Vestry Road

Oliver Leech Architects, London, 2020



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Radical remodelling, including rear and side extension, to a Victorian terraced house in Camberwell

Exposed brickwork, white-oiled timber and concrete are combined in a celebration of raw, natural materials. The two-storey house was in poor condition, with little natural light and a cramped kitchen so the brief was formed from the client’s wish to provide new open-plan cooking and eating spaces that face out onto the garden, with a focus on natural light and materials to create more usable space and a calm atmosphere.

The house was stripped back to a shell, extended and internally rebuilt, including new services and better insulation to improve thermal performance. The design focused on the use and expression of natural materials that would complement and respect the original house and preserve its character. The use of a limited palette of natural materials provides a consistent language throughout the house, creating a coherent relationship between old and new. White oiled Douglas fir was paired with pale buff bricks which has been expressed both externally and internally, as a subtle contrast with the existing London bricks.

Volumetrically, the extensions are articulated into two distinct volumes. A side extension provides extra width to the previously narrow kitchen, with pitched skylights overhead to bring in plenty of north light into the dining space throughout the day. A rear extension projects slightly further into the garden, framing a set of bi-folding doors across a low-height window bench. The bench provides flexible seating that developed from the client’s particular desire to be able to sit and read in the evening sun, whether with the doors open or closed.

Photography by Stäle Eriksen


  • Begun: Aug 2019
  • Completed: Feb 2020
  • Floor area: 97m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £194,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2019
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works
  • Address: Vestry Road, London, SE5, United Kingdom