Summerhouse Road, London N16

Client: Family of four
Construction Cost: £200k
Duration: 24 weeks – Autumn 2015
Borough: Hackney


Architect: ARCHEA
Building Control: Assent South East
Engineer: DEC Consulting Engineers Ltd
Photographer: Mai-ling Leung

The property is a Victorian end of terrace family home in Stoke Newington, nestled between Church Street and Abney Park Cemetery within the Stoke Newington Conservation Area.

The existing property had a number of low-grade existing additions, including a ground floor infill extension, upper ground floor bathroom extension, and partially converted attic space. As such the primary objective was to overhaul the existing property, bringing the quality of the existing additions up to modern standards in terms of aesthetics & function, and also building performance. Planning approval was also gained for a 2nd-floor extension (to accommodate a much needed second bathroom) and also the addition of a large format dormer extension adding a large new formal bedroom.

A new pebble dash finish was applied to the rear of the property to provide a sympathetic and cost-effective method of unifying the various existing and new extensions. The tone and texture of this finish, whilst not being original, and perhaps having negative associations from various mid-century applications, provides a neutral, earthy finish which we think sits far more comfortably within this particular context than a comparable coloured render system.

The existing basement had a particularly low ceiling height, and the space was disrupted by a number of structural walls. The main intent at this level was to open the space up as much as possible, whilst also working within the existing head height and structural constraints in order to produce an efficient/ relatively low-cost intervention. The space was required to provide a new open plan kitchen and dining space with improved views of and access to the rear garden, a new family living room, and a utility zone housing the laundry appliances and general household storage. The extended kitchen/ dining area has been configured to provide distinct zones for each function, with the kitchen connecting to directly to the main living space, the utility zone, the dining space, and also the rear garden. A full height 3-panel bi-fold door system is used to maximise light into the basement and also maximise views of the newly finished garden and surrounding context of Church Street and Abney Park Cemetery.

The existing attic was also of very limited head height and it was necessary to drop the floor to the rear half of the new attic dormer bedroom to allow adequate head height to the main portion of the room, with the bed then set on a raised platform to the front of the property - this technique works with the structural strategy of the original house, creating an efficient solution which also allows the existing ceiling height to the existing master bedroom, to the front of the house, to remain untouched.

A new family bathroom was then fitted at 1st-floor level, with a new shower room provided within a new 2nd-floor extension.