Previously a tired half of a pair of semi detached houses in St Johns Wood, the brief was to reconfigure, extend and add a basement to the house, but this evolved into the design of a new build brick house, which included a basement and garden room.
Being part of a semi detached house in a conservation area did provide some context to work in. This London brick house also acts, to some degree, as a gatekeeper to a small mews road along its flank wall. The tiered, ‘wedding cake’ form of the building, while also providing interest in form also played homage to this role as a gateway building. The brick, while complementary in tone aimed to up the quality of the masonry both in quality but also in detailing. Subtle details were added to pay homage, but not mimic, some of the Georgian/ Victorian neighbours, such as the use of stone around parapet walls, a recessed pointing banding detail at ground floor and the use of classical proportions to windows and doors.
A contemporary but warm pallet of materials was used to create a home for three generations of the family and well as spaces for entertaining. As well as large open plan spaces the house also has smaller more intimate spaces, such as a spa, snug and treatment room.
Internally the staircase is a key element to the success of the house. The cast concrete staircase was a combination of new and old materials designed with cutting edge technology and re-established deign techniques. Combining highly engineered polished concrete formed in a factory with wrought iron balustrade formed by hand.
In technological terms, we also worked to a fabric first approach, that is to say, minimising the energy use of the building before investing in expensive add on technologies. The house despite being more than twice the size of the one it replaced, uses considerably less energy in consumption. The annual Co2 emission per m2 are approximately 40% less than building regulations require.