“Please can you transform our tired end of terrace 1930’s bungalow into a home that makes the most of its natural setting alongside a park surrounded by gorgeous trees? By the way, our garden occasionally floods. Also, our house has three façades that lose heat. We also have to walk down a flight of stairs to get to the garden from our living spaces.”
These were some of the issues Neil Dusheiko Architects were asked to solve by a family of four, brought up in India, educated in the US, and now living in North London.
Drawing on the conditions of a waterlogged site alongside a verdant green border of mature trees forming a permeable boundary along an open park, we set to work.
To make sense of the changes to the topography, we terraced the ground plan of the house into three levels: entry, living, and garden. We then overlaid the key views to the landscape beyond and set about opening up the perimeter to connect to these. At every point where you turn, you connect visually with the outdoors through windows that frame the views in either a landscape or portrait format. Where views are framed in a landscape format – these became points of rest, from an indoor library to an oriel window projecting out among the tree branches.
The old pebble dash render is now insulated and clad in cedar, echoing the materiality of the fencing and trees beyond. And our brilliant landscape designer, Jane Brockbank, created a cleverly designed swale to channel away all the excess water.
The double-fronted house was divided up into three bays:
On the ground floor, two of the bays are made of black concrete, flowing out like a lava pier in the garden. Between them is the “ma” space, clad in clay pamments and cedar. Allowing one to reflect on the transition between cooking and eating.
On the first floor, the central bay contains the public spaces of the library and the two study spaces for the children. The top of the house at tree canopy level is dedicated to mind and body, with a gym, library, yoga room, and meditation shrine.
Homes are deeply personal spaces. When we think of the homes we make for our clients, we ensure that the spaces we create are a physical embodiment of their values as people. We don’t do ordinary.