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Ranulf Road, London NW2

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Having lived on the opposite side of the road for some years, our client acquired this large property in West Hampstead with the intention of modernising as well as significantly extending.

The house was built in the1930s in the ‘arts and crafts’ Hocroft Estate. On the street it was 2 storeys plus loft floor, dropping an extra storey to a lowered south-facing garden at the back.

With playing fields at the bottom of the garden, our client wanted to explore the potential of a design that was more sympathetic to the site and opportunities in terms of levels and relationships to the landscape. Our proposals did this by extending the whole house towards the garden. We moved the main living space into the lower ground floor, with 4 metre high ceilings, full-height glass doors and skylights, to make a robust relationship with the garden and new pool house whilst giving lots of natural light.

Architecturally, our client wanted to maintain the traditional feel of dormers, punched windows and red brick for the rear expansion of the upper floors. After a good deal of debate and experimentation, the solution we agreed was a stark counterpoint to this, with a sinuous ribbon wall of glass for the lower living and pool extension. The reflective treatment of the glass gives solar-shading but also heightens this contrast with the brick as well as giving a sense of all-around ‘landscape’ wherever viewed from outside.

The rear extension makes a much deeper floorplan than before, so we had to work hard to get light into the middle of the house. Our solution is a new steel central staircase rising in a glass-topped atrium that drops open-plan from a glass-sided entrance hall or climbs in sweeping curves up to the bedroom floors. At the very top, the expanded loft floor has new bedroom space with 3 large dormer windows giving views over south London.

By extending rearwards - the upper floors by 3 metres, the garden level extension by 4 metres, then building a swimming pool on the back of that with a new basement underneath everything - we were able to grow the house from 500m2 to over 1000m2.

Contractor: Kutz Ltd
Structural Engineer: Franks & Lewin Ltd
Services Engineer: Peter Deer Associates
Quantity Surveyor: Stewart Robertshaw
Project Management: Taylor James Consulting
Planning Consultant: Pearson Associates
Interior design: Dawn Garland
Pool: Jetform Swimming Pools
Internal stair: Spiral Construction
Glazed walls / structural glazing: Cantifix
Windows: Velfac