High Contrast House

Intervention Architecture, Birmingham, 2018


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A contemporary extension to a Victorian semi-detached house, with internal reconfigurations and bespoke designed joinery and new finishes throughout.

Inspiration for the rear addition has stemmed from its context, a garden of mature timbers and greenery. The pitched roof mirrors existing roof pitches, a simple form enhancing the shaping of the existing site, within this conservation area.

As a key feature to the exterior, the charred black timber clad provides a unique and hard-wearing character to the form, with black aluminium crittal windows, a black zinc roof, and flat profile frameless rooflights, shaping the natural light entering the new and renewed spaces. To the landscape, blue limestone slabs offer tonal variation from the darkness of the cladding frame, and create a natural level threshold crossing out to the exterior. A snug replaces the previous kitchen and dining area, and creates a niche opening into the extension area of a light filled open-plan kitchen/diner. We designed all of the internal joinery, kitchen and doors, enhancing the uniquely nature of the project.

Internally, the main steel structures are exposed and painted to complement the glazing frames and cladding tones. The main space contrast is then set against lighter kitchen cabinetry and walls, with a warm lye-soap finish to Douglas fir floorboards throughout. The counter-top surface of a polished concrete worktop, a tonally natural material.

Details for the handles include bespoke matt brass hand pulls, a brass Vola tap and sink, to add metallic highlighting tones throughout the space. A secret door also leads to an additional utility and hallway back to the rest of the house.


  • Begun: Nov 2017
  • Completed: Sep 2018
  • Floor area: 98m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £165,000
  • Tender date: Sep 2017
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works with Contractors Design 2016
  • Address: Birmingham, United Kingdom

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