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Garage site transformed into three-storey house by Tikari Works


Emerging practice Tikari Works acted as client, architect and main contractor for this new home on an 82msite in Dulwich

Pocket House is the first completed project by the London-based practice, Tikari Works. The house is set over three storeys, one below ground level and two above, accommodating two bedrooms, a kitchen, living and dining spaces as well as a planted courtyard accessible from the bedrooms at basement level. Kitchen and dining spaces are located on the ground floor while the living room is on the first floor.

Tik pocket edmund sumner 0038

Tik pocket edmund sumner 0038

The building façade is covered with a timber screen, designed to be a ‘theatrical’ take on the appearance of wooden garages and garden sheds. The screen also acts as a brise-soleil around the building envelope, and provides a degree of privacy for its residents. 

Tik pocket edmund sumner 0026

Tik pocket edmund sumner 0026

Architect’s view

Formerly a garage, the site for the Pocket House presented the practice with a series of demanding design constraints. In addition to the site’s limited footprint of just over 80m², there were various planning and daylighting constraints relating to neighbouring gardens and existing building lines.  The challenge for us as architects was to deliver a family home in a way which would not feel compromised by these limitations.

Through an iterative design process the plan was unlocked by placing the more private spaces of the bedrooms below ground and orientating them around a sunken courtyard.  A timber ‘pod’ placed in the darkest corner of this floor contains a family bathroom. The pod’s sides are articulated with cork-lined niches, storage and built-in desks. The kitchen and dining areas are located at ground level and are separated from the entrance sequence by another timber pod element. This element hides pragmatic functions, such as a WC, coat cupboard and kitchen storage. An open-plan living space sits on the first floor with street views obliquely concealed behind a timber screen. 

To further maximise space large doors fold back into niches, eliminating corridors and creating flow between rooms to make the entire plan active. Sightlines throughout the house are carefully curated to blur internal and external boundaries, and generous skylights with exposed structure help create volume, depth and visual interest in section.

Nicola Tikari, director, Tikari Works



Project data

Start date on site March 2017
Completion date April 2018
Gross internal floor area 105m2
Form of contract Construction Management Trade Contract for main subcontractor
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Tikari Works
Client Private
Structural engineer Built Engineers
M&E consultant SGA
Approved building inspector Jhai
Main contractor Tikari Works
Basement subcontractor Patterson Construction
CAD software used Microstation


Readers' comments (2)

  • Beautiful house - it strikes me though that these plots have historically been utilised by those in greater financial pressure than those with 'Grand Designs'.

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  • Ingenious and subtle, shows what can be achieved in a tight space where high land values justify the cost of constructing a basement.

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