Retaining the back wall of this home while adding a glazed extension made for a light kitchen and brighter living room
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If you want the light and space of open-plan living, but don’t wish to lose the original separation and proportions of a period home, something has to give, doesn’t it? For the couple who own this flat – part of a Victorian villa in London – the surprising answer was no.
The solution architect Theofanis Anastasiadis proposed gave them an open kitchen-diner extension overlooking the garden, but left the building’s original back wall intact, so the living room beyond it felt cocooning. What’s more, with the former door and window openings left in place, the living space gained daylight. It’s the best of all worlds.
Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A professional couple
Location Hackney, London
Property A flat in a converted Victorian house with two bedrooms and one bathroom
Extension dimensions Around 31 sq m
Architect Theofanis Anastasiadis of Scenario Architecture
Photos by Jan Piotrowicz
The ground-floor flat used to have a badly insulated conservatory on the back, which you can see in this ‘before’ photo. It was hot in summer and cold in winter and stopped the light reaching the living room beyond.
The bathroom (seen on the left of the old extension, rendered in white) was also located here and was in a bad state.
The new extension added a kitchen and dining area directly connected to the garden, while the bathroom was relocated inside the original building.
The addition takes its cue from the old one, with a pitched roof section. It doesn’t eat into the garden, either. “It occupies the space of the previous extension,” says Theofanis Anastasiadis. “We didn’t increase the floor space, we rearranged it so they could use it better.”
The flat is in a conservation area, and sticking to the original volume helped the planning process run smoothly. However, the replacement extension is contemporary and lets light into the flat rather than obstructing its passage.
The old conservatory was built on a wooden deck, so removing that allowed the new extension to have a soaring pitched roof for an airy feel. The glazed façade and skylights bring light into the kitchen-diner and the living room beyond.
The original back wall of the house is visible through the extension’s bifold doors. The central opening here is where the door used to be and access to the living space is up the stairs and through an original window opening. To the left is a second original window opening.
The frames of the glazing create contrast with the timber cladding, but after dark they recede, leaving the light behind them visible.
The flooring inside the extension is a cushioned vinyl that’s comfortable to walk on and warm underfoot. Although it’s dark in tone, it has a reflective quality that helps keep the interior bright.
The skylights bring light directly to the dining area.
Scraplight Drop pendant light, Graypants.
Iron railings have transformed the old window opening (left) and doorway (right) into Juliet balconies. “We wanted to tie in with older features, such as the cast-iron railings on the front of the property and in other parts of Hackney,” Theofanis says.
The flat’s kitchen used to be on the other side of the wall behind the dining table and had no natural light nor ventilation. The bathroom is now located in part of this space, giving the kitchen garden views as well as light and air.
What you need to know about Juliet balconies
Built-in seating was incorporated into the new layout to turn it into a living as well as dining and cooking space. It hugs the original back wall of the house and the staircase balustrade, creating a relaxing spot to sip a coffee or read.
For a similar black and white light, try the Nymane pendant lamp, Ikea.
Theofanis recommended a pale-coloured kitchen to contrast with the dark floor. He also designed a layout incorporating the storage and mid-level oven the couple required, and the pair then called in a kitchen company to fulfil the brief.
Browse dining tables in the Houzz Shop
The vinyl flooring was selected to be a good match with the slate the couple wanted on the terrace.
Positioning the sink by the window delivers a framed view of the garden.
The roof is wild sedum. “It creates nice views for the neighbours and the flat above,” says Theofanis. The living roof improves insulation, too, as well as increasing green space.
Read a beginner’s guide to green roofs
The extension is clad in sustainable Scottish larch. “It’s slightly brown but weathers to a consistent grey that will match the colours of the main building,” says Theofanis. “It makes a better connection with the garden’s trees and plants.”
What do you think of this unusual extension? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.