A new triple-height stairwell has been carved out of this period property, bringing light to all three floors. Creating views across the living space formed areas of refuge and surprise by making the most of the park front setting.
The ground floor of the property is split into two double-aspect wings, a lounge on one side and a kitchen diner on the other, which includes a bespoke and colourful double-galley kitchen. Both wings are separated from the stairwell by full height glass doors and connected by a new bridge that spans on one side of the triple height core.
A traditional staircase with a swept handrail leads up to the top floor with four bedrooms. The landing above the stair has been opened up like a light funnel into the existing rafters, which also acts as a stack ventilator for the whole property.
A new modern steel and timber stair dog-legs down to a previously dark and dingy basement, which has now been transformed by new glazed openings onto the garden, and internal glass walls that open up the floor full width. At one end, the full width vista is terminated by a beautiful arch window that has been re-instated on the side of the house.
‘The bridge between the kitchen & lounge is my favourite spot of the house. It acts as a ‘command centre’ with views across the whole house, from the study space you see the garden, the front door, the living quarters, all in a prime spot with plenty of daylight. What could have been just a circulation space is now a lovely spot to sit, work and take it all in.’ Ewald Van Der Straeten
The basement provides level access to the garden and houses an additional guest bedroom, bathroom, utility room and large family leisure space. The main triple-height stair core creates volume and makes the level feel anything but a basement.
Externally, the three new glazed openings onto the garden are designed with crittal style French doors grounding the house to the garden. At the upper floor, the two new sash windows provide views from the entrance and the connecting bridge, They have been surrounded with a large exaggerated pink concrete window reveal. At basement level, where new openings have been made, new white bricks have been used with deep set mortar joints, to create a sharpness to contrast with the existing brickwork.
The full property was reimagined, after laying vacant for five years and has been transformed without the need for extending. Where previously there were no views to the garden and no visual links between the three levels, there is now a dynamic home re-interpreted for family living and entertaining.
From an environmental perspective the perimeter walls have been lined with natural cork insulation, that allows the solid brick walls to breathe. The cork is also a natural sound insulant and helps absorb airborne toxins. In order to maintain the breathability of the cork wall, they have been finished with lime-based render and painted with clay based paints, which again are both toxin free.
‘one of my favourite views in the property is standing behind the hob, facing out over the triple height stairwell. You can see across the full width of the property to the lounge on the other side as well as down into the basement level and out into the garden. We knew what we were trying to achieve with the design, but it is always nice to be surprised and have our own expectations exceeded, as well as the clients.’ George Bradley