Offset House

R2 STUDIO Architects, Crystal Palace, 2019



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The starting point of this project was a 1960s detached house in Crystal Palace at the end of a leafy cul-de-sac, surrounded by tall mature trees

Situated in a close-fitting community the expanding family needed to significantly increase the size of their home. The existing house was narrow in shape, had low ceilings and was split into small spaces, lacking more generous spaces for the family to enjoy time together and entertain friends. The house felt disconnected from the outside. The brief was to create a series of fluid spaces with a strong connection to the outside, inspired by Californian case-study houses.

Being at the end of the cut-de-sac made a larger extension possible without impacting the neighbouring properties. The strong pattern of the repeated original house type and its narrow width led to the solution of replicating the two-storey house volume and offsetting this to allow the original house to dominate at the front and the new at the back. Having used the original shape this allowed a fun approach to material selection. The result is a seamless zinc-tiled dark exterior with the expressive look extending inside with exposed structural steels and opened up ceilings to show the original roof trusses.

The main living space is partially located inside the existing house and in the extension. This overlap is accentuated by a step in floor level down to the garden level, creating a close connection to the outside while at the same time structuring the internal spaces into distinctive areas.

Upstairs, the ceilings were removed and the trusses exposed to become part of the rooms. As a result the rooms feel spacious despite their narrow width. An oversized corner mirror in the bathroom extends the small space further to create the illusion of a generous interior.

Photography by Anna and Tam/Peter Willams


  • Begun: Feb 2019
  • Completed: Nov 2019
  • Floor area: 160m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £210,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Sep 2018
  • Procurement: Self build
  • Address: Braybrooke Gardens, Crystal Palace, SE19, United Kingdom