East Londonâ€™s industrial heritage is referenced in the metal window frames, concrete surfaces and reclaimed fittings in this handsome space.
A statue in a local park was one of the early inspirations behind this newly extended kitchen in a home in east London. It was the memorialâ€™s polished concrete, rather than what it portrayed, that appealed to the houseâ€™s owner, and that material now forms the worktops and flooring in this stylish space.
Exposed brickwork, texture-rich oak and reclaimed factory fittings complete the look, giving this kitchen-diner bold good looks that reference the industrial past of this part of the capital.
Who lives here A professional couple
Location East London
Property A late Victorian, end-of-terrace house with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
Size The kitchen-diner is 27 sq m
Architect James Davies of Paper House Project
Photos by Simon Maxwell
The rear of this house originally featured a dilapidated lean-to and a kitchen with a tiny dining area squeezed in. â€śIt had one small window and was a weird arrangement,â€ť says architect James Davies. â€śNone of the rooms on the ground floor connected. There was a bathroom where the dining room would have been, in the centre of the house, then the living room at the front. It was all very disconnected.â€ť
Davies and the owners had originally planned to build a full-width rear extension. â€śThe house is in a conservation area, and the design officer had issues with the mass of this proposed design in relation to the existing property,â€ť the architect explains. â€śAs the property is only two storeys, it was felt this would be adding too much.â€ť
Instead, Davies created a design that extended out to the party wall at the side to create a large square footprint, then also pushed out at the rear by about 3m. â€śWe doubled the size,â€ť he says. â€śThe existing kitchen was 12 sq m, and we increased it to 27 sq m.â€ť The width at the widest point increased from 2.8m to 4.85m. The internal depth at the roomâ€™s deepest point increased from 4.3m to 6.5m.
â€śIn some respects,â€ť says Davies, â€śthe planning restrictions took the project in a direction that works better for the owners.â€ť Often, the temptation is to add as much space as possible, he says, but then itâ€™s sometimes not clear how to use it. â€śThe thing we always try to do is create defined spaces that are visually connected. You can have almost too much space, and then itâ€™s more difficult to make it work.â€ť
The L-shape of the extension features a square space at its heart, which contains the kitchen and dining area, and a smaller area extending out at the rear, which opens onto the garden. â€śItâ€™s a perfect spot for sitting and reading,â€ť says Davies.
The handsome kitchen features precast worktops with a cast-in sink and drainer grooves. One section of worktop was cantilevered from the wall to create a breakfast bar, using a bracket fitted behind a false wall and a steel plate that adjoins the worktop. â€śThereâ€™s quite a bit of engineering to support that,â€ť says Davies. â€śIt took four guys to carry it in.â€ť
The structural piers beneath the worktops are made of strong ply and MDF, which has been painted. The drawers are sawn British oak, which was worked in situ and treated here. â€śItâ€™s very thick, about 25-30mm,â€ť says Davies. â€śItâ€™s heavy and solid.â€ť
The reclaimed radiator was cleaned and then serviced to make sure it wouldnâ€™t leak.
Polished concrete in Basalt with a satin finish, Lazenby. Bar stool, Bluesuntree. Ceiling lights, Mr Resistor.
All the flooring, both internal and external, is also polished concrete. â€śEvery day, the owner walked past a memorial made of polished concrete in a local park,â€ť says Davies. â€śAt our first meeting, he showed us an iPhone pic of that and also explained that he had a bunch of fittings heâ€™d purchased about a year before at a reclamation yard.â€ť
These ingredients became the foundations of the industrial aesthetic. â€śIt all fits really nicely with this area,â€ť says Davies. â€śThere are lots of wartime factories around here, including a Spitfire components factory, and they all form part of the story of this area and this design.â€ť
The double-glazed, steel-framed windows support this industrial look and the polished concrete floor extends outside. â€śWe wanted to achieve that inside-outside aesthetic,â€ť says Davies. â€śIt all flows really well.â€ť
Old factory fittings, including work lamps, radiators and switches, picked up in a reclamation yard are dotted around the space. â€śThe electrician wasnâ€™t too chuffed when he saw we wanted to fit these!â€ť laughs Davies.
These pieces are not only beautiful, they also feed into the budget-conscious drive of this project. â€śThe owners got a lot for a little,â€ť he says.
â€śOne of the planning conditions was we had to use London Stock brick on the outer wall,â€ť says Davies. â€śWe thought it would be good to continue that inside. The exposed brick is a really nice feature and works well with the concrete.â€ť It also helps to emphasise that inside-outside connection and makes the garden wall seem to come into the house.
Author:Â Joanna Simmons