Layered House, neatly tucked between a row of single storey cottages on a long tree lined street in Paddington, is a classic case of “more than meets the eye”. Situated in a Heritage Conservation Zone, SSD Studio was not only faced with tight space parameters (party walls etc) but with strict conservation logistics.
“This concept is respectful to the character of the existing home yet contemporary in design and detailing,” explains studio director Sophie Solomon. “The clients loved the Victorian heritage features of the home, (the husband is English), but wanted more space and light with a simple, classic material palette.”
As a result, the team envisioned a pared-back but light-filled transformation that would fulfil the brief requirements of an additional bedroom, new kitchen and improved connection to the garden.
The team were blessed with a Southerly orientation to the rear courtyard garden, as well as a high sandstone wall, offering privacy and a rear lane elevated at the back yet a classic worker’s cottage layout with small rooms off a single corridor.
Two strategic moves involved opening up the front bedroom, transforming it into the main living room – bringing more natural light and ventilation into the home – while completely demolishing the rear and rebuilding it as a two-storey addition (with the second storey hidden as an attic, to suit council’s requirements).
The second level bedroom and bathroom were then set back to create a void over the dining room with concealed skylights drawing light down into the kitchen and dining area as well as the rear south facing room and bedroom. “
The double height of the dining room allowed for tall steel framed doors to open out onto the garden and bring light and connection into the living spaces,” continues Sophie.
From a sustainability perspective, the team were dedicated to retaining as much of the fabric – and therefore embodied energy – of the home as possible. Low VOC paints and natural materials were specified throughout, a combination of engineered timber floorboards and painted timber battens to the stair.
Layered House’s elegantly restrained interior is due in part to the clients’ clear vision for a classic material palette that combined timber, marble, black steel and leather while the timber battered stair adds an element of character and complexity.
Interior architecture – SSD Studio
Photography – Simon Whitbread
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