This project comprises a small garden extension to a 1930s home in Highgate for a couple who are art collectors. The zinc-clad extension connects a now generous lounge and dining area to a beautiful garden through a glass wall, and provides fresh hanging space for a number of the artworks that make up our client’s collection.
We met our clients, a retired couple, in 2018 when we won the Daily Telegraph Home Building and Renovations Award for our Elfort Road House. They had just completed a holiday house in Cornwall, which was shortlisted for the award alongside our project, and felt their London home could be adapted to better suit their lifestyle.
The house felt cut off from its garden and the living space too tight to comfortably host their children and grandchildren. Mindful that the garden should be the focal point of our project, we extended the living space just 2.5 metres to the rear, adding a single-storey extension of 10sqm that provides much wanted entertaining space without eating into precious planting space.
The extension is wrapped externally in zinc, chosen practically for its ease of maintenance and conceptually for the craftsmanship involved in working with the material, which felt befitting of the artworks it was to house. Raised joins in the zinc plating create a subtle geometric pattern that corresponds with both the timber framing of the entrance hall and the plains of colour in the paintings.
The back wall of the extension is fully glazed, opening the room to a newly landscaped garden of herbaceous planting and patios cradled by the mature trees of neighbouring properties. The glazing continues around one corner of the extension to offer a perspective towards a pergola adjoining the kitchen. Frames and curtain tracking is tucked into a recess beyond the height of the ceiling to give a view uninhabited by the visual clutter.
Special consideration was paid to lighting, with the intention of creating a comfortably lit space rather than one flooded with light. The glazing, carefully positioned downlights and pendants create a layered lighting effect that is as practical for the artworks as watching television in the lounge and dining at the table.
Sliding pocket doors replace hinged doors throughout the ground floor, improving the flow between the new living, kitchen and hallway while maintaining the possibility of detaching the spaces from one-another. The connection between the dining area and hallway now makes it possible to enjoy a view to the garden from arrival.
“Our client is a passionate art collector and when we started to think about the form of the extension and the materially, naturally we were driven towards some of the artworks on the wall – especially those by the fascinating British artist Mary Martin. The extension we proposed is modest in scale, but carefully tailored to our clients’ needs and as a result has transformed how they enjoy their home and garden. Sometimes just a small gesture can completely change the feel of a house and how it is used.” – Amos Goldreich, architect
“They created a wonderful zinc and glass extension which more than fulfilled our expectations. The AGA team attended to every detail and project managed the job through a difficult lockdown period. We highly recommend them for their design ability and diligence.” – The Clients