At the heart of the project, quite literally, was a huge and rather grand staircase, but the consensus was that it dominated and compromised the layout required for modern living. Instead, the architects faced the challenge of replacing it with something that would retain the spatial qualities of the previous one, while providing a better floor plan for the home.
The firm opted for a perforated timber structure that could let through air and light, with previous email conversations between the family and the architects engraved into parts of the staircase, adding a sense of history and narrative to the project that could be enjoyed in the years to come.
By creating the new integral staircase design, the architects could arrange more evenly sized bedrooms on the first floor and it also meant the family could get the five bedrooms they wanted.
One of these bedrooms is on the basement level in a relatively self-contained unit comprising its own small kitchen, bathroom and living area. Up a level on the ground floor is the main kitchen-diner, linked to the generous living room via a large pivoting door.
Nothing went to waste throughout the project, with some of the original windows being salvaged to create characterful screen walls for the two additional bathrooms and a utility room, which were also a clever way of letting light flow into the stairwell.
Tsuruta Architects said of the project: ‘By recomposing these old objects, we aim to keep the past tense in a new form, giving it new life rather than just conserving old.’
The large kitchen-diner also enjoys the light and views to the garden via a cantilevered balcony at the back of the property, with new steel-framed railings, contemporary Crittall-style windows and black brick all subtly integrated into the existing structure.
This beautiful home was a RIBA London Regional Award 2017 winner and is just one of Tsuruta Architects’ innovative projects, which cleverly combines old and new elements.
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