Nimtim Architects has used rising ground to advantage in a south-east London house extension


Nimtim was approached by a young family to assess the extension and reconfiguration of the existing ground floor layout of their 1960s house in south-east London, part of a terrace of houses close to Nunhead Cemetery. The clients were keen to have a contemporary addition that still related to the original structure. In the existing layout kitchen and living areas were separate and the rising, stepped back garden felt physically and visually disjoined from the property.

Nimtim proposed a full width rear extension with what is effectively a sunken living space stepping up to a raised kitchen and patio area that connect more naturally to the existing ground level. The change in level was used to advantage, allowing soft demarcation of zones and an improved visual connection between inside and outside. Practically it allowed for the inclusion of a new floor with underfloor heating, without any excavation works. The design also freed up the old kitchen to become a flexible space; potentially a kids’ snug/guest bedroom/home office. A new compact shower room and under-stair utility storage completed the brief.

A bold zinc sawtooth roof sits above the extension, referencing the geometry of the original zigzag roofline of the terrace. The new roof includes three south-west facing roof lights, flooding the space with light and creating dynamic shadows. Diagonal slats of Siberian Larch are used to clad the rear of the extension – a playful reference to the vertical cladding on the original house.

This external wood is left untreated to weather to a silvery grey, creating greater cohesion with the continuous concrete flooring from kitchen/dining to patio. Dark grey sliding doors and a generous picture window frame the new raised flower bed and garden patio.


The clients wanted a neutral, natural palette throughout in order to compliment the existing colours of their furniture, art and other belongings. The principal rafters of the Siberian Larch roof construction continue down the walls to form piers, lending a rhythm and aesthetic to the internally-exposed structure.

Birch plywood is used extensively for internal panelling, bespoke joinery and kitchen cabinetry, its grain creating visual interest and adding a warm glow to the interior. The use of timber externally and internally creates an extension that is both fun and contemporary while the natural effect of weathering will happen with the passing of time. The floor is poured concrete and meets the internal exposed light grey blockwork rear elevation wall. White formica-faced plywood has been used for the kitchen and island worktop, and handmade monochromatic Bert and May tiles form the kitchen splash back, the angled division of their glaze echoing the roof structure.


Additional Images


nimtim architects
Structural engineer
Blue Engineering
Main contractor
TW Space Conversions
Siberian Larch
Silva Timber

Patent Glazing
Doors & windows
Concrete flooring
Floor Technologies