Douglas Fir Home by Christian Brailey Architects

Fashionable extension to an attractive Edwardian Douglas Fir Home situated in London, United Kingdom, designed in 2021 by Christian Brailey Architects.

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Shoehorned into the again of an attractive Edwardian terraced home, the prevailing studio was fully unloved and underwhelming. Each inch of the wall was stained orange by cigarette smoke, the one glazing was falling out of its rotten frames and the entire place was uninsulated. This resulted in excessive ranges of damp and excessive black mould. Nonetheless, there was a chance on this property, which lay in its ‘good bones’ and the ample, overgrown non-public backyard.

The design breathes new life into the prevailing area. The central hub of the previous studio has been remodeled into open plan kitchen-living-dining throughout two ranges, making it actually the center of the house. It kinds an L-shaped area, flowing into the brand new extension, which maximises the sunshine – essential to a north-west dealing with side. The insufficient kitchen has been repositioned and changed with an expansive, forged concrete worktop prime above deep Douglas fir plywood models. It’s lit from above by a three-meter lengthy rooflight. The cut up degree creates a welcome division between the cosy residing area and the sensible, double-height kitchen. However this sinking of the brand new flooring space was additionally a needed step to keep away from the extension imposing on neighbours or the treasured view of Alexandra Palace which is protected as a part of the Conservation Space. All the thermal envelope has been upgraded with high-performance double glazing and pure wooden fibre insulation, chosen for its breathability, and acoustic and thermal properties. MVHR supplies recent air all through. This all contributes to the flat’s low power consumption, calculated at simply 1.3 tonnes of CO2 per yr.

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From the outset, the extension was considered as a single piece of cabinetry crafted out of a single materials – Canadian Douglas fir. The very highest ranges of carpentry have been achieved with the extension being fully prefabricated and erected in workshop situations by a crew of extremely expert carpenters in Devon. The extension construction, together with all of the doorways and home windows, was then disassembled, transported, craned in and erected on-site inside a matter of days. This was additionally important when working by way of the pandemic in 2020. The bold scheme will increase the footprint by 50% to offer a separate bed room with the flexibility to create a second bed room for household development. The brand new bed room is nestled throughout the lush planting seen by way of an unlimited image window and secluded bench seat. The Douglas fir ceiling with its uncovered beams makes this sleeping space very restful, a sense which is amplified when it rains and the sunshine drumming is heard on the roof as if in a tent. The built-in wardrobe which serves the bed room additionally acts as a division between the bed room and the eating room.
Flooding by way of every room and down every step is a tactile concrete flooring that, like a frozen lake, curls and ripples with character. Sharpening the screed removes the necessity for added flooring finishes and was required in both case given the bottom situations. All radiators have been eliminated in lieu of zoned underfloor heating encased within the concrete screed which acts as a warmth sink. The vertical faces of the steps reveal the casting course of and are speckled with air holes. Beside the steps main into the sunken extension is a clean concrete column, encasing the steels which help the construction above.

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The grand proportions of the three.5m tall window and door within the residing area now look onto the extension and the sheltered courtyard. The concrete inside flows outdoors too, the place it kinds the upstand of the timber extension, paving slabs and the wall of the planter on the other facet. Shade has been embraced right here. Lush ferns and have Acer bushes supply a tranquil, changeable image to look onto from inside, appreciated at evening with discrete up-lighting.

Utilising each little bit of area, the backyard acts as one other room, significantly in summer time. The shady courtyard-like area by the extension gives respite from the summer time warmth, while beneficiant seating on the finish of the backyard basks in it. Backyard storage is hidden in a purpose-built Douglas fir bench and barbecue station. Rainfall is captured from the brand new extension and redirected to the backyard through perforated drains and a soakaway to satisfy the watering wants of the vegetation. The backyard has been levelled and landscaped, with a cautious stability between wildlife and socialising at its coronary heart. Hints of the previous property can nonetheless be seen from the skin, together with the arch of the previous again doorways, retained to match the remainder of the terrace. Even three metallic water tanks which have been dug up throughout the extension excavations (performed by the purchasers throughout the first lockdown in 2020) have been lovingly repurposed as seating and planters within the backyard; a nod to the historical past of the home.

Appearing as architect, shopper, venture supervisor and labourer, that is the primary accomplished venture launching Christian Brailey Architects.

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Pictures courtesy of Christian Brailey Architects

Go to Christian Brailey Architects

– by Matt Watts