Brick Screen House

Variant Office, London, 2018


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Variant Office was invited to refurbish and extend a modest end of terrace property in the heart of Dulwich.

The house had not been updated since the 60s and our client was hugely underwhelmed with the house in its current state and layout. We were tasked with developing a light, open home suitable for modern living. In order to achieve this, the existing property needed radical remodelling, was stripped back to the external envelope, reconfigured and extended with a new rear extension and loft. All on a tight budget. The small site footprint necessitates a ‘broken plan’ approach, which allows for spaces to be intimate yet fluid creating a generosity of space.

On the ground floor, a large piece of joinery defines spaces to live, cook, eat and work. The large-format corner glazing opens the kitchen diner to a broader vista, creating an uninterrupted view of the garden, with a dramatic 3.5m wide x 2.5m high pivot hinge door connecting the interior with the garden.

The principal challenge of our ambition was to simplify details and use material that requires little processing to protect the bespoke elements that typically fall victim to value engineering. The kitchen carcasses are made of oiled black Valchromat, were relatively low cost to manufacture and were lifted by the brushed lacquered brass panels that glint in the late afternoon sun. The utility room clad entirely in red Dalsouple was designed to use the entire 19 sqm roll.

Rubber flooring is used throughout the upper floors because of its low cost and ease of laying. The end result is a simple, but accomplished home with an understated grandeur, that suggest a budget far higher than the true spend.


  • Begun: Sep 2017
  • Completed: May 2018
  • Floor area: 125m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £230,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2017
  • Procurement: RIBA Minor works
  • Address: Calton Avenue , London, SE21, United Kingdom

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