Stepped Garden-Room in North London Home

Geraldine Dening Architect, London, 2020



All photographs Morley von Sternberg     Download Original

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A rear-garden extension stepping down a steep, south-facing slope, along with internal refurbishments to accommodate the needs of a growing family in a semi-detached house in north London.

The intention was to use natural light and materials to create a garden-room which sits lightly within the landscape. The extension resolves an awkward geometry in plan and section, which is revealed in the exposed timber roof structure.

A new balcony at upper-ground floor level overlooks the garden-room and improves the relationship of the existing ground-floor rooms to both the long garden, and to each other.

Dividing the extension from the main house is a roof light running the full-width of the property, ensuring that the existing ground-floor rooms continue to be flooded with natural light. A mirror is positioned in the upper section of the external wall, creating the illusion that the structure extends into the space beyond, echoing the reflective nature of the semi-detached house as one of a pair.

In order to ensure the neighbour’s right-to-light isn’t affected, the garden-room hugs the landscape. At the same time, the design maximises internal heights to retain the existing views of the garden from the upper-ground level.

Continuing the garden’s lawn and plants, the roof of the extension has been planted with a sedum roof as part of a sustainable drainage strategy. The new garden-room follows an earlier loft extension also completed by Geraldine Dening Architect under permitted development.

Conceived as a whole, the two projects are united formally by zinc and timber cladding used externally on both extension and loft. The cedar has been treated to imitate the ageing process, removing the need for regular and expensive maintenance. The result is an extension of the home that is a product and continuation of the surrounding environment.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Apr 2019
  • Completed: Nov 2020
  • Floor area: 110m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £208,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Oct 2018
  • Procurement: Minor works with contractor's design
  • Address: Muswell Hill, London, N10 , United Kingdom

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