Bracken House

Novak Hiles Architects, London, 2020


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Built shortly before the First World War, the existing house and its neighbours were constructed with characterful frontages inspired by the arts and crafts movement.

Novak Hiles was appointed to bring a contemporary approach with a subtle nod to the property’s arts and crafts beginnings. Work has focused on the ground floor and rear of the house, with the intention of providing an improved arrangement for family life.

The practice has designed a new extension and introduced a staggered open-plan arrangement, which has had an immediately transformative effect. The plan of the space gently but very deliberately staggers and swells to inform a sense of functional zoning without excessively enforcing it, thereby providing a degree of organisation and structure for everyday living while maintaining an open and bright feeling.

The rear extension has improved and transformed the interior kitchen area, creating a social family space with ample natural light and better connectivity with the garden. A split level arrangement has been introduced to the rear garden, continuing the staggered internal plan approach through into the exterior.

The rear elevation of the extension features an interplay of contemporary pressed metal with bespoke ceramic tiles arranged in a celebratory frieze at the head of the extension, presenting a dignified face toward the garden.

The bespoke tiles and associated casting die were all handmade in the UK and serve as a celebration of craftsmanship and making on a small scale. The external earthy tones work in unison with a bright interior to provide an uplifting and warm material palette. White painted exposed ceiling joists help to filter natural light from a generous rooflight above.

The finished project offers a contemporary and subtle ode to arts and crafts thinking while transforming the existing house for the everyday benefit of its residents.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Jul 2020
  • Completed: Dec 2020
  • Floor area: 137m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £110,500
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2020
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: Wandsworth, London, SW12, United Kingdom

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