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Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington & KHAA

This extension to a Modernist London estate by Maccreanor Lavington & KHAA took nine years to win planning permission

Ravenswood is a side extension to a terraced house on the edge of a Modernist estate in north London. The project is an expansion of a modest family house owned by Kay Hughes of KHAA and Richard Lavington of Maccreanor Lavington.

The design approach has been to treat the project as an extension to the estate rather than just to the house. It is a light corner infill, designed to be recognisably different yet at the same time sympathetic – glazing on two sides and subtly adjusted proportions to windows and spandrels identify it as a later addition. The objective was to complement the original building in tone and character, while enclosing a very different type of space.

Larch spandrels and bespoke Douglas fir window frames are pre-weathered or treated with semi-opaque stains. Internally, the living room expresses the Douglas fir structure, frame, cladding and floor. In contrast to the exterior, the interior is treated with a white Osmo finish.

The original house has been reorganised to increase circulation space and add a study, bathroom, bedroom and living room. The existing room proportions and layouts have been adjusted for ease of use, and the garage has been demolished to create a side terrace. The whole building is set back from the street behind the original front garden, which has been built up and planted. A new fence wraps continuously around the corner, creating a setting with trees, planters and cycle storage.

Achieving planning permission for small, bespoke projects in London can be trying, especially when you are both architect and client. This project was no exception. Despite this, the architectural press has many examples of how architects have hunkered down and relentlessly pursued their original vision, achieving something special in very ordinary contexts. Certainly in the nine years it took to get planning permission, we saw the local authority approve some carbuncles with seemly little design evaluation.

In 2000, when we first submitted the application, it seemed that to put ‘architect’ at the bottom meant you were sure to have a hard time. Hopefully this is something that is changing, and as it does it would be great to see the enrichment of our residential fabric by the small and cost-effective schemes that architects are so good at designing for themselves.

Finally we are rewarded, not only because we enjoy where we live and the added space, but by the fact that our fellow residents do too. From initial scepticism, we are now often stopped by neighbours saying how much they enjoy this new addition to the road.

  • Kay Hughes, director, KHAA

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington and KHAA

Project data

Completion January 2014
Gross internal floor area 139m2
Total cost £232,000 ex. VAT (external works £16,500 ex. VAT)
Form of contract JCT Intermediate Building Contract
Client Kay Hughes and Richard Lavington
Architect Maccreanor Lavington & KHAA
Structural engineer Greig Ling
M&E engineer Freeman Beesley
Quantity surveyor PT Projects
Party wall surveyor Martin Lewy
Planning advice GreerPritchard and Graham Harrington
Main contractor East London Building



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