Finalist at 2019 New London Architecture’s Don’t Move – Improve! Awards

Everyday family life was at the centre of the brief for this home and as a result the spaces for cooking, eating and playing were placed at the heart of the house. They connect to the more formal lounge area at the front, outwards to the garden at the rear and upwards via a wide opening on the side.

Dining room in a modern rear extension to a Dulwich home, overlooking the garden and kitchen island

The existing house, while of generous proportions, had a very long footprint alongside a drawn-out and narrow courtyard. As a result the rear part of a house comprised a series of rooms that acted as a barrier from the heart of the house to the garden. Long and complicated corridors without access to daylight made the house feel introverted and dark

Modern rear extension house in Herne Hill, Dulwich, featuring a large corner window to maximize natural light.
Modern rear extension of a small house in Herne Hill featuring a kitchen island, large full-height corner windows, and a vibrant splash of colour
Contemporary rear extension at a Herne Hill house, boasting large corner windows and a kitchen island

On the ground floor the design created inter-connected living areas, flipping sides as you move through the space, thereby visually shortening the space. A modest side extension was inserted to partially infill the narrow courtyard and locally widen the house to create a dining area. The extension stops short of the rear of the house however to allow the garden to intersect with the spaces and three sides, providing views out as well as letting daylight in.

Modern kitchen in a Herne Hill home features an open-plan layout and large windows offering scenic view

The kitchen is placed inside a “no hands” glass box with the upper part of the building seemingly floating above. The glass corner allows the terrace and garden to extend into the kitchen: While using the kitchen you have the feeling of being outside at the same time.

Modern rear extension boasting large full-height corner windows, offering views into the kitchen island and out to the garden

The columns are offset from the main structural points and read as an architectural expression of the garden marching inside the house with their green colour and various sizes, further pulling the outside in visually.

Modern rear extension boasting large full-height corner windows, offering views into the kitchen island and out to the garden. Lit up at night
Herne Hill house features a blue-colored stairwell illuminated from above, complemented by a modern handrail

For the interior the family was after a peaceful feel, a home that blends modern ideas with classic elements. The connection to the garden was key, as was the idea of strong connections between the living spaces.

The colour palette in the house is deliberately refined to following a simple principle: A dark blue wall guides the space like a ribbon from front to back, along the party wall side. The colour (Farrow & Ball Hague Blue) provides a strong contrast which helps make the long spaces feel less narrow. When moving from the hallway into the ground floor rooms, the strong dark colours give way to brighter, naturally lit spaces. The light oak floor becomes more dominant in these spaces and guides you towards the garden. The green dining area then provides a transition to the garden.

Clean and smart fitted bedroom wardrobe and closet with a tall mirror. Modern and white design in a Dulwich home.
Light and airy bathroom adorned with white tiles, large mirrors, and elegant gold trims
Bathroom detail featuring white tiles, a large mirror, and gold trim finishing
Modern roof extension in a Herne Hill house featuring an exposed ceiling structure and a large window overlooking trees
Modern staircase with a white timber balustrade in a house renovation project in Herne Hill, Southwark
Modern staircase with a white timber balustrade in a house renovation project in Herne Hill, Lambeth
Herne Hill house showcases a loft extension with a contemporary dormer