Designed by Richard Keep Architects, this significantly reworked and extended 1930s house is located in the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area of north London. Occupying a prominent corner plot, the original two-storey dwelling sat amongst much grander houses and was subsequently subdivided into a pair of two-bedroom flats in the 1980s. The client/architect purchased the upper floor apartment together with the freehold of the property and embarked on a series of extensions to convert the small flat into a family home.
The host building comprises two offset brick elements addressing Laurier Road and a single-storey brick garage facing York Rise. The new works add a zinc box, terrace and timber planters to each element of the existing structure, but in different configurations. The new-build extensions are designed to increase both the mass and coherence of the corner site. Crittal windows replace UPVC frames in keeping with the original style of the building. All new-build elements are clad in zinc to make a clear distinction between old and new, while also complementing the local context.
Lower-ground, first and second-floor plans; sections
A new entrance and front garden provide access to a large lateral duplex occupying the top two floors. Four bedrooms and three bathrooms are housed within the lower level zinc box. Windows are positioned to allow daylight to filter down into the central corridor on the bedroom level. The top floor living accommodation maximises daylighting and views of surrounding area, including Highgate Hill.
The corner zinc box contains the living room and is set back to create a new balcony behind the existing parapet. The end box contains the kitchen with the dining room and herb terrace in the gap between. The lower zinc block houses a new master suite.
The lateral living, dining and kitchen areas are all conjoined but separately defined by tapering ceilings and a central rooflight defining each space. A long horizontal window frames Highgate Hill and provides views of the sunset from all corners of the living areas. A new staircase to the rear links the two levels and gives access to a large roof terrace.
The facade detailing is intended to orient each zinc box to its respective street, create a sense of rhythm, and provide a degree of solar shading and privacy from long street views. Glazed fins align with the existing windows, visually tying the old and new elements together. Each fin is individually angled to open up the best view from its respective window.
The sloping roofs and rear elevation are largely defined by the right of light angles to the adjacent properties at the rear, with the former providing eaves storage that can be accessed from the main living space. Simple joinery detailing in the living spaces conceals the angled storage areas, drinks cupboard and television.