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For photographer Ed Reeve, building his own house had been a lifelong dream. When he met architect David Adjaye, and found the perfect plot of land in London’s De Beauvoir Town, Reeve knew his time had come. The Sunken House, so-named for its excavated site, is a dark, cedar-clad cube in a stuffy part of town, where weathered brick and clay chimney pots are more common than modernist angles.
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  The facade achieves a notable sense of verticality for such a stout structure, with its stained-timber cladding aimed straight up toward the sky. The heavy, horizontal brick-work of the neighboring Georgian houses seems to imply aesthetic controversy, but in fact, during its short planning review, Reeve's house received letters of support from no fewer than five neighbors. The front gate opens onto a driveway, which in turn leads to a private patio around back.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    The facade achieves a notable sense of verticality for such a stout structure, with its stained-timber cladding aimed straight up toward the sky. The heavy, horizontal brick-work of the neighboring Georgian houses seems to imply aesthetic controversy, but in fact, during its short planning review, Reeve's house received letters of support from no fewer than five neighbors. The front gate opens onto a driveway, which in turn leads to a private patio around back.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  The house's stained-cedar cladding makes a stark but pleasing contrast to the natural foliage of the site.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    The house's stained-cedar cladding makes a stark but pleasing contrast to the natural foliage of the site.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  The outer walkway leads all the way around the structure, spilling into a small patio in back.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    The outer walkway leads all the way around the structure, spilling into a small patio in back.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  Even the rear facade is seamless—its door all but disappearing into the cedar cladding.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    Even the rear facade is seamless—its door all but disappearing into the cedar cladding.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  A garden of of small herbs and vines creates a fan of green as the plants creep up the outside walls. What at first seems to be a stark use of artificially dark wood reveals itself to be unironically natural: a soothing and woodsy backdrop for this home in the bustling city.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    A garden of of small herbs and vines creates a fan of green as the plants creep up the outside walls. What at first seems to be a stark use of artificially dark wood reveals itself to be unironically natural: a soothing and woodsy backdrop for this home in the bustling city.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  Despite its dark and boxy exterior, the house's interior is bright, naturally lit, and spacious. Adjaye, a master of the well-placed window, is in top form here. The staircase ascends toward sunlight.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    Despite its dark and boxy exterior, the house's interior is bright, naturally lit, and spacious. Adjaye, a master of the well-placed window, is in top form here. The staircase ascends toward sunlight.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  Adjaye cut a gap straight through the roof and facade.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    Adjaye cut a gap straight through the roof and facade.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  Windows range from the smallest of square portholes to wall-sized cinematic expanses of glass, as seen in the dining room.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    Windows range from the smallest of square portholes to wall-sized cinematic expanses of glass, as seen in the dining room.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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    Photo by: Ed Reeve

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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    Photo by: Ed Reeve

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  Reeve pauses in a ray of afternoon sunshine, surrounded by the house he had so long dreamed of building.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    Reeve pauses in a ray of afternoon sunshine, surrounded by the house he had so long dreamed of building.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  Reeve's partner, Michela Meazza, uses built-in closets for her home office. The imposing gunmetal gray doors can simply be swung shut at the end of a long day's work. The sofa is by Rock Galpin.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    Reeve's partner, Michela Meazza, uses built-in closets for her home office. The imposing gunmetal gray doors can simply be swung shut at the end of a long day's work. The sofa is by Rock Galpin.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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  Seen in the architectural context of its London neighborhood, the house is all the more extraordinary: compact, materially innovative, and easy on the eyes.  Photo by: Ed Reeve
    Seen in the architectural context of its London neighborhood, the house is all the more extraordinary: compact, materially innovative, and easy on the eyes.

    Photo by: Ed Reeve

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