The Leaning Yucca House reunifies a Victorian house previously split into flats
DF_DC architects, which recently relocated its main office from Switzerland to London, has completed the ’re-invention’ and extension of a Victorian semi-detached home in Camden. This saw the integration of the ground-floor kitchen and dining room into a single, open space as well as stripping away ‘outdated’ layers and finishes accumulated over time.
The material palette consists of oak joinery for the kitchen, storage and staircase elements, while the extension and side passage are clad in red cedar. Light concrete floors, a black steel frame and whitewashed brick complete the ensemble. Two sets of French doors are designed to establish a strong connection out to the garden, planted by a former landscaper at Kew Gardens. A large square window in the kitchen is designed to frame a Japanese maple and leaning yucca plant.
Leaning yucca house by df dc © rory gardiner 1
We wanted to find the best way of connecting all the positive elements already present on the site in a practical but dignified way. This led us into a task of gradual subtraction – while remaining aware of when to stop. This was not just in the surface elements and small additions to the house which had accumulated, but also in the reconsideration of the original components and aspects of a Victorian house that had proved dysfunctional over time, without any sense of false romanticism.
As a result, an otherwise compact and introverted lower level was reoriented towards the garden with its almost surreal planting. Due to this, we thought the windows did not require any quality beyond simplicity. In designing the joinery elements for the kitchen and staircase, we found a way of both integrating and concealing a series of elements that are used every day into a coherent whole, thus converting the rear of the house into a single room focused out into the garden.
Diego Calderon, co-director, DF_DC architects
Start on site November 2017
Gross internal floor area 90m² (original) + 12m² (extension)
Construction cost £130,000
Architect DF_DC architects
Structural engineer AM Structural
Design contractor Erdol Construction
Party wall surveyor Hamilton Darcey
Building control Aedis