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The two writers who live in this terraced house in north-west London needed more space to work from home but preferred not to move.  Instead we added the maximum permitted volume to the back of the house, lengthening the kitchen, built a new pavilion at the end of the garden and refurnished throughout.  The old house remained apparently unchanged, but everything was carefully renewed:  Oak-framed sash windows from Canada, black slate from the Delabole quarry in Cornwall, blue-fired bricks from Staffordshire, chimney pots of midlands clay, York stone slabs unearthed from the garden and floor boards reclaimed from an old school.  The robust and patterned brick materiality of the new buildings is taken from a proud 19th Century railway bridge nearby.  The new floor surfaces are poured asphalt - like the road under the bridge - ground down, highly polished and gently warmed. Two new rooms now face each other across the garden: the writer’s retreat behind dull copper shutters and the family kitchen, prising itself open with slightly angled surfaces and mirror reflections. The material language develops from one end to the other: the kitchen’s tough and uniform white-glazed brick walls re-form in the pavilion in frayed-edge herringbone pattern, turning bricks around to show the whole, playing the bare salmon-pink clay off the finished white glaze.


Contractor:  Procare

Engineer: INGealtoir

QS: Robert Martell & Partners

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WRITERS’ HOUSE

Queens Park, London

2009

Image: Cast iron pond made in a canal boat factory in the midlands