A Clever Sunken Roof Fills a London Terrace House with Light

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By Ian Spula / Published by Dwell
A London renovation resolves a family’s yearning for open air and greenery.

Bracketed by obstacles on both sides, this terrace house in London's East End severely lacked an outdoor connection. At the behest of its residents, Scenario Architecture added windows, repositioned the stairwell, and implemented mostly white finishes. The roof was outfitted with wood panelling and potted plants, and a section of it was sunken into the main living space below. Dipping down as a laminate nodule, it is the rebuild’s standout feature: a device that adds light and enables the owners to keep an eye on their kids as they play inside and out. 

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Rather than go with the expected hardwood treatment, Scenario installed springier vinyl flooring on the home's top level. Its open circulation incorporates areas for study, eating, and lounging—a key fulfillment of the client’s directive for an engaging environment that maximizes contact and interaction.

 

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Stark white walls, off-white flooring, and bursts of wood grain energize the space.

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The kitchen countertop is polished concrete. The cupboards are clad in Marine plywood with an olive ash veneer.

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An office nook and library can participate in the open plan or disappear behind pocket doors.

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The central staircase is a key element of the scheme. With the bedrooms and bathroom located on the entrance level, it was crucial to create an intuitive and inviting flow up toward the more social areas. On the upper floor, the central staircase divides and defines an otherwise open plan.

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The entrance level’s master bedroom has engineered oak floors and a full wall of built-in closets.

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The private roof deck is clad entirely in wood planks and panels. Out of frame, the sunken garden made of structural laminate dunks into the living space below.

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