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UpSideDown House

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The meeting between the modern extensions, with a rich yet minimal material palette, and the proudly enhanced historic features of the original Victorian Terrace is what creates a home with true character. Punching holes in the narrow and dark original building allows light to fill the previously dark spaces, and utilising the height of the rooms and carefully designing bespoke joinery, makes the home both fun and spacious. The colours and interior design create a retreat from the outside world and offer moments of repose, relaxation and rejuvenation, all hidden behind a humble historic Highgate facade.

A home should be the true representation of the people that live there. So what to do when a narrow, dark Victorian terrace is home to a Scandinavian architect and her family? Collective Works used all the favourite tools in their toolbox to turn things upside down, and fully transform the property, upstairs, downstairs and on the side.

We started by closely interrogating how the family lives, what they love doing and their priorities. We created spaces for being together, for quiet thinking and for robust play. All the aspects of busy family life came together in the new heart of the house: a kitchen that extends into the garden with internal materials that bring the outside in. Inviting KOI colour studio to collaborate on a bold colour scheme of Pure& Original clay-based paints that would not only enhance the original Victorian features, but tie the modern extensions into the historic fabric, is what makes the house truly sing.

The stepped extensions allowed the project to swiftly get approval in Highgate conservation area and simultaneously creates cozy and snug places closely connected with the garden. While the loft, ground floor and basement were extended to turn a three bed one-bathroom house into a five bed three-bathroom house, the first floor layout was retained, floorboards kept, and the original staircase retained and refurbished, to limit the budget. Opening up to the original pitched roof structure enlarged the spaces and allowed for both a mezzanine bed and a swing in the childrens’ rooms.

“A family home should be enjoyable for everyone, we always look for an opportunity to bring in more light, blur the boundaries between the inside and outside, and add moments of joy.”

– Siri Zanelli, Partner Collective Works

A carefully detailed and designed interior can make rooms appear spacious, and in narrow Victorian Terraces this is one of the main challenges. The bespoke kitchen is designed as a functional and beautiful part of the kitchen extensions, the robust laminate island even has individual naughty boxes that hide all that kitchen counter clutter. Large panels of hand-picked Elm veneer cover the cabinets and complement the palette of timbered louvers, exposed grey and London stock brick and structural timber. The bold use of exposed natural materials and crafted details create the typical warm minimalism that is Scandinavian Design. Use of mirror to enlarge spaces, salvaged vintage pieces of furniture next to modern joinery and carefully collected Japanese fabrics, composes a personal home. Bespoke joinery makes it possible to utilise every nook and corner, and the modest looking house has become spacious.

Our modern extensions complement the rich history of the original house and frame views of the garden and sky. The colours and interior design create a retreat from the outside world and offer moments of repose, relaxation and rejuvenation. And all hidden behind a humble historic Highgate facade.

Details:

Date: 2019

Client: Private

Colour Design: KOI Colour Studio

Paints: Pure&Original Paints

Photography: Margaret M. DeLange

Stylist: Kirsten Visdal

Services:

  • Architecture
  • Concept Design
  • Developed Design
  • Technical Design

Team:

  • Alasdair Ben Dixon
  • Joe Scragg
  • Khuzema Hussain
  • Natalia Zwardon
  • Siri Zanelli
  • Tomas Tvarijonas