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Collection by Kelly Dawson

A Space-Savvy Architect's Home Sandwiched Between Two Buildings

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The opportunity to build a 900-square-foot home on a constrained lot in London was a creative challenge for London architect Charles Thomson and designer Kate Blee.

While it may appear an afterthought compared to its larger neighbors, this home in London’s Islington borough took years of planning—and some gleeful strokes of luck. Architect Charles Thomson of Studio 54 Architecture and designer Kate Blee moved to this area more than 20 years ago and, over the course of two decades, bought the home next door and the one facing their rear garden. They renovated the rear unit for renters, and allowed their university-aged sons to move into the newer address next door. But when they wanted a place for themselves, it was this tiny location that presented Thomson and Blee with real challenges. “The plan of the house evolved in response to the particular constraints of the site: a relatively narrow west-facing street frontage and the close proximity of neighboring properties both at the front and at the rear,” says Thomson. Codes made it impossible to build a two-story structure, so he needed to get creative. Skylights brighten the home’s interior and exposed beams make each space feel larger. The home opens to a courtyard as well. Everything required a discerning eye and patience, two key attributes when such a small plot depends on the details.

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