IBLA has reworked an Edwardian house in Highgate, north London, to create a large family home with a separate self-contained flat on the top floor. The dwelling had previously undergone various alterations, including subdivision into three flats, and was characterised by a series of disconnected staircases that cluttered the plan and obscured daylight.
The solution was to cutout the floor of one of the flats to open up a proper stairwell, explains the architect. This enabled the circulation space to be joined up across the main dwelling, and light to flood down from a new skylight via a shaft, which ‘tunnels’ through the flat above.
Lower ground, ground, first and second-floor plans
A new rear extension unites the previously disconnected living, kitchen and dining areas into large, open, yet clearly defined spaces. Inspired by traditional cupolas, a diamond-shaped lantern crowns the dining space giving a sense of height and grandeur, as well as bringing light deep into the plan. Three, fully-glazed sliding patio doors punctuate the spaces, allowing the circulation to flow out on to two connected terraces, which are conceived as exterior rooms.
Ceiling vaults have been ‘carved’ out over a minimalistic white kitchen, which, along with the living space, provides lit shelves to display the client’s collection of Persian ornaments and artefacts.
On the upper floors, a series of bold new bathrooms and a luxurious master bedroom suite with a generous dressing area and ensuite sit alongside redecorated rooms with period features. The intention is to create a calm and beautiful combination of new and old.