Tower Cottage

Paul Archer Design, London , 2014


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Tower Cottage 

Will Pryce (website)     Download Original

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An eccentric Victorian cottage has been refurbished and reconfigured to adapt to modern living

Tower Cottage is a wonderfully eccentric piece of Victorian architecture and was not originally designed as a practical house.

The building is dominated by a three-storey tower, but each floor is too small for a bedroom. Added to this, the house backs up to the boundary on two sides, and has no windows in either of these facades.
he only garden is at the front, directly next to the road. It had no front door, and you entered through the collapsing mid 20th-century conservatory space.

Tower Cottage has not been extended at all (there is no where to go). It is the interior spaces that are radically re-organised in order to make it into a workable, and also elegant house.

The old single glazed conservatory, that faces south was replaced. The new structure has a glass roof with Douglas Fir timber fins. These are the structure to the new glass roof, but they are also the solar shading to protect from the south sun.

The entire wall to the garden is glazed and removable. A sliding system allows you to move the panels one at a time and stack them discretely off to one side. The garden planting comes right up to the window cill - so when the doors are open you very much feel like you are sitting outside. A new front door was also added at the base of the tower.

Unusually, being on the front of the house, the new conservatory space is very visible from the street. The front fence and gate structure has been rebuilt, and the height is designed to allow a view of just the timber fins floating over the wall - whilst maintaining the privacy of the inhabitants.

Internally the upper floor was reorganised to create a master-suite. A new second bedroom has been created off the main stairs, with the careful additional of a new sash window in the side of the tower. Separating this room from the stairs is a large sliding wall of timber boards. This can be left open to make the house feel open plan when the room is used as a study, or closed to create a second bedroom when guests are staying.

A glass panel has been inserted in the floor to let daylight filter down through the house from the new rooflights above. The best space on the upper floors is the shower in the tower. The top-most room is made into the guest shower room, and the ceiling has been opened up to incorporate the tall spire.


  • Begun: Apr 2013
  • Completed: May 2014
  • Floor area: 110m2
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £180,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Feb 2013
  • Procurement: Minor works building contract with contractors design 2011
  • Address: Parkhill Road , London , NW3 2YJ, United Kingdom

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