Black Ridge House, Waltham Forest

The Black Ridge house is an extension to an existing 3-bedroom Victorian terraced house forming part of the Warner Estate in Walthamstow. The project creates a light filled spacious extension with an open plan kitchen, dining, living area at ground floor. There is a new master bedroom and skylit bathroom in the first-floor rear extension and a green sedum roof blanket.

Project Description

The home incorporates many energy saving features including a high degree of insulation, robust airtight detailing, under floor heating in the extension, extensive skylights and highly insulated doubled glazed metal windows. The design of the extension was inspired by the roof lines and rhythm of the early Warner houses. The building form responded to site constraints, with the roof line being respectful to the neighbouring properties.

The extension forms a contrast to the Victorian brickwork so that the two elements of the house are distinct and a separate visual language is used. Our design embraces the philosophy of Biophilic design principles, addressing our innate attraction to nature and natural processes. By constructing the extension out of a natural product [timber] whose surface is formed by a natural process [fire] – we celebrate nature. The design also includes ideas of wabi-sabi – a world view that is based on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Beauty is seen as being “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete”.

The Shou Sugi Ban technique of burning is used on wood with differing age, water and sap content and the results are not always controlled – this process allows for a richness of texture, colour and grain which is at once beautiful and spontaneous. Thinner timber cladding panel on the first floor and a charred black Shou Sugi Ban panelled cladding panel with a wide format on the ground floor breaks up the massing and differentiates between the two levels giving a different sense of scale and detail.

The kitchen island utilises a live edge on the counter top giving a sense of a hand-crafted approach to the kitchen within a modern interior. As well as natural oak for the worktop and cupboard doors. The sliding timber door was made from reclaimed timber panels, paired with exposed black steel track further creates a modern industrial feel.

Client Testimonial

Neil was a dream to work with. I’d seen his work previously and was so impressed with the way he used both natural and artificial light to add interest to space. From the moment we started working together he understood what we wanted to achieve with our project – his creativity and attention to detail added real excitement to the process, and I can truly say that the final product, our Blackridge House, is more than we could have hoped for..I would love to do another project with him… just waiting for the right opportunity!

Jez and Harriett


Shortlisted – NLA Awards Don’t Move Improve 2018
Shortlisted – AJ Retrofit Awards 2018
Shortlisted – George Clark Medal 2018
Commendation – Schueco Awards 2018 Individual House Improvement
Winner – NHIC Award for Best Use of Aluminium Systems


Tim Crocker