Recort Architects Ltd, London, 2017


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Fisher Hart, Recort     Download Original

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The creation of a loft conversion and a 'service hub'

The four-bedroom property was built in 1897 and features the typical narrow and deep terraced house floor layout with a darker area in the middle. However all main bedrooms and reception rooms had a nice proportion, light and feel to it.

In order to maintain the already restricted outdoor space, we aimed to expose the inherent generous space available within the existing envelope without adding any new volume.

Cutting a narrow triple height space into the annex and replacing the hallway floors with open metal grid allows the light falling through the roof glazing to reach the ground floor and to throw ever changing patterns onto the walls.

The new scheme created a distinguished, seemingly free-standing ‘service’ hub in the centre of the house (kitchen, bathrooms and storage) featuring a blackboard painted surface and brightly coloured recesses. Internal windows and openings allow for unexpected views and connections and for borrowed light to reach the depth of the house.

The same approach has been continued in the loft conversion. Due to tight planning constraints existing space had to be put to valuable use. A glass slot runs over both sides of the sloped roof and contemporary balcony windows meet the old clay and slate tiled roofs. The feel of the master bedroom space is similar to sleeping in a tent (with views of the night sky). In summer when both balcony windows are open, the sensation is like being outside.

The open eaves design avoids the feeling of enclosure and being boxed-in, so many attics evoke. In opposition to many conversions where the sledgehammer demolishes great parts of the house, we like to think of this project as the careful scalpel works in precision surgery with well-placed minimal cuts to great effect.


  • Begun: May 2017
  • Completed: Sep 2017
  • Floor area: 165m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £104,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Apr 2017
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works
  • Address: 7 Halsmere Road, London, SE5 9LN, United Kingdom

Professional Team