Summerhill Road

OEB Architects, London, 2019



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An oak-framed extension and refurbishment of a North London Victorian terraced house, built with as little as possible.

The project embodies our interest in building with less, for the environmental benefit of using less actual physical material, and the practical efficiency in incorporating the fewest number of different elements, to explore what richness can be brought about within these limitations.

The glazed timber extension appears as two rectangular boxes, stepping in plan and in elevation towards the garden. Each box consists of a green roof held up on timber columns, as simple as that. The facades of the kitchen and dining room are treated consistently, giving as much attention to the ivy-covered fence as to the view to the garden, so that the walls feel as if made up of the greenery, framed between the oak columns. The existing house has been reconfigured to make the most of its limited size, a reorientated stair allowing for a more compact arrangement and larger bedrooms. A shower room has been inserted in the centre of the first floor and a WC tucked under the stairs, small functional spaces that allow the more open living spaces.

The design approach prioritises efficiency, but is used to make a dynamic and changeable interior of familiarity and warmth. The simplicity of the approach is in the form and fabrication, but the space is not intended to be minimal. Each of the surfaces are lively with textures and dappled light. Oak is the predominant material for the structure and the kitchen. The floor tiles are gently polychromatic, from deep reds to muted beige. Material choices aim to evoke the character of a particular strand of domestic Modernism without needing the space to be populated with the associated products of that era in order to do so.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was not provided.


  • Begun: Jun 2019
  • Completed: Nov 2019
  • Floor area: 72m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £130,000
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: May 2019
  • Procurement: Traditional: RIBA Domestic Building Contract
  • Address: Tottenham, London, N15, United Kingdom

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