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RISE Design Studio completes Douglas fir-lined extension to London house

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The 180m² project features an oriel window which sits in dialogue with a third-floor reading pod

RISE Design Studio has designed a rear and dormer extension to a semi-detached house in London, along with a complete internal renovation, the only elements of the house being retained are the front and side masonry walls.

Along with the retrofit, RISE has designed an oriel window, on the ground floor to sit in dialogue with the third-floor reading pod. Both are orientated towards the home’s backland copse. The larger openings on ground and second floors also look out onto the same view.

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The material palette is simple: Dinesen Douglas fir lines the floor on all levels, as well as the stair, balustrades, book shelves and architraves to all doors. In the kitchen and reading pod, the joinery is birch ply with a ply ceiling in the kitchen. 

There is a 4.5m-high stained glass window to the side elevation with white, grey and clear glazing.

Rise douglas©edmund sumner 0017

Architect’s view

The project was designed, in many ways, from the inside out: we took the absolute limits of permitted development rules in terms of what we could achieve in increasing the volumes on both the ground and second floor levels (rear and dormer extensions) and then reshaped these standard volumes in order to create the spaces set out in the client’s brief.

In addition we created the spaces with an aim to orientate the views out (from main sliding doors, dormer windows and both oriel windows) towards a backland copse, evoking the feeling of being outside London. The volumes of the internal spaces at the rear (rear extension and dormer) evolved from an iterative process of reviewing the maximum potential in planning policy and then reshaping these volumes, framing views and creating key openings (including the frameless glazed envelope between old and new in the kitchen).

RISE Design Studio

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Client’s view

It is a curious process: remodelling a house that you have lived in for 5 years. You don’t come at it with entirely fresh eyes, rather a better understanding of what it is you want, how the house has to work for you, where the light falls at certain times of the day, the balance of needs for open plan and private spaces. This informed so much of the process and made the contribution of our architect’s perspective invaluable.

What we love is how all the elements we planned with huge attention to detail interface with all the unexpected elements, the elements you didn’t know you’d love, that you could only know from living there – how you would only ever want to walk around the house barefoot because the wood feels so pleasant underfoot, how the 4 metre stained-glass window in whites and opaques takes on totally different colours everyday depending on the weather, the feeling of fresh air blowing through the slatted external shuttering when the kitchen doors are opened to their max.

Living in a highly urban environment but with the benefit of a garden, one of the key pleasures for us is the way the house has been rearticulated with angles to enjoy the best bits of our garden and surrounding trees and views. The multi-stemmed birch at the end of our garden can be seen all the way from the living room, as the spaces open up through the step-down dining room, to finally be perfectly framed as you perch in the kitchen oriel window. From the mezzanine reading nook in the loft, the angled window directs your gaze to a collection of older trees, that show-off with great seasonal variety.

The loft space and kitchen feel particularly spacious, allowing for plenty of storage as well as room to move and dance with the kids.

Although we love it in the day time – all the light and shadows created throughout, from lots of big windows, watching clouds float by through the glass, the beautiful textures of the long wide knotty floor boards we used visible, family and friends socialising, at the end of the day, when it is dark outside, the house feels like magic. The shadows are darker and the house glows with lights turned low.

01 proposed floor plans part1

Project data

Start on site June 2018
Completion date June 2019
Gross internal floor area 180m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 232m²
Form of contract JCT Minor Works
Construction cost £450,000
Construction cost per m² £2,500
Architect RISE Design Studio
Client Private
Structural engineer CAR
M&E consultant Enhabit
QS RISE Design Studio
Sustainability consultant Enhabit
Project manager RISE Design Studio
Approved building inspector Salus
Main contractor Capital Building Contractors (London)
CAD software used ArchiCAD

Hrg 190820 proposed elev + section part1

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