Once written off as a forgettable decade of house building, the 1960s has enjoyed a reversal of fortunes in recent years, with a twenty-first-century re-evaluation of the space, light and versatility of some 60s and early-70s homes ranking them among the best subjects for refurbishment. This particular project was close to home for us – an opportunity to apply our combined expertise to the task of transforming a well-located but unprepossessing house into a vibrant contemporary home perfect for a young family.
Our own brief was just as exacting as an external commission. It was clear that we needed to extend the accommodation to create an additional bedroom, as well as to open up and expand the living space into a more family friendly format. A kids’ den, separate from the rest of the living space was an essential component, as was a free-flowing kitchen-living-dining space that would shift the focus from the busy road at the front of the property to the wonderful riverside garden at the rear. It was also important to uprate the thermal efficiency of the house, in line with our own emphasis on greener values.
In this case, the central challenge was to create an extended and refurbished home that would answer the requirement for more – and better-designed – living space, without sapping the house of its mid-century character. Our deliberations, therefore, included a careful consideration of those aspects that we wanted to preserve, together with a forensic analysis of how the new extension could not only provide a bigger footprint but how it could further enhance the property’s retro architectural appeal. The riverside location necessitated piled foundations – which extended the building schedule but was recouped due to the timesavings made by opting for timber-framed construction.
The new home cleverly updates the property’s original mid-century aesthetic with a contemporary extension that gives it a fresh sense of purpose. Naturally, the increased space has been welcome, but the flow has been improved, too, while the biggest gain probably lies in the reorientation of the home’s energy towards the glorious garden, which provides more opportunities for shared family life. We now have five generous bedrooms and a more thermally efficient performance that helps us to keep the lid on heating bills. Importantly, it’s a personal project that’s been a source of great professional pride.