The Timber House

Gbolade Design Studio, London, 2021



All photographs Alex Upton Photography     Download Original

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The Timber House is a sustainable refurbishment of an existing 1960s family dwelling where the existing fabric of the home was retained and reused to ensure a low-carbon refurbishment.

Adopting a fabric-first approach, the external walls, roof, and floors were improved so that the operational energy of the home was vastly reduced in order to address our climate crisis, increase user-comfort, and reduce annual energy bills, while also adding value to the home as an asset.

The existing two-storey house is sited comfortably within its streetscape, which is dominated by a mixture of brickwork and timber ship-lap cladding, and sits on the edge of a rich national woodland with stunning views across a garden estate – this was maximised through carefully positioned windows.

The retrofitted home introduces a new double-height entrance with vaulted ceilings that manipulates natural light deep within the plan, creating an interconnected space where one did not previously exist. This two-storey entrance element is expressed externally by sitting proud of the main building and is clad in charred timber with the remainder of the house in brickwork.

The floor plans were rationalised with a focus on creating visually connected and easily accessible spaces, while embedding opportunities for incidental meeting between family members as they go about their busy lives.

The building section has been designed to take advantage of these connections, creating opportunities for quiet contemplation as well as family engagement; introducing the new 1.5-storey volume to the single-storey rear extension accommodates the dining area draws through this visual and physical connection between entry and rear of home leading out into the garden and is also clad in charred timber.


  • Begun: Aug 2019
  • Completed: Jun 2021
  • Floor area: 242m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £290,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2019
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • CO2 Emissions: 7,993kg/m2/year
  • Address: Walsingham Park, Chislehurst, London, BR7 5QL, United Kingdom

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