Courtyard House New Build
London-based architects De Rosee Sa Convert have converted a previously redundant garage site into a bespoke family home featuring strong architectural lines and natural materials referencing the site’s heritage.
Housed on the site of a former wood yard between rear terraced gardens and a row of 16 West London garages, the existing storage shed was originally purchased to prevent it from becoming overdeveloped. Seeing a possible opportunity, the client decided to develop the land themselves in line with the planning regulations, which set a vertical limit to the height of the property, stipulating that any new form must match the outline of the existing single-storey shed. Twenty-one party wall awards with neighbouring properties had to be agreed before work could start.
Working closely with the client, De Rosee Sa proposed a new basement level to meet the brief for two bedrooms while adhering to the strict planning regulations. The ground floor is divided between the living room, kitchen and bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. The second bedroom is located in the basement level with its own external courtyard and bathroom.
Inserting windows into the boundary walls was not possible due to privacy issues and instead, De Rosee Sa Architects were faced with the conundrum of lighting a narrow 37-metre-long site. Three external courtyards were added to the plans to draw in light, with a series of Crittal-style steel and glass doors installed to connect these courtyards to the interior and provide views through the entire length of the open property. The house can be entirely opened up during warmer weather, blurring the distinction between the outside and inside environment.
The internal walls of the courtyards are clad in Western Red Cedar battens, referring to the site’s history as a timber storage yard. The battens continue inside to form two cedar-clad ‘volumes’ that contain smaller functional spaces such as the toilet, study and utility room. The textural quality of the cladding softens the minimal, white interiors and complements the steel framing and herringbone-patterned parquet flooring.
Commenting on the project Max de Rosee, Director of De Rosee Sa Architects explained, “We worked very hard in the initial stages to convince the clients that developing this house was a risk worth taking. We had to convey its potential. We wanted to contrast the crisp white walls and ceiling with some strong materials so we spent a considerable amount of time considering the detail of the western red cedar battens and granite setts in the courtyard surfaces. The most satisfying aspects of the project are the top light that pours into the interiors and the long views through the courtyards. Once inside, you forget that this house is in London.“
De Rosee Sa Architects www.deroseesa.com
Location/ West London
Area/ 110 square-metres
Consultants / eb7, behan partnership, BCS Consulting
Photo credit/ Alex James