29 Malvern Road
Vercelli Cohen Architects
- Original design
- Vercelli Cohen Architects , 2016
The aspiration for this project is to provide a contemporary home, unbounded by the constraints of the Victorian semi-detached house which it occupies and at the same time to retain and embrace the construction and character of the original structure.
The project has reorganised and resized the internal circulation and hierarchy of spaces and volumes to suit the actual requirements of each space and their configuration and adjacencies rather than simply reassigning existing rooms to new uses.
Further the envelope of the building has been refurbished or rebuilt to provide air tight construction and high levels of insulation. This passive approach has been the principal energy strategy for the building.
In addition the house has been extended downwards with a generous basement, and at ground floor level with a rear side infill extension. Both extensions have been designed to be not visible from the street in order to protect the character of the Conservation Area.
The extended home remains a three bedroom house but with additional bathrooms, utility room, plant room, store and services risers. The emphasis of the design is placed on improved layout, room sizes and comfort, sympathetic to contemporary lifestyles and capable of catering for evolving family life.
At ground floor the traditional narrow hallway with doors to rooms has been replaced with a small lobby opening directly into the open ground floor living space via a central orientation space giving access to the stairs, living room and kitchen dining room. As the most used and occupied part of the house the kitchen dining room is the largest space with the best light, views and garden access.
The house is laid out with each bedroom having a dedicated bathroom and each accessed from separate landings on the reconfigured stair. Two of the bedrooms are at first floor, the third bedroom is in the new basement that has been constructed with a floor to ceiling height of 2.8m to create a well-proportioned volume and optimize daylight penetration. Here the lightwell to the street side is generous to create a private garden room sunk below the front garden and given privacy by a carefully configured grating profile that prevents overlooking from the street but allows light and sunlight from the south to penetrate.
Prior to the works the Victorian house was draughty, cold in winter, expensive to heat , with limited views of the garden and with a number of gloomy dark rooms.
The new basement has provided the opportunity to fully insulate below ground floor and internal insulation has been applied to the existing solid brick perimeter walls and existing roof above ground floor retaining the external appearance of the house. Existing timber sash windows have been refurbished or replaced with high performance double glazed timber sash windows. Where new openings have been made, aluminium double glazed windows and sliding doors have been incorporated and sized to provide higher levels of natural light.
The dining room roof is a single pane of glass 5850x 2750mm giving light levels inside comparable with outside. This combined with the fully glazed 5.4m wide sliding doors to the garden makes for a strong connection with the outdoors and an enhanced feeling of well-being.
In addition to the improved airtightness and high levels of insulation a wood burning stove has been installed to augment the gas condensing boiler and underfloor heating.
Exposed London stock brick has been retained where the new kitchen dining room walls are formed by what were previously external walls.
Polished concrete floors have been laid in the ground floor extension and new basement where floor construction is against the subsoil.
The middle living room with a raking wall and the smaller bedroom at first floor with a raking ceiling have been lined in birch faced plywood panels to emphasize the new altered shapes of the rooms.
All the floors to the existing part of the house are timber boarded and the stairs are formed with timber treads, risers and stepping soffits.