99 John Ruskin Street
david stanley and romy grabosch
- Original design
- david stanley and romy grabosch, 2016
- david stanley and romy grabosch, 2016
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
David Stanley and Romy Grabosch have converted their tired and awkward two-bedroom Victorian garden flat into a modern garden-centric family home. The strategy involved extending the floor plan to create a flexible family room; and digging down at the end of the garden to create an independent sunken office and fully functional granny annex.
The pre-construction layout of David and Romy's ground floor Victorian terrace property comprised of a small Reception Room and Bedroom at the front, a fairly generous Bathroom and a small Kitchen in the middle, and a bright and cheerful second Bedroom overlooking a lush garden at the rear of the building. Access to the garden was via a door along the side of the building and therefore inconvenient. The layout was manageable for a childless couple but proved challenging for a growing family of two adults and two young children.
The strategy for development was therefore to turn the layout on its head and create a large open living space that spilled out into the garden. This involved the construction of a side infill and rear Conservatory extension. The garden focus was further enhanced by the construction of a granny annex at the rear of the garden affectionately termed “The Bunker”. Consequently the garden has become a courtyard of sorts and the focus of the various activity spaces. Upon entering the flat the eye is drawn towards the tranquility of the garden through the seemingly invisible slender framed glass screens.
A simple palette of materials including charred timber, larch & birch-veneered Plexwood and polished concrete was employed to project a feeling of warmth and calm. These surfaces have been peppered with carefully considered fittings and fixtures that are intended to add a bit of sparkle to this backdrop.
The Plexwood veneer was specifically employed to articulate the various activity spaces throughout the project. These spaces include the utility zone in the Entrance corridor, the vanity unit to the oriel window in the Bathroom, the seating area for the reading Nook overlooking the Zen garden, and the internal paneling to the folded form of the Conservatory structure that envelopes the Lounge. A bespoke warmly lit angulating kitchen island unit extending along the length of the Kitchen forms the heart of the project and consequently the heart of family life. From the outside, the blackened timber cladding that frames this setting forms a protective contrast to the light brown paneling within.
The Bunker, complete with its own Shower Room, Kitchenette and fold-down bed acts as an architectural office, a guest room and a children’s play area to name a few of its adopted functions. To reduce the impact of its presence at the end of the garden the Bunker has been constructed below grade level such that its work surface is flush with the level of the garden outside. The garden elevation to the Bunker is brought to life by vibrant yellow Velfac windows.
Finally, the living experience is made that much more enjoyable by the visual creep of the external spaces into the realm of the internal living spaces. The Kitchen benefits from a dual aspect - one towards the shared Zen garden that is inhabited by majestic tree ferns and the other towards the carefully considered garden.
... And when the last rays of the setting sun hit the sculptural Corten BBQ backdrop with a reddish-orange glow... could that be a hint?
Architect - David Stanley and Romy Grabosch
Structural Engineers - Blue Engineering
Main Contractor - Clean Lines Construction Limited
Window Supplier(s) - Compass Glass, Velfac, Mumford & Wood
Polished Concrete Floor - Beau Concrete
External Cladding - Exterior Solutions Limited
Garden Design - Natasha Nuttall Garden Design
Specialist Metalwork - Bob Hollywood
Photography - Adelina Iliev Photography, Juliet Murphy