Will Gamble reworks Grade II-listed villa with Palm Springs-inspired extension

The project to extend, reconfigure and refurbish the detached house, which is located in a north London conservation area, has seen the restoration of its upper parts and the creation of a contemporary multifunctional living space on the lower ground floor.

  

The design was influenced by the client’s strong affiliation to Palm Springs and the Desert Modernist architecture typical of the region.

A lightweight contemporary addition with floor-to-ceiling glass sits on a monolithic terrazzo plinth, projecting out into the surrounding garden.

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The use of terrazzo and Douglas fir externally continues into the interior, with terrazzo walls and floor-to-ceiling Douglas fir joinery. Tying the whole space together is a lattice timber roof and a polished concrete floor.

A banquette for informal dining inspired by American diners sits at the centre of the space but the open plan living arrangement can also be subdivided by sliding pocket doors to create a private meeting room.

At the rear of the garden, a pavilion building, The Hide, has been constructed for use as a yoga studio and home office. The pavilion has a sedum roof and is clad in a combination of wavy and smooth cork, which both insulates and creates a degree of camouflage against the old brick boundary walls, ensuring the structure merges into its historic context.

 

Architect’s view

Reuse is the best form of sustainability – Palm Springs has been sensitively refurbished throughout (including reinstating original period features) so that it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Palm Springs balances the elegance of terrazzo with the organic grain of Douglas fir. The materials were chosen for their visual impact, versatility, and longevity. The primary materials are expressed through various components including walls, furniture, landscaping and joinery to create a rigorous consistency. The timber lattice roof ties seamlessly with vertical fins and joinery; the terrazzo is showcased throughout the property in the form of worktops and furniture – a bespoke banquette seat, table and basin designed by WGA. The co-ordination of each of these elements required a meticulous approach to detail.

The disciplined use of materials internally and externally creates continuity and a strong relationship between the contemporary spaces, historic spaces, and the garden. Across the upper floors mouldings and original features are carefully reinstated or refurbished through a commitment to the original home’s craftsmanship and heritage value.

The Hide presented a challenge from a planning perspective due to its close proximity to the listed building. To alleviate initial concerns, it was proposed that the building be clad in cork. Its mottled appearance and the texture of the cork allows it to almost blend into its immediate context with little impact on the setting of the listed building.

Will Gamble, director, Will Gamble Architects

 

Client’s view

Remaining utterly sympathetic to the listed status of the street and house, WGA has, through a combination of clever use of restored historic fabric and new intelligent insertions of materiality and texture, returned what was previously a pair of maisonettes back into a beautiful and expansive Victorian villa.

The lower ground extension has significantly increased the floor area and created new connections between the garden, garden studio and the house, with a flexible entertaining space, perfectly equipped for anything from hosting a board meeting for 25 to family gatherings and parties.

WGA has conjured up something of a hidden gem with this beautiful intervention.

 

Source:Will Gamble Architects

Project data

Start on site November 2021
Completion February 2023
Gross internal floor area 305m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 539m2
Form of contract Design-Bid-Build, JCT Minor Works
Construction cost £700,000 (Construction only, excluding joinery, interiors and fees and ex VAT)
Construction cost per m2 £2,500 (construction only)
Architect Will Gamble Architects
Client Private
Structural engineer Axiom Structures
Interior designer Will Gamble Architects & Huxley Home
Project manager Brooke
Principal designer Will Gamble Architects
Approved building inspector JMP
Main contractor LJB Building Services
CAD software used Vectorworks

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