We are sometimes commissioned by friends and family to help design and refurbish their private homes. We enjoy looking at ways to improve the functionality, sustainability and ecology of these smaller projects, and almost always learn from the challengesWe consider:-Functionality We review and rethink how spaces work to see if small or larger moves would improve the usability and flow. Detailing and material selection and how they come together, are critical to the implementation.Sustainability We review services systems to decrease or remove gas use, replacing it with electricity, hydrogen boilers or ground source heat pump as suitable. We also try to introduce renewable energy production on site, like photovoltaics and hot water roof panels.Ecology We add as much soft landscaping, planting and wood as possible, replacing or compensating for hard external surfaces in courtyards or on roofs.At this house in Earl Court in London, we moved the kitchen to the centre of the house, turning the old kitchen space into a study snug, and we rebuilt the conservatory to deliver a modern, better insulated, space that protects the house owners privacy both from viewing the tall buildings on the other side of the garden and being seen.The result is a gorgeous glide through the house – living-kitchen-dining-conservatory – interconnected as a sequence of spaces and linked to different colours seen in the long view through the house from front façade to the garden.We also wanted to create a stronger connection between the house and the garden, so we designed a series of open timber steps and platforms that allow light into the basement, , provide access the open timber decked terrace that is surrounded by soft landscaping and a large tree, and maintain the beautiful climbing rose. The decking includes timber hatch accesses to the basement entrance and the under croft.To give more space to the kitchen and create some storage in the hallway we designed a block of cupboards that can be accessed from both the hallway and the kitchen, and on the kitchen side we added a pull out servery shelf to extent the available work surface. (Refer to our interview (add link) about optimization of small spaces – this cupboard could be considered one further way to do so).We removed the gas supply from the main house because it was not energy efficient and replaced it with a new electric boiler, underfloor heating and kitchen induction hob which uses the existing chimney to run the hob integrated hood flue.
Edward Williams Architects,Grand Union Studios,332 Ladbroke Grove,London,W10 5AD,UK