Ellis House

BÜF Architecture, Ilford, 2018


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The client was looking to turn an extremely run down two-storey terraced house into a special place to settle down and spread some roots

The brief was simple; provide extra space at ground floor level, improve and simplify the layout and create a warm, homely environment with a deep connection to the garden. Added complexity came with budget constraints, which would lead to some ingenuity in material and construction choice.

Rather than simply extending the rear of the building, it was decided to form an internal courtyard within the centre of the extension and stretch the extents of the house out into the long, linear garden. The internal courtyard brings natural light deep into the plan whilst subdividing the ground floor into three distinct but connected areas of domesticity; living / kitchen / dining. The courtyard design brings a portion of the garden right into the heart of the rejuvenated dwelling and takes the rear living spaces directly out into the garden.

A simple tectonic language of veneered timber beams, columns and joists and tinted plywood panelling adds a material warmth to the rich spatiality of the layout and allowed the client to part manage, part self-build the project using separate trades and undertake the entire garden work alongside his father.

Overall, the works to the house have had a dramatic effect for the client; the ground floor is no longer recognisable from its original state and the vast storage areas have created clutter-free backdrop for daily life. The spaces have a warm, inviting quality marrying privacy with an enjoyable openness to the garden.


  • Begun: Apr 2018
  • Completed: Sep 2018
  • Floor area: 45m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £75,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Procurement: RIBA Domestic
  • Address: Hunter Rd, Ilford, IG, United Kingdom

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