14 Extraordinary Additions That Transform Centuries-Old London Homes

These contemporary extensions bring new life to old terrace homes and residences from the Victorian, Edwardian, and Georgian eras.
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For these historic London residences that date back 100 years or more, extra square footage comes in the form of thoughtfully designed additions that embrace open layouts, modern materials and aesthetics, and a connection to the outdoors. 

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

After observing the renovation of their neighbor’s home in East London, young professionals Corissa and Martin reached out to Hackney-based Yellow Cloud Studio to build an extension for their two story Victorian, which the couple needed to accommodate their second child on the way. The 485-square-foot extension includes a dining area and spacious kitchen with a bespoke terrazzo island designed and installed by Diespeker. A brick-clad addition on the second level includes a guest room, study, and family bathroom.

Bifold doors create a seamless indoor/outdoor connection between the extension and the rear garden. The architects brought elements of the minimalist, brutalist-inspired facade into the interior, combining pale bricks and gray polished plaster with warm oak carpentry, sand-colored plaster, and brass accents. 

London-based firm Turner Architects recovered this brick-clad Georgian row house from a sad state of disrepair. The three-story residence retains its original arrangement of rooms with studies, bedrooms, and bathrooms located on the upper levels and the common areas below. On the ground level, the architects built out a low-slung, 45-foot-long extension with new dining, living, and kitchen spaces. The addition features a retractable wall of windows that opens to the garden at the rear, and is topped with a green roof.

The extension takes inspiration from Dutch courtyard paintings by "establishing monastic spaces that open to landscape and sky," says principal Paul Turner. The living room is separated from the dining and kitchen areas by an enclosed courtyard planted with a single cherry tree.

Mark Rothery and Alison Carrol approached London-based architects Andrew Mitchell and Ester Corti for help expanding their terraced Victorian in northwest London. The homeowners needed more space for their two growing children—and for the family’s impressive book collection.

The cofounders of Mitchell + Corti Architects designed the expansion with the knowledge that the owners plan to continue the renovation when their budget allows it. "We wanted to put everything in the right place so it doesn’t have to be undone later," says Corti. The invigorated 1,291-square-foot floor plan includes a rear extension with a circular skylight that illuminates a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the open-plan common area.

For the renovation and expansion of this Georgian-style home in the Albert Gardens Conservation Area of Stepney Green, East London, local firm Archer + Braun drew inspiration from postwar brutalism. The addition was created with custom concrete that matches the surrounding buildings, as well as the tones of the existing structure’s London stock brick.

Inside the addition, the concrete floor was processed to expose the aggregate, mirroring the home’s exterior. A skylight over the dining table creates an inviting gathering space. Furniture was sourced from London’s Two Columbia Road.

Architect Mat Barnes, founder of Critical Architecture Network (CAN), transformed the South London Edwardian he shares with his wife and young daughter into a postmodern playground. A glass-box addition at the rear of the home is topped with a foamed aluminum mountain range hoisted on posts that mimic surveyor poles. The striking design was inspired by an image of the construction of Disneyland’s Matterhorn ride.

The architect got creative with the interior, too. The kitchen cabinets are made of recycled milk bottle tops, manufactured by Smile Plastics in Wales. Four steps leading down to the kitchen, dining, and living area are tiled with Mat’s grandmother’s catchphrase, "Waste not, want not."

One year after Tom and Jennifer Allen bought their four-bedroom London Victorian, the duo tasked Amos Goldreich Architecture with transforming the ground level by adding an extension that creates separate spaces for the residents to gather while working, cooking, relaxing, and playing. "We wanted a more open-plan, functional living area, with a kitchen/dining zone that was bathed in natural light with easy access between the ground floor and the garden," says Tom. 

A clear sight line now extends through the front entry to the extension and into the rear garden. In the addition, exposed rafters made from steel with oak cladding join a shelving screen that serves as a clever room divider between the sitting area and kitchen. "We chose to divide the space with bespoke permeable shelving to allow the family separate zones within the extension, giving each space a sense of identity and purpose rather than one long, open box," says Goldreich.  

London-based practice Studio Ben Allen implemented prefab elements to recast a dark and dated Victorian terrace home for its longtime residents in just four days. The architects expanded the rear of the existing home, adding a new kitchen and two bathrooms. The entire update is swathed in a chromatic series of green-, blue-, and red-pigmented concrete.

