A large house in the Holly Grove Conservation area of Peckham, south London, has been refurbished and extended by Ian McChesney Architects. The area, once run-down, is “experiencing something of a renaissance, with the shops at Bellenden Road close-by and other interesting developments slightly further away such as the Bussey Building and Peckham Levels”, says McChesney.
The original house was built between 1842 and 1862, shortly before the overground rail line opened in 1867. Predating an intense period of suburban development that followed the introduction of the railway, at the time of its construction the area would have been regarded as out-of-town and rural. The three-bay house of three storeys plus semi-basement is in stock brick with stucco dressings and a doorway with engaged Doric columns supporting an entablature. The simple rectangular floor plan comprised one room to the front, one to the back over the four levels.
With no clear bathroom spaces in the original plan, a four-storey extension has been constructed, providing them at the first and second floor levels. The client chose to place the main kitchen and living area on the upper ground level, with a snug living room on the lower ground floor. A new helical staircase occupies the upper to lower ground volume of the new extension and provides an enhanced sense of status to the snug living area. The new extension comprises a steel skeletal frame clad in Siberian larch boards which, due the proximity of the neighbouring house were impregnated in a Class-0 fire retardant treatment.
Two new windows, echoing the simple details of the original neo-Georgian fenestration, but contrasting in their scale and proportion, were set in the facade of the new extension. The helical staircase, fabricated by Millimetre, is spare and contemporary in its design.