Vine Road

richard pain architect, East Molesey, 2016


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Extension - Kitchen / Dining / Utility / Study / WC / Garden Room

A characterful Victorian property in East Molesey with a crumbling later addition conservatory. The clients were keen to create a new kitchen, dining and garden room with a new utility and ground floor wc which would lock in to the context of the split level hierarchical plan. It needed to be modern but not at odds with the house and the budget needed to be appropriate and proportional to the size of the project.

The site is within the Kent Town Conservation Area and the house is one of four fine semi-detached properties built of stock brickwork with polychromatic brick dressings.

A large entrance hall leads on to a sitting and dining room. Below the rising stair three steps descend to a back door and, previously, a glazed door to the kitchen which was also linked to the dining room up another three steps. The ceiling on the ground floor is tall, emphasised after descending the steps at the rear.

The contract was negotiated with a contractor with whom the architect had worked on many previous projects, following a budget assessment by a quantity surveyor. A JCT MWD 2011 contract was used. The original contractor ceased trading about 75% through the contract having suffered bad debts on two other contracts. The core workforce regrouped to form Cornerstone Contractors and the contract was completed albeit a little later than planned. The clients remained in situ throughout the works.

A new window was created on the axis of the front door to allow views from the entrance hall though to the garden. The new utility and wc were placed either side of this axis and were used to form a new small scale low ceilinged lobby to act as a pinch point before the new space at the back. Above this lobby, with curving walls reminiscent of the lobby that Lutyens used at Folly Farm to re-orientate the visitor, is a new 'priest hole' with access off the main stair which has become the first port of call for all young visitors.

Tall doorsets with clerestory windows provide daylight from the retained window to both the lobby and the utility room. Their scale is large house Victorian and wholly appropriate to the context but perhaps unexpected.

Before passing through the original rear wall of the house whose opening has been redefined with a sweeping curve are to be found a small study space and new steps linking to the dining room. The sequence of entry proceeds through steps in scale in section and plan and layers to deliver one to the tall main space of the kitchen / garden room. Here clerestory windows deliver light over the re-decorated re-used kitchen units (with additions made by the main contractor.)

Externally new brickwork matches the original with a blue brick base and red brick pattern overlaid acknowledging the polychromy of the house. Deep eaves with patterned ventilation slots support a green roof and cedar trelliswork protects the drops from the new boarded terrace.


  • Begun: Sep 2014
  • Completed: Feb 2016
  • Floor area: 29m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £150,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works MWD 2011
  • Address: 14 Vine Road, East Molesey, KT8 9LA, United Kingdom

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