The project completely reinvents an existing 1920s semi-detached house through the addition of a single joinery element that brings functionality, warmth and tactility to a reimagined family space.
The brief identified a focus on improving connectivity, daylight and legibility of spaces. We identified the objectives could be met without the need to extend or radically alter the structure of the house. Instead of demolishing the existing generic bolt-on extension, we chose to strip back and reconfigure the internal arrangement to save energy, cost and waste, minimising interventions whilst maximising outcomes.
The bold joinery element is warm, tactile and hard working, in contrast to the white plastered walls of the existing house. It is designed to be interacted with, to serve the new open plan spaces it defines. The curves are derived from arched alcoves, as places for the clients to show their collection of treasured objects. This motif was fragmented to form a flexible arrangement that isn’t limited by the design concept and that the client could take ownership of.
The new joinery element accommodates also a range of services and functions freeing up the spaces around it to be more flexible and adaptable. As well as storing books, cupboards for crockery and a crafting area, the joinery partitions conceal structural elements, large sliding doors, and includes glazed openings that allow playful glimpses to and from adjacent spaces.
A limited pallet of inexpensive materials have been playfully arranged to celebrate the family’s daily lives. Value has been delivered in the composition rather than the expense of the material.
We were able to work closely with the craftsman who made the joinery and explore how they would be made through sketching and discussion making it a genuine collaboration between designer and maker.
The result is a beautiful and unique object that reflects and expresses the materials and methods that were made to use it.
The project was completed in Autumn 2021