A London Shed Becomes an Airy Home Lit By Three Courtyards

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By Michele Koh Morollo
A new basement level and three bright, cedar-lined courtyards turn a shed into a sun-drenched home.

Sandwiched between a row of garages and rear terrace gardens in West London, an unused shed on the site of a former timber storage yard in West London was converted into a bright family home.

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The owners approached Notting Hill architecture and design practice De Rosee Sa to help them come up with a solution that would allow them to abide by planning rules while still getting the comfortable, efficient home of their dreams.

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Due to local building restrictions, new builds aren’t allowed to exceed a certain height, and all new structures and additions must match the outline of the existing single-story sheds in the area.  

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De Rosee Sa founders and directors Max de Rosee and Claire Sa have a keen interest in materiality and craft, and are intrigued by projects that interact with the senses, so they were happy to take on the challenge of working with this heritage building and site. 

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The new floor plan provided the family with around 1,200 square feet of living space. The architects located the living room, kitchen, and a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom on the ground floor. 

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To adhere to the planning regulations while providing the family with another bedroom, the conversion plan included a new basement level. Here, the second bedroom also enjoys an en-suite bathroom, as well as its own external courtyard.

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Because of privacy issues, the architects could not insert windows into the boundary walls, so they had to find another way to light the narrow, 121-foot-long site. Their solution was to add three external courtyards, which are connected to the interiors with a series of Crittal-style, steel-and-glass doors. These doors create views through the entire length of the open residence, and can be flung open during spring and summer to encourage indoor/outdoor living.

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White interiors, warm vertical wood panel walls, and herringbone parquet flooring soften the industrial feel of the steel doors. The result is a texturally interesting home with strong architectural lines, and a material palette that respects the heritage of its site. 

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In reference to the site’s timber yard history, the team clad the internal walls of the three courtyards in western red cedar battens. These battens continue within the house to form cedar-clad "volumes" where smaller functional spaces—such as the study, utility room, and toilet—are located.

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Project Credits: 

Architecture: De Rosee Sa 

Builder: PPBS 

Structural engineering: BCS Consulting 

Chartered building surveyors: Behan Partnership 

Sustainability consultants: eb7

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