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A House in East London

A House in East London is a retrofit of a Victorian terrace house in East London. The project transforms the existing house into a sustainable modern family home using colour, decoration and playful details to add a sense of delight. 

The property, originally constructed in the 1880s, had been neglected for many years and begun to suffer from damp and structural problems. Rather than demolish the existing rear extension, the structure has been retained and upgraded. A new single-storey side-return adds additional ground floor space.

Responding to the client’s brief to avoid the customary highly glazed, single-room extension, a subtle series of connected spaces is formed offering a sense of unfolding intrigue and a variety of experience. A sequence of interior and exterior ‘rooms’; a small courtyard, a study, and dining room, are connected by circular windows. 

Internally, the design plays with Victorian domestic languages through decorative detailing which offers an exuberant play on the familiar. As the house steps down from front to back, an exaggerated skirting board is used as a datum, beginning at a standard height and rising to over 600mm. 

A small lightwell carved out between the front and rear sections of the house creates a moment of vertical drama with a visual link between ground and first floors. This void is lit by a stained-glass window with an ‘op-art’ decorative design projecting delicate patterns of colour into the interior. 

Externally, the rear of the house is finished in a contemporary version of ‘rough-cast’ render. Like the interior decorative scheme, the rear elevation is split by a horizontal shift in colour from pale grey to bright white. The first phase of the house is complete. A second phase which upgrades the front elevation will be undertaken later this year.

Photography Credit: Jim Stephenson


Charles Holland Architects

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