THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
The original house was a typical mid terrace Victorian property with a poorly converted loft space and limited head room. There is an existing shared side passage leading through to the rear garden.
The clients are a family with young twin girls, and a large part of their wish list was to remodel the house to allow then to stay in the house as their children grow up. The brief from the client was to extend and improve the living spaces, with a larger kitchen and family space to the ground floor and to properly convert the loft to provide a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.
The existing ridge height wasn’t high enough to provide good head-height to the loft level, and so one of the first moves we made was to lower the loft level floor to the rear half of the house. The scheme also involves extending the first floor out to the rear to free up space for a new stair to the loft. This in turn allowed for a laundry cupboard where the original loft stair had been removed. The loft level en-suite was fitted in over the top of the laundry, within the existing pitched front roof space.
As is the case when working on mid terrace properties such as this, when the space to the rear is extended out into the rear garden, there is a need to look for ways to introduce natural light into the centre of the plan. We did this by incorporating a butterfly roof. This roof profile allowed for clerestory glazing at high level within the kitchen and roof-lights to the butterfly roof which makes the kitchen a light and bright space. It also created interest to the ceiling lines, adding both definition and interest to the spaces.
We also included some green roof area, planted with a wild-flower mix, which softens the transition of the built form to the rear garden and Mill Road cemetery beyond.
One of the issues to be tackled when working on small houses is to try and incorporate as much storage as possible. We did this by designing in a new larder and coat cupboard off the kitchen space. We also introduced a cut out space to the existing wall to the side passage to provide space for external cycle storage. This is kept secure using a purpose-made chevron oak screen made by a local joinery company.
The rear extension provided space for a new kitchen, with steps down to a dining area, family space with glazed doors to the rear sunken garden. The dining area has built-in storage bench seating, and a floor level lift-up storage area to the stepped area.
The aim of the project was to retain the existing qualities of the original Victorian feel of the house, and contrast and blend this with the new contemporary elements without losing the charm of the existing. We did this with the use of external brown zinc cladding and reclaimed brickwork to the rear, and exposed brick and timber finishes internally. We also retained some areas of the existing painted brickwork finishes to the rear extension at the transition from new to old.
The resulting design has given the clients a bright and light home with elements of new and old combining to provide them with a house that they can continue to grow into as a family.
- YEAR: Completed in 2016
- LOCATION: Cambridge
- PHOTO CREDITS: Matthew Smith