“Altering the diagram of the terraced house”
Having just had their third child, the owners of Hugo Road asked us to re-think the way in which the house could work for them: in particular, how the existing space could be reconfigured to accommodate a growing family. They were struggling to cope. They needed a 4th bedroom and considerably more storage space. They also needed a home workspace. The house seemed far too small and the alternative would have been to sell and move to a bigger house, invariably in another neighbourhood; another school district.
The house was almost big enough. It had been extended once before, gaining bedroom 3 and an awardwinning kitchen extension. The problem was that it had too many living rooms, no storage and still not enough bedrooms. This problem was a function of its diagram. Being a typical terraced house with the entrance at raised ground floor meant an entire level was set aside for reception rooms that were seldom used. One was a de facto home office and the other was a dumping ground. Accessing the kitchen and garden at lower ground level – the heart of the house – required entering at the raised ground level and then going down again.
The circulation pattern needed to change. The diagram needed to be altered. If we could retrofit a new entrance directly into garden level then we could refurbish the raised ground level into something more useful. We said, “Why not make another entrance on the side of the house, one that directly accesses the lower ground level between the kitchen and the family room?”. That way the upstairs living rooms could be part of the private realm.
We utilised the narrow side passage to make a slender, 2-storey extension to the side of the house, connecting the lower level to the street, and creating service spaces that link back into the main house through doorways in the fireplace alcoves. The extension also allows access directly to the garden from the street, in case you want to go straight from the front to the back without going inside the house. If you had a muddy, wet dog with you for example. Or a bicycle. Or a child. Or multiples of all three.
The project started in August 2014 and spent two years in the design stages. With the owners we poured over every detail. We visited joinery shops and window manufacturers together. We tendered, value engineered and then tendered again. Despite numerous increases in scope resulting in the refurbishment of the entire house, the project was delivered well ahead of the Christmas deadline and £12,000 under the £400,000 budget limit.
uction commenced in February 2017, and upon completion in December the owners exclaimed the house was “exactly the game-changer they had hoped it would be.”