A London Victorian Gets a Dreamy Addition Anchored by a Terrazzo Island

Perfectly balanced materials and an elongated skylight elevate a rear addition in East London’s Lower Clapton.
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With a second child on the way, young professionals Corissa and Martin became increasingly concerned that the unusual layout of their two-story Victorian in East London would soon prove impractical. The cramped kitchen in the home’s rear lacked room for a dining area, and the space also felt disconnected from the front of the home due to a seven-step height difference between the two spaces.

Fortunately, the couple didn’t have to look far for help with their home extension. For weeks, Corissa and Martin had been observing the construction process on the house across the street from start to finish, and, impressed with the final result, reached out to the firm behind their neighbor’s renovation—Hackney-based architecture practice Yellow Cloud Studio.

The minimalist facade of the rear extension takes cues from brutalist architecture and features vertical polished plastered pillars, black Viroc cement particle board panels, and pale brick.

The couple asked the architects to replace the rear part of the Victorian with a multipurpose kitchen and dining space with an improved connection to the front living area.

Pale bricks were laid diagonally on the floor to "create a clear contrast with the facade, breaking the linearity and strict composition of the latter," say the architects.

The recess between the bifold doors and rear garden is finished in polished plaster and black Viroc.

"That connection proved to be the biggest challenge of the project, as we dealt with a seven-step drop of levels between the living and kitchen areas while figuring ways of concealing a maze of plumbing pipes that surrounded the existing rear facade," explain the architecture practice, led by Eleni Soussoni and Romanos Tsomos.

The solution came in the shape of an elongated capsule window that visually links the front living room with the rear extension. 

The eye-catching capsule window, bisected by a large skylight, was inserted into the original brick wall and replaces a traditional sash window.

The capsule window's stepped sill with polished concrete surround hides unsightly plumbing pipes.

A large skylight cuts the arched window in half and continues through the entire space, flooding the interior with natural light. The skylight wraps around the facade and culminates in a picture window next to a custom daybed framing views of the rear garden.

"The capsule window also reflects in its shape brutalist tendencies [seen in the new facade], but the stained oak timber of its frame reveals a softer approach of the design," explain the architects.

The view from the front living room toward the rear extension through the capsule window.

Built by Stuart Indge, the sun-soaked oak veneer daybed and window seat features built-in storage underneath.

In addition to a new daybed, the 485-square-foot extension features a dining area beneath the arched window, a spacious new kitchen with a bespoke terrazzo island, and an outdoor terrace. On the second floor above the kitchen is a guest room, study, and family bathroom.

The elegant kitchen cabinetry was built with oil-treated oak on a birch interior structure. The backsplash is Confiserie Blush Chevron Mosaic by Claybrook, and the wall lights are Brass Cylinder Lamps by Dyke and Dean.

Bert Frank Masina brass-and-opal glass pendant lamps hang above the bespoke terrazzo island designed and installed by Diespeker.

"The kitchen, dining, and daybed areas are all given a separate, unforced presence inside the new space, taking into consideration their usability and the various functions of family life," note the architects.

Yellow Cloud Studio designed the dining table that was built by Stuart Indge Ltd. The midcentury chairs are by Arne Hovmand Olsen, made by Mogens Kold.

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DCW Editions' Les Acrobates lights that hang above the dining table contribute to the design's warm, industrial feel.

The architects further strengthened the indoor/outdoor connection in the light-filled extension by bringing elements of the minimalist, brutalist-inspired facade indoors—including pale bricks and gray polished plaster—that are combined with warm oak carpentry, sand-colored plaster, and brass accents. The natural muted tones are contrasted by the showstopping, black terrazzo kitchen island and free-standing cabinet by the dining area.

Bifold doors create a near-seamless indoor/outdoor living experience between the extension and the rear garden.

The pale brick wall strengthens the visual connection between indoors and out.

"The black volumes…intensify the experience of raw, handmade surfaces," explain the architects. "The result is a bright, spacious and unique addition to a traditional property that connects the space to its landscape and celebrates the craftsmanship of its materiality."

Natural light and materiality were celebrated in the design, from the warm timber surfaces to the pigmented polished plaster walls and micro-cement floors that help reflect light.

Glyn House floor plan

Glyn House rear elevation

Glyn House isometric diagram

Glyn House exploded isometric diagram

Related Reading: 

A London Terrace House’s Extension Goes Graphic With Pattern and Color

Before & After: A Cramped Victorian in London Lightens Up With a Double-Height Renovation

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Yellow Cloud Studio / @yellowcloudstudio

Builder/ General Contractor: H Quality Construction Ltd

Structural Engineer: Buzhala Associates

Interior Design: Yellow Cloud Studio

Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Stuart Indge

Polished Concrete: Fakktory Ltd

Natural Stone: Diespeker


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