nimtim architects, London, 2020



Photography by Megan Taylor     Download Original

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A re-imagining of a 1970s end-of-terrace townhouse on the site of a former orchard, as a robust and flexible family home

The house sat on a triangular plot with a large but awkwardly shaped garden. We wanted to celebrate the sense of living amongst fruit trees and below the canopy of the larger trees beyond. At ground floor, views are framed with carefully positioned openings that connect the ground floor in a deliberate but restrained way. By contrast, the first floor bedroom has a wide and generous window that brings the landscape and canopy into the house.

The new family spaces at ground needed to be open, flexible and robust. As ever, we wanted to minimise use of steel and concrete. The extensions therefore use timber structure exposed internally to provide a hard-wearing internal finish and a gentle, humane scale within the space. The timber structure forms semi-open screens within the open space to define different areas for work, play or rest.

The structural timber and ply form a backdrop that is visually and acoustically warm. A simple white ceramic tile defines the kitchen island and worktop. The floor is a triangulated composition of linoleum grey and blue linoleum that contrasts with the rectilinear grid of timber structure. This triangular pattern will eventually inform the garden landscaping, helping to resolve the awkward topography of the garden and providing further contrast with the geometry of the house.

The house is now home to a 2 and 5 year old and provides a playful and suitably robust backdrop to family life. The articulation of spaces has come into is own during lockdown allowing different activities to occur throughout the house without disruption.

'I think our favourite part of the project is the ground floor. It was gloomy, cold and an almost entirely wasted space before the build. Now it is wide open, bright, warm and welcoming. The kitchen is large and modern and the girls have enough space to run around playing tag while we prepare dinner. We can see down to the bottom of the garden and the trees beyond, we can watch the parakeets steal the food from the bird feeder, and the squirrels chase each other through the trees. It’s like a totally different house.'

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


  • Begun: Jul 2019
  • Completed: Jun 2020
  • Sector: Residential
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: Feb 2019
  • Procurement: RIBA Domestic contract
  • Address: Honor Oak, London, SE23, United Kingdom