Refurbishment and extension of a Victorian terraced house overlooking the River Ouse. Photography by Mel Yates and Studio Ben Allen
The typical L-shaped terraced house is reached either by the riverside pedestrian walk or from a back lane. Grand on the front, the houses are utilitarian at the rear, with small backyards adjoining narrow brick lanes. It was the simple beauty of these rear spaces, a landscape almost completely of one material: brick façades, yards and lanes that was the inspiration and departure point for the design.
The extension, built of load-bearing York bricks, fills the backyard, leaving a small glazed courtyard garden, which brings light deep into the house. It contains a kitchen, living and work space. The roof of the extension is comprised of two structural barrel vaults (the brickwork is load-bearing), built of local, hand-made York bricks.
On the east elevation the two glazed vault-ends provide high-level light from the back lane. On the west side, one of the vaults frames a view of the courtyard. The newly enlarged ground floor creates one expansive space, with the courtyard appearing as a room within a room.
Ben Allen, principal, Studio Ben Allen
Start on site February 2016
Completion June 2016
Gross internal floor area 264m²
Architect Studio Ben Allen
Client Paul Kirkman and Lilly Shahravesh
Structural engineer Mason Clark Associates
CDM co-ordinator Studio Ben Allen
Approved building inspector Yorkshire Building Control
Contractor JA Pike Building Contractor
Joinery Broadleaf Joinery
CAD software used Rhino
Detail and specification
Materials throughout are robust, utilitarian and designed to last and improve with age. The cupboard doors are solid oak (engineered tri-ply block board) and the concrete counter is supported on three solid concrete arches.
The heated floor is a cement screed that is typically used as a sub-floor. The contractor cast the kitchen counter. Finding products suitable to treat the counter and floor without a specialist contractor to advise was a challenge – overcome with a number of tests and a patient contractor.
A bike store caters for the clients’ keen love of cycling (it also disguises the bin store; the bike store was by happy co-incidence also a planning condition).
The first-floor bathroom also follows the utilitarian theme. The sanitaryware is from a wide range of budget producers. In order to unify the diverse elements we wanted all parts to be natural brass (as oppose to PVD plating as is commonly used now), which would also tarnish over time. We had the chrome stripped off, exposing the brass bases and, where necessary, replaced the non-brass parts (the cross-head taps are repurposed radiator valve heads).
The escutcheons and backsplash are laser-cut from sheet brass. The stair to the attic and bedroom wardrobes is designed as one element that interlocks through the central wall of the house. The stairs are computer (CNC)-milled from birch plywood and made as a kit of parts to save costs and for quick assembly on site. In order to save on material, the architects produced nesting plans for all of the kitchen and cupboard wood panels, showing how they could be cut with minimum wastage.
Ben Allen, principal, Studio Ben Allen
1. Furnishings Textiles by Kvadrat
2. Porcelain light fitting for kitchen Zangra
3. York bricks Reclaimed to match existing
4. Bathroom wall and floor tiles Villeroy & Boch Pro Architectura, 100×100mm white and grey
5. Tiles Matt brass finish. Ironmongery and splashback
6. Bathroom taps and spout Ultra with Helix cross-head valves. Stripped back to base brass
7. Porcelain light fitting Zangra
8. Kitchen cabinet knobs Natural brass cabinet knobs by Old Schoolhouse Electrical
9. Solid oak joinery
10. Kitchen floor Cement screed floor sealed with MN Stainstop from Extensive
11. Kitchen counter Concrete counter and support by contractor, sealed with MN Stainstop from Extensive
12. Voile and textiles Kvadrat
13. CNC-cut stairs, bedroom and cabinets 19/38mm birch plywood
14. Door handles Zepplin door handles by Tibberup Hoekeren of Denmark