Step House

Grey Griffiths Architects, London, 2019



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Careful negotiation with Local Planning Officers led to consent for a two-storey extension to the rear of an end-of terrace house in Wimbledon

A transformative stepped extension provides a new kitchen and bedroom for a young family. A bespoke staircase allows daylight into the heart of the home, linking the old and new. The extension carefully responds to the neighbouring houses to avoid impacting on the natural light they receive. The conservation area setting is preserved by sensitive use of materials and the form of the new extension.

By sinking the lower storey to create a stepped section, and carefully shaping the external envelope of the new bedroom, a two-storey extension was possible. Consideration of impact on neighbours, particularly with regard to avoiding overshadowing, was key to the proposal's success. Through negotiation with the planning and conservation officers we were able to demonstrate the lack of impact of the proposal and the appropriateness of the design.

The brief for an extension that provided natural daylight into what was a dark cottage was met by introducing carefully placed rooflights and a glazed link between old and new elements. The bespoke feature stair allows light to permeate into the heart of the house and ties spaces together, resolving the issue of an otherwise subdivided plan. The extension is comprised of a series of brick volumes that are subtly articulated to reflect the new rooms.

A two-storey ‘pop-out’ reflects the former location of a brick pier and provides storage space at the upper floor and integrated seating at the lower floor, which has a vital impact on the width and usability of the kitchen and dining area. A glazed ribbon visually and conceptually separates the new elements from the old and brings light into the centre of the plan and the relocated bathroom.

Photography by Adam Scott


  • Begun: May 2018
  • Completed: Sep 2019
  • Floor area: 94m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £230,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Feb 2018
  • Procurement: JCT MWD 2016
  • Address: London, SW19, United Kingdom

Professional Team