Blurring the traditional front and back of house layout of the existing property, set alongside the river Quaggy.

Architectural diagram of South London home extension, zig-zag

The existing building is an Edwardian semi-detached house located on a triangular plot along the river Quaggy. The unusual plot shape allowed space for development on the side while leaving three distinct garden spaces around the house, to the front, side and rear.

The idea was to build a two-storey side timber extension which opens up a better connections to these garden spaces while creating an architectural contrast to the existing building.

Modern timber cladded rear extension with large windows over looking garden

Given the proximity to the riverside there are large mature trees all along the boundary, creating a green curtain around the gardens and giving access to longer views in between onto the borrowed landscape beyond.

Modern timber extension with large full height windows in South London lit up at night
Modern timber extension with large full height windows in South London


Shortlisted for New London Architecture’s Don’t Move, Improve! Award 2020: the 25 best house extensions in London

Contemporary South London home with a spacious window seat offering views of the garden, alongside musical instruments

Pivot spaces

The interior spaces are interconnected semi open-plan and create distinct areas of different character. The spaces are directed towards the different garden views, switching direction to create surprising sight-lines. While the dining area acts as a pivot and faces the pond, it connects to the family room which faces the Japanese garden. The lounge is located at the front of the house in the original Victorian space. It is adjacent to the front garden which has a Mediterranean feel. The kitchen addresses the rear garden with its terrace and play space.

Architectural plan drawing of ground floor of London Ash house
A modernist perforated wooden staircase adds a contemporary touch to a London family home.

Ash interiors

The most relevant interior elements such as floor, kitchen, window seat and stairs are made of solid ash and ash-veneered plywood. This restrained palette contrasts with white walls and ceilings as well as selected colourful elements. The stairs are treated as a piece of habitable furniture, with partial views in and out. The hole pattern follows the stair profile and inclludes larger holes along the eye level of both small children and adults.

A modernist perforated wooden staircase adds a contemporary touch to a London family home.
Modern interior with perforated wood staircase and bookshelf
Contemporary home entrace with bold pop orange and white, dog, and perforated wood
Cozy interior of a South London home featuring large windows and full-height green storage shelves

Selected functional areas such as the entrance, the kitchen shelf or the tall doors have been painted in strong colours to provide accents throughout the house. This provides moments of surprise akin to walking through a landscape, in contrast to the otherwise restrained materials palette.

Perforated timber cladded modern staircase with roof light and clean green door
Looking down a contemporary illuminated wood staircase in a South London home
Looking down a contemporary perforated wood staircase in a South London home

The floor is laid diagonally to accentuate the dynamic character of the spaces and respond to the triangular shape of the plot.

Timber wall panel detail in South London home
Large window to garden with fluted wood panels and exposed timber structure

Client quote

R2 provided a fantastic design that worked on a number of levels, successfully navigated a tricky planning permission process for us and were there to provide valuable input throughout construction. They brought great passion, energy, vision and commitment to our project, for which we are very grateful.

Oliver, Owner, Ash House
Modern timber extension with large full height windows in South London

All photos by Andy Stagg