Flitch House, a garden room extension in Trinity, Edinburgh, is a contemporary interpretation of Arts & Crafts ideals. Using a material palette of light-coloured Petersen brick, Douglas fir, and oxidised copper, the project provides new living and dining areas with an emphasis on craftsmanship.
This creates a warm and welcoming sequence of spaces, complemented by a reorganisation of the ground floor of the house into a home suitable for entertaining and modern family life. Built in 1895, the existing Category-B Listed house was designed by Alexander Hunter Crawford – a notable Edinburgh architect at the turn of the twentieth century who would later take over his family’s ‘Crawford’s Biscuits’ company.
The house bookends a short terrace of 4 villas, notable for their red brick and mock timber appearance, more suggestive of emerging middle-class English suburbs than the buff sandstone of grandiose Edinburgh. In the garden room, light-coloured brick complements the existing red brick with both left exposed. Likewise, the timber roof structure is expressed, celebrating its appearance and function. Flitch beams, with slender steel ribbons sandwiched between thick timbers to increase their strength and span, discreetly allow the roof to lift up at the edges, preserving views out to the Firth of Forth.
In thoughtfully getting the most from each material, the extension embraces an Arts & Crafts ethos, each element providing clarity of form and construction. Care has been taken to bring as much light as possible into the sheltered north-facing extension. The walls and roof were thickened to maximise thermal performance, allowing for a larger glazed area, while the roof steps back from the house to form a rooflight, bringing light deep into the plan. Spilling out from the kitchen, now at the heart of the plan, the house gradually meets the garden through a gentle progression of terraces. Bespoke joinery marks each threshold with seating, steps and storage.
The warm pewter of the Architop micro-concrete floor – this product’s first use in a Scottish home – blurs the transition to a Caithness terrace outside. The offset walls of the dining and living areas shelter an area for the sofa and return to enclose a bookcase – a modern twist on the traditional ‘Edinburgh press’. Off the dining area, a small drinks nook references a panelled recess around the kitchen fireplace.
These pockets of space are characteristic of the Arts & Crafts approach, creating intimate moments off the main room. While the early Arts & Crafts movement was a reaction against the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution, Flitch House combines our clients’ appreciation for craft and natural materials with their desire for a ‘smart home’, including wireless lighting and automated blinds. This is Arts & Crafts without the bell pull.
1. Petersen Tegl – Bricks – D71
2. TECU – Copper roofing – TECU Oxid
3. Ideal Work – Micro-cement flooring – Nuvolato Architop, pewter
4. Sky-Frame – Sliding door – Sky-Frame Classic
5. Douglas Fir joinery