Lined in poplar plywood, a loft extension to a north London terrace house by Inglis Barashi Loddo Architects is intended to create a “treehouse-like feel”, enhanced by the design of the new plywood stair leading up to the space, which hangs from above, “inviting those below to climb up”.
It is the architects’ second project at the house, having remodelled the ground floor five years ago, and adds a new bedroom and shower room to accommodate the needs of a growing family. “From the outset”, says IBLA, “the intention was for the new loft space to be another modern addition; childhood memories of hide-and-seek games in the attic, long sunny afternoons making dens in the trees, and secret spaces with dreamy views over the treetops were imagined as part of the design process”.
The pale plywood lining is reminiscent of wooden toys and has a softness and tactility that makes it ideal for a child’s bedroom, suggests the architect. It extends over both walls and ceilings, and is secret-nailed into the substructure rather than screwed “so as to give a sense of playful ethereality”, says IBLA, “as well as an informal character to the space, in contrast to the traditional painted picture-rails and elaborate cornices throughout the rest of the house”.
A large dormer in the rear-facing slope of the roof was detailed externally to present as thin an edge as possible. The structurally-glazed window frame is also concealed from the inside, in order to give an unobstructed view out, as well as a minimal feel within. A built-in plywood desk and seat are positioned directly beneath the window.
A bathroom was also added adjacent to the new bedroom, from which a skylight gives a view of the newly-repaired iron finial atop the house’s turret. Flooring is in seamless rubber, and storage is carefully integrated to allow the spaces to appear uncluttered. The poplar ply and cool greys applied to niches carved out of the walls are enlivened by pops of colour from the flush doors.