Joppas Residence

Calum Duncan Architects LTD, Edinburgh, 2018



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A ground floor flat of a Victorian semi-detached house in a quiet seaside suburb of Edinburgh lacked the space needed by its owners for both family life and working space

The properties in the street, while elegant and rather grand to the front, are typically utilitarian to the rear, lacking connection to their gardens, the existing kitchen felt cramped, cold and disconnected from the rest of the house. The clients, an artist and an artisan fabricator, had a strong vision of the character and atmosphere they wanted to achieve, as well as a need to create specific spaces both ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ in nature: a painting studio /exhibition space, a children’s bedroom, and a family kitchen/dining space.

An innovative and functional solution carved an extra bedroom from the existing kitchen and extended to provide a new kitchen/dining space beyond. This allowed the grand ‘front room’ to be used as the (sometimes private, sometimes more public) painting studio and exhibition space. The kitchen/dining extension relates to the garden by way of a generous, vertically proportioned glazed façade. A raised deck provides a mediating outside living space with opportunities for planting, outdoor cooking and informal seating. Angled fins to the timber glazing are designed to catch the oblique sunlight and articulate the threshold between internal and external space.

With a small budget, the design has worked hard to consider proportion and garden context, and to create a space with an individual character of contrasting materials, textures, orientation, light. More fundamentally, the new extension unlocks the property in terms of adding living and sleeping space to the existing arrangement, but with an imaginative sense of material and space. The material palette is pragmatic, but using raw natural materials including untreated Douglas Fir lining, beams and ceiling; grey plaster and reclaimed flooring.

Photography by Calum Duncan Architects


  • Begun: Jul 2017
  • Completed: Aug 2018
  • Floor area: 30m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £50,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2017
  • Procurement: Minor Works Contract
  • Address: Joppa, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Professional Team