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Groves Natcheva delicately extends 1930s Hampstead home

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A ‘subtle tapestry of details’ tell the story of the refurbishment and extension of an early 20th-century house on Platt’s Lane 

The original house was built for the German actor Conrad Veidt who fled Nazi Germany in 1933, and while the original architect is unknown, dark brick and tiles with subtle Art Deco motifs run through the detailing.

A prior renovation had seen many of the original features lost, while its cellular plan led to poor circulation between rooms. Groves Natcheva convinced the client of the merits of retaining the building’s unique situation on the lane, surrounded by more orderly houses set back from the road, while delicately expanding it.

This led to around 100m² of additional space being created, with large glazed entrances as well as new bronze roofs. The composition is designed to enhance the features of the old house as well as celebrating the new, and areas where windows were removed have been made apparent with shuttered concrete.

159a1554 hdr

159a1554 hdr

Source: Helenio Barbetta

Architect’s view

The brief called for increasing the size of the house, married with the ambition to rationalise the layout to suit the living habits of the client. In particular, our client showed a desire for a greater connection to the garden and there was a need to bring the house up to modern standards of heating and insulation. The client’s experience in property meant that they wanted to be involved all the way through the project. All variations could be costed and agreed within a short timeframe which aided procurement and helped us complete on time and within the client’s budget. It is a pleasure to work with a client who is interested in good design and understands the building process. 

We chose to engage with the existing building with a lightness of touch always, choosing to tell the story of the refurbishment within the fabric of the building. Great care was taken at the intersections between old and new, rather than creating a sudden distinction we chose to feather and blend to create a palimpsest of old and new, bringing greater comprehension to the overall composition. Colours and materials create a subtle tapestry of details, which tell the story of the refurbishment.

Adriana Natcheva, founding partner, Groves Natcheva Architects

Presentation section

Presentation section


Project data

Start on site January 2016
Completion April 2017
Gross internal floor area Original house: 195m², Refurbished and extended house: 305m²
Form of contract Negotiated Tender under a JCT Standard Building Contract
Construction cost £1.95 million
Construction cost per m2 £6,393
Architect Groves Natcheva Architects
Client Private
Structural engineer TR Collier & Associates
Planning consultant CMA Planning 
Party wall surveyor Coyne & Co
CDM coordinator Groves Natcheva Architects
Building control Regional Building Control 
Main contractor Quadrillion Construction
CAD software used MicroStation

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