Project: Caulfeild House
Architects: Brisco Loran Architects
Structural Engineering Company: ThreeSixDesign
General Contractor: TTG Construction
Location: Clapham, London, United Kingdom
Area: 65 m2
Photographs: Agnese Sanvito
Comprising the eastern half of an interwar semi, this South London home was extended progressively northward across the late 20th and early 21st centuries, forming an accretion of rooms and a poorly planned kitchen that struggled to define a working pattern of use. Key living spaces were pressed into the darkest areas of the home whilst the garden went underused, feeling poorly connected with internal life, despite the installation of wide folding doors.
Brisco Loran was commissioned to reconsider the layout of the home’s rear spaces with a license to design a new kitchen, replace ailing finishes, and open up areas of the recently built rear façade. Where timber decking had gathered the slippery green coat common to its north-facing position, the practice was asked to consider how a new patio might better connect the home and garden.
Where there might lay the temptation toward the tabula rasa, Caulfeild House is a project where the client and architect have looked to roll with the punches thrown by the home’s previous reworkings. Structural works were limited to the widening of a rear opening, with the bricks redeployed to build up the cill of the incoming timber window, before receiving a unifying mortar wash. A strip-out phase then lifted the floor finishes and broke the underfloor heating system, with the kitchen cabinetry sent for salvage, and garden decking removed.
These enabling works prepared the space for the installation of a terracotta tile floor that binds the home’s three rear rooms, flooding across the rear threshold to form a new patio, pocketed with sunken gardens in its most shaded corners. An eastern promontory hosts a circular metal table, whilst a brick-built barbecue rises from the western corner. New hoppers, downpipes, and a flying seven-meter trellis look to redress the discordant extension builds, whilst a new coat for the folding door frames completes the family of white-painted metalwork.
The final phase of work saw expert joiner, Constructive, and Co, build a single interconnected latticework of cabinetry, shelving, and seating to the designs of Brisco Loran. An 8 x 2.5 m piece of ash wood furniture, the bulk of its taller volume is shifted inward toward the shaded depths of the home, whilst key work surfaces are moved out toward the daylight.
A timber portal of display shelving marks the line of the original rear façade, formed as a partner for the white-painted glazed portal beside it. The hob is spaced one bay from the beginning of a low-rise bench where the family’s young children are able to safely watch and take part in preparing food.
The character of the family extends to the splashback, with the tile designed by the project’s client Sophie Caulfeild. The L-shaped bench wraps a square timber table, nestled within a niche beside the new window and sunken garden beyond.