This time, Freehouse have to redesign a Victorian brick house into a house with a balanced combination of minimalism, a material-led approach and clever interventions that respond to their clients’ needs. The design appears modest, but packs when it comes to the clients’ expectations.
‘The client had lived in the house for a few years before we were appointed and so they came to us with a really clear idea of what they wanted,’ say the architects. ‘We wanted to create a home where the kitchen sits at the heart of everything and this was an idea which resonated strongly with the the family. With two young children it was also important that the kitchen afforded views throughout the ground floor, both internally and in the garden.’
The architect decided to opening the space in the communal areas. To make this young family of four can use this house for play, work and rest, they add a kitchen extension and strengthening the connectivity of the ground floor’s living are and also the garden. To keep everything simple and versatile, they choose a minimalist and crisp material palette of mainly oak and marble. And to clarify visually which parts are new and which old, they use darker brick on the rear volume.
Even though the design of the house appears straightforward and effortless, does not mean that this project has no challenge.
‘Navigating the strict conservation area policy whilst meeting the client’s aspirations for maximising the extent of change to the property was challenging,’ say Hagos and Bell. ‘Despite working methodically through rounds of pre-application advice before submitting our planning application, our design was eventually only granted consent after appeal.’
‘Working on residential projects really has to be a collaborative approach for the outputs to be truly be successful,’ they say. ‘We want our clients to be an active part of the design discussion and feel like they’re sharing in the authorship of the project. We were really fortunate that our clients, both working in creative fields, with a strong design sensitivity and were really engaged in the project, every step of the way. They brought many ideas to the discussion, a key example being the floating kitchen counter, which really brings a lightness and playfulness to the space.’