Cut House

Gatti Routh Rhodes, Oxford, 2017


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Cut House is a project that 'borrows volume' from one part of the building to benefit another by creating a light-filled double height space.

The existing house is a late-nineteenth century 3-storey terrace in East Oxford. When we first visited it became clear that alongside a refurbishment throughout, transforming the poorly-lit and underused lower ground floor would become the focus of the project. Not only did the existing lower ground floor have insufficient daylight, it also had a limited floor-to-ceiling height of 2.1m.

Our solution was to cut a void through the floor of the upper ground floor front room, introducing a staircase and enabling the insertion of a double-height library and small study. This unusual, sectional ‘L’ shape connects through to a fully-glazed facade facing onto the sheltered courtyard garden.

The joinery elements are made from birch plywood and finished with a semi-transparent white wax, the balustrade, bannister and sliding library ladder from bespoke white powdercoated 20mm square-section steel. A new terracotta floor picks up on the tones of the external red brick paving and completes the palette of soft, earthy materials.

The result is a generous light-filled dual aspect space. And whilst the kitchen and dining area retains its modest floor to ceiling height, the ever present sense of the adjacent double-height ‘borrowed’ volume, creates a delightful room for cooking, living and dining.


  • Begun: May 2017
  • Completed: Aug 2017
  • Floor area: 82m2
  • Sectors: Residential, House
  • Total cost: £94,270
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Mar 2017
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: Oxford, Oxford, OX, United Kingdom

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