A London Town House Renovation Beaming with Personality

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By Ian Spula / Published by Dwell
Tigg Coll Architects takes a new approach to a straightforward town house renovation and expansion.

There are many ways to approach a home expansion and modernization, even within the confines of a conservation area or landmark district. Often the needs of existing spaces channel the outcome—the new serves, or at least demurs to, the old in color, surface, and utility.

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An outdoor bathroom and shed were demolished for a full-width rear extension. Pivoting doors contrast with a blanket of brick comprising the house, its garden walls, and all the neighboring houses. A two-story addition is camouflaged in reclaimed brick. “We had to develop a series of floor plates at the rear of the building that aligned with adjoining properties,” says architect David Tigg, as an example of the rigors of working in a conservation area.

Some of that goes on at this rebuilt West London town house, but maybe not so much. Architect David Tigg of Tigg Coll Architects insisted the rear extension have its own personality, which he delivered with pivoting glass doors, sharp red support beams, and a wood-burning fireplace flanked by a cantilevered concrete plinth. A step-down from the dining room furthers the extension’s independence.

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A Hans Wegner Shell chair by Carl Hansen & Søn outfits the living room, which is defined by a steel beam painted sharp red.

"The important aspect for us was to balance the careful refurbishment of the original house," said principal architect David Tigg, "to make sure we retain the ’soul’ of the Victorian building whilst also adding to it in an original and playful way."

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The overhanging concrete plinth acts as a hearth or, as Tigg imagines it, a sort of contemporary inglenook. Wood piles neatly between the beam and wall. The fireplace, a Stovax Riva 2, is flanked by a Lampe Gras wall lamp.

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The extension steps down from the dining room, and the ceiling follows suit. The skylight and window wall focus daylight through the back of the original house.

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Black HAY dining chairs and Hooked pendants by Buster and Punch contrast with the dining room’s rustic floorboards, by Eco Hardwood, and the fine detailing of the fireplace.

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A new kitchen at the front of the house completes the trifecta of reworked rooms on the main level. It fits nicely into the notion of balancing new and old elements throughout the house, with oak detailing married to exposed brick, offset by strip lamps. The Hee bar stools are by HAY, the Caravaggio P3 pendants are by Light Years, and the range oven is from Britannia.

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The basement is another newly conceived living space, subsisting on light wells below the front facade.

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“This was another sensitive spot,” said Tigg. “We had to be sure not to distract from the existing Victorian form and streetscape.”

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