Three elements of the extension were built off-site: the exterior and structural concrete, which includes patterned brickwork, the nonstructural concrete elements (like the kitchen counter and bath), and the balustrade. An arch motif ties together the artful renovation.

DGN Studio renovated and extended a semidetached Victorian terrace near London Fields for clients Rebecca and Roman. The rear extension is defined by a material palette of exposed concrete and white-oiled oak, which was chosen for its durability, as well as its warm texture and grain. "We are very aware of the dialogue around the sustainability of concrete as a building material, so we were keen to make sure its use was related to a specific set of practical tasks for which it would stand the test of time," says the firm’s cofounder, Geraldine Ng.

The lowered level at the back of the home hosts the kitchen and dining room and is accessed via concrete steps that double as informal seating. "We loved the idea of being able to read the sunken part of the house as an entirely concrete element, which would give the space a feeling of being grounded," says the architect. "[It also] provides a robust base for the timber frame and a series of plinths on which different activities can take place, such as sitting, cooking, reading, or exercising."

Avid gardener Graham and his partner, Steve, approached Amos Goldreich Architecture to expand their Victorian mid-terrace house in the Stroud Green Conservation Area of Haringey, North London. "The design revolves around the garden Graham has lovingly labored over for decades," Goldreich says. The rear extension includes a spacious kitchen with a terrazzo island and beams clad in oak. Glazed sliding doors and a bay window connect the interior to the yard. 

The heart of the home incorporates an inclosed winter garden that allows the residents to be surrounded by their plants, even in bad weather. The enclosed garden features automated skylights that regulate the temperature of the courtyard and an irrigation system.

Novak Hiles Architects designed a 194-square-foot addition to this London terrace home—owned by couple Ben and Jess—with an open-plan kitchen and dining area that connects to a split-level garden. The exterior of the rear extension is clad in pressed metal and features a frieze made of handmade ceramic tiles decorated with Arts and Crafts references, such as bracken fern leaves.

The architects replaced the existing small and dark kitchen with an open-plan cooking and dining area that includes floor-to-ceiling windows and a skylight. Muted earth tones, such as the olive-green cabinets and jade tile backsplash, mimic the hues of the greenery outside.  

Amos Goldreich Architecture remodeled this terraced Victorian brownstone in Finsbury Park, London, for a couple with a newborn. The team reconfigured the ground floor by adding a side extension—clad in matching London stock brick—with an enlarged kitchen and efficient storage solutions. A large glass window with a built-in seating nook looks out to the garden. 

Modified Ikea cabinets in the kitchen are finished with plywood fronts and swathed in a deep azure-and-birch trim. "It just shows that you don’t need a huge budget or masses of space to create a beautiful and unique home," says Goldreich.  

Architect Mat Barnes of CAN designed the playful extension to this Victorian terrace house in Brockley, South London. The exterior of the main volume features offset Douglas fir battens painted with blue and gray to reflect the vertical lines and color of the side extension, which is set back slightly and features a ribbed render with matching metalwork.

The interior of the extension was kept quite muted with bright, white surfaces designed to bounce light around the extension. The same glossy tiles that were used on the exterior clad a brick pillar in the kitchen and lounge area that sits beneath a skylight.

Architect Grant Straghan, founder of DeDraft, designed this aluminum extension in London’s Walthamstow area for a librarian and illustrator couple who had lived in the old terrace house for several years before they were ready to move forward with an expansion. After learning about the clients’ affinity for green, Straghan selected a pale-toned paint to decorate the exterior in the residents’ favorite color.

The interior features large concrete floor tiles and light-gray concrete blockwork on the walls. Exposed Douglas fir ceiling joists, bespoke birch plywood cabinets, and Corian countertops lend texture to the space. A skylight and tall glass doors bring in natural light.

A London couple who run their own design and photography firm gave architect Alison Brooks free rein to design a 750-square-foot home office that extends from their Victorian. The angular addition, which was inspired by the aperture of a camera, is clad in Corian—a surface normally found on countertops.

The side entrance to the office space lies in a sunken courtyard, which required backyard excavation (and a sign-off from a horticulturist to guarantee the digging didn’t interfere with a walnut tree). The abstract geometry of the extension allows for unique openings and a skylight that provides natural light to the staff throughout the day. 

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