light and spring...victorian house> extension and garden

This project was stage 5 and 6 of the complete overhaul of the victorian house: the extension and the garden.

the extension with planters
The extension was a longtime in planning. Although not a large extension it was a slightly problematic one, as a basement excavation. There were many issues to address in the design and during the build. The garden is long and relatively thin and the building is very tall (5 floors). This tends to lock out some of the light during the winter months. A leaky old conservatory was to be replaced, and the back wall of the house knocked out to lead into the new space. 

We recommended our clients commission Ifor Rhys RIBA architect to design a structure that would give a better aspect on to the garden, a space for dining, and incorporate an existing small utility room. Ifor is a great architect, fun to work with, and konws Oxford houses well. The idea was to open up the vista from the kitchen to allow some more light in and create a space that could work as a slightly more formal dining space. We also commissioned garden designer  Rose Lennard to plan a garden that would take into consideration the new building. With Charlotte as project manager,  Ifor and Rose, the design that was settled upon looked fabulous. There was an introduction of a roof that ran back towards the house, slightly curved, that allowed a view to the sky from the kitchen and a glass structure over the main area where the extension meets the old building. This light well designed to bring more light in. In tandem, a corner window assists in this endeavour. Rose created ideas around zoning the planting, creating raised beds local to the house for immediate drama, and in the garden, curves along a lawn that took in the old apple tree and reflected the curve of the steps.

gently curved copper roof with overhang

side view of corner window and cedar screen
A key part of this project was going to be the negotiations with the neighbours. One of the obstactles to overcome was the party wall ownership.  Over time the wall had become destabilised by invasive ivy and the washing out of the lime mortar by the elements. This mean't the wall closest to the house was leaning some 30 degrees over the neighbours garden. It took some time in agreements to gain the necessary permissions to rebuild it whilst the extension was taking place. This prolonged the project somewhat, but didn't affect the overall vision.
The beautifully restored wall

The building contractors, Blackford Builders, were very sensitive to the age and nature of the building and its surroundings and as such kept the wall looking authentic. They reused the bricks that were salvaged from the wall, cleaned off the mortar and reset them. In total 9 metres of wall was rebuilt. They also took great care