The project involved the conversion of two semi-detached houses in central Oxford into one family home. The two existing Victorian houses were joined together by linking the flexible living and private spaces and changing the organizational diagram from vertical to horizontal. This change was realised by introducing a new staircase clad in stained timber at the centre of the plan and perpendicular to the party wall.
The existing symmetrical arrangement was rotated to achieve a continuous flow of spaces throughout each floor. The change of level from the entrance to the back garden is negotiated through a second staircase, in this case constructed using recovered bricks from the demolition works, and a new loggia accessible from the kitchen and main living room of the house.
The loggia occupies a rear extension between the outriggers. It was built using materials of contrasting colours to the original houses in order to highlight the new construction and create a strong visual link, making the building look like one house as it was originally intended. The façade is articulated with a series of deep anodized aluminium blades that filter the daylight and mitigate overlooking to the adjacent houses. The glass screen can be fully opened to make the space feel like an elevated terrace, facing the two rear gardens where the original dividing wall was retained.
All the fitted furniture and most of the fittings, including lights, door handles and handrails were designed specifically for the house. Striking a careful balance between reclaimed materials from the building and the insertion of new pieces created a simple yet refined palette.
Despite the challenges posed by the planning context and the technical challenges posed by working with an existing building, the project elegantly marries contemporary design with the character of the existing house.