the function of each. Areas are demarcated by a physical element, such as the roof light, pendant lights over the dining table or a variation in ceiling height. Deliberately choosing furniture that is easy to move maximises flexible use of the space.
We opted to place the informal seating overlooking the garden to promote relaxation and make the most of the natural light. The fully glazed rear elevation slides open to create an “outside room” feel and connect with the patio seating. Because the rear of the property faces north, it is guaranteed even light regardless of the weather. We also incorporated a glass corner to capture morning light. The full-length roof light ensures adequate natural light reaches the dining area.
We deliberately introduced calming elements into our design to combat the inevitable bustle and clutter of family life. Using a neutral palette of colours and extending the oak parquet flooring throughout the ground floor established a coherent, pacifying feel.
Oak is picked up in internal features to unify the design. The front room is a more formal, enclosed space with a wall-mounted gas fire and a low unit faced in oak.
A key part of the brief was to design a modern master bath with a great shower. We upgraded the plumbing, removing pumps and installing a direct mains supply. The design was unified by framing the window, mirror, radiator niche and storage cupboards, the edges chamfered to soften the natural light.
I’d seen Sara’s work at a friend’s house, and really loved the style of the architecture. My friend said how easy and straightforward working with Sara was, and how organised she is. I remember she used the word professional a lot.
I found Sara to be both incredibly professional and lovely to deal with. She really listened to what our requirements were and delivered them 100%. She has an amazing eye for detail, and there is nothing we would change about the work she has done.
She always had the attitude that we could make something work. Sara was very dogged about seeing things through to the end — she had the vision and she delivered it. There were a couple of times during the project where I thought, “Oh, we’ll let that go,” but Sara would say “No, this is the time to be tough.”
With Sara, the process was never stressful. She sorted out a lot of things with the builder without me needing to get involved. She engaged with plumbers and electricians, and even got into cabinetry design. Sara is very hands-on, and her breadth of knowledge and skill set was invaluable.
Of course, you pay for all that, but it’s money we’re happy to have spent. It bought us a lot of peace of mind. And there were no surprises — Sara provided clear, accurate estimates for the work and was very good at controlling costs. Everything came in on budget, except where we decided we wanted to spend more.
Everyone is struck by how light and beautiful the space is now. It is north facing, but Sara has worked the edges and angles to really maximise the light. She has completely transformed the space.
Sara designed the garden as well, which is unusual for an architect. It has steps and different levels, which could have been difficult, but she made it into a positive.
The room flows through to the garden, which is framed by the glass doors. It looks like a painting of a garden — it’s really beautiful.
Recently, a friend was admiring the kitchen, which Sara completely redesigned. She said, “You can tell this was done by a woman. She’s really thought about things —how you move round a kitchen and where to store everything.”
I think choosing a female architect made a real difference. Sara is very empathetic, and she thought about the practical aspects as well as the visual ones, which is crucial when it’s a home that you are going to live in. (Client)