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Office S&M creates playfully crafted extension for three-child family

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The young firm was commissioned by a family in Ealing to refurbish their home, Valetta House, modernising and extending the spaces to give each child a distinct space

An infill extension on the ground floor opens up the living area, while a second floor extension provides an additional bedroom and bathroom. The floors are roughly divided into space downstairs for the adults and spaces upstairs for the three children, where colourful balustrades, curved walls and distinctive arched windows are designed to bring a sense of playfulness, defined by the repeated use of a strong yellow in fittings, windows and a skylight.

20170820 dsc 1532 lo res

20170820 dsc 1532 lo res


The exterior of the second floor extension is clad in untreated wooden shingles that reference the arch of these windows, designed to gradually turn grey over time. On the ground floor more ‘sophisticated’ touches are brought by the introduction of encaustic floor tiles and glazed herringbone wall tiles in the kitchen area, with a subdued palette contrasting the teal and yellow of the upper areas and helping to enhance the effect of natural light entering the space through new openings.

Architect’s view

We created a ’child-friendly’ house in the broadest sense of the word, adding curves to the walls, a playful snakes-and-ladders bannister to the new room, and an arched window for each child. Meanwhile the adults are treated to a rich variety of materials, from encaustic floor tiles and glazed herringbone tiles, to fabric banquettes, plywood fingerpulls and marble handrail ends.

01 long section and ground floor plan

01 long section and ground floor plan

Long section and ground floor plan

In this project colour was treated as an essential building material. Colours were discussed with the clients from the outset, and after many drawings, models and onsite tests, the final palette was chosen.

Using earthy, bold hues on the walls of the house allowed for a complete transformation of the spaces. The wall running alongside the staircase was painted in deep blue tones with a yellow lantern at the top, allowing ever-changing light to be carried through into the spaces below. Colour was used to reflect a softer light into the different rooms through rooflights and arched windows.

This also ensured that the light would constantly be changing in the rooms throughout the day and the seasons. The myriad of materials, textures and colours used in the house allowed for a feast for the senses!

Catrina Stewart, cofounder and director, Office S&M

01 window

01 window

Project data

Start on site August 2016  

Completion June 2017
Gross internal floor area 150m² including existing refurbished house and 50m² of additional extension floor space
Form of contract RIBA Domestic Project
Construction cost £165,000 
Construction cost per m² £1,100, including refurbished space as well as new
Office S&M
Structural engineer 
Built Engineers
Encaustic hall tiles Bert & May
Santorini yellow wall lights Sputnik Estudio
Herringbone kitchen splash back tiles Johnson
Yellow grout Mapei
Yellow arched windows Durable Windows
Cedar rounded shingle Marley Eternit
Approved building inspector 
Wilkinson Construction Consultants
Main contractor UTLL

05 rearelevationscolour

05 rearelevationscolour

AJ Small Projects is open for entry!

Do you have a low-cost gem of a scheme which could be crowned the nation’s best-loved prize? Then why not enter the much-loved AJ Small Projects Awards?

Run in association with long-term partner Marley Eternit, the awards celebrate completed projects with a contract value of £250,000 and under.

To find out more, please follow this link

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