Studio Carver have reconfigured an early 2000’s semi-detached house into a light, modular home for a young family in Primrose Hill. Taking a less-is-more approach Studio Carver reconnected the darker lower living areas to the rest of the house and garden, creating a home that seamlessly flows between open spaces and quiet nooks in a neutral palette of natural materials.
Built in the early 2000’s, the existing house worked as a warren of disconnected rooms. The clients challenged Studio Carver to open up the interiors while still allowing the flexibility of spaces to be closed down at different times of the day. To tackle this, Studio Carver made clever use of the building's five stories by removing a section of the raised ground floor, creating a modular floor plan featuring a double height dining area that draws light into the heart of the home. Flanked by recessed joinery on one side and a home office on the other, sliding doors to the kitchen and office space allow the clients to open and close different zones depending on their needs.
Whilst the finished project feels bigger, the total floor area has been reduced by 13sqm. The critical difference is that the new spaces connect both visually and physically, flowing from one to the next.
At lower ground floor level, a glass and concrete extension opens the kitchen and living area to the south-facing garden. An exposed concrete retaining wall extends from the living room out into the garden and stepped flower beds. This continuous material and frameless glazing draws the eye and further blurs the boundary between indoors and out.
Studio Carver considered the thermal performance of the glass extension, adding a thick 120mm layer of insulation to the roof. To avoid the roof feeling heavy with such dense materials atop the frameless glass extension, the architects designed an intricate green roof of layered copper, zinc and sedum to break down the mass of the parapet. The layering of different metals and plants hides the depth of the roof and creates visual delight at eye-line, merging the extension with the garden under perennials, flowers