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Cork House

A rear extension and loft conversion to a small Victorian terrace house in South London. The project evolved through a process of co-creation with the clients - a graphic designer and photography agent along with their two young children.


The clients were keen to contribute to all parts of the design process so nimtim created a structure for working so the design could be developed collaboratively with an outcome that everyone could feel a sense of pride and ownership in.


The existing level at the front of the house is 1m higher than garden level. In order to connect the family with their garden, a stepped internal landscape was created that defined different uses within a larger family space through changes in floor level. Thus a kitchen, dining space and informal seating area are defined by their own datum.


The extension is articulated as a simple pitched roof form with a large pivot door framing an uninterrupted view of the garden beyond and a slot window aligning with the glazed roof light over the new side extension to bring in daylight and views of the sky. The simple roof form rationalises a more complex array of ceiling heights and boxed structure that deals with existing elements internally while reflecting the geometry of the existing house externally.  

The extension is clad internally and externally with naturally stained cork that complements the existing brickwork on the main house and will weather to a silvery-grey over time. The cork achieves all required u-vales without the need for any additional expanded foam insulation. It absorbs noise internally, is breathable, free from synthetic resins, chemicals or carcinogenic materials and fully compostable.


The house, including the new master bedroom and en-suite on loft level and the renovated 1st floor is defined by bold colours and patterns reflecting the playfulness of both design team and clients.


Pink windows provide a flash of colour against the cork and the warm hues are carried internally to the kitchen splashback and first floor family bathroom. Internally a pale grey resin floor finish allowed a continuous surface over both horizontal and vertical surfaces with crisp edges.


The project was completed in winter 2018 and shortlisted for the AJ Small Projects Award 2019.

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