The main objective of the design was to peel back the layers of accretion that detracted from the elegance of the house. It was to be returned to its former glory by introducing light and simplicity throughout, including the attic and basement. Discussions with the Conservation Officer led to a successful application for the conversion of the attic into a bedroom with dormer windows to the rear, thus retaining the traditional appearance from the front.
Byzantine in its conception, the extension’s interior takes precedence. Its staid façade conceals a lantern-lit orangery that opens out onto the garden, replacing an ugly brick structure that robbed the house of light and views of the garden. A glazed link was designed to bring light into the rear circulation areas and a small lantern on the first floor ends light throughout the stairwell. The cellar was converted to utility, study and family entertainment space – an adaptable space suitable for the needs of a family house. The new layout also links the ground and first floor reception rooms.
All of this was achieved without harm to the historic property, with minimal loss of historic fabric and the interior significance was restored. A comprehensive refurbishment of the existing windows, roof, services and heating were all achieved in a sensitive scheme of alterations and adaptations.
Keeping existing historic properties in use is one of the most sustainable models of construction. Natural light improves the quality of internal spaces and reduces the requirement for artificial lighting throughout the house. Original windows were restored by Ventrolla. Insulating the roof and basement and installing an energy-efficient heating system improved the house’s overall performance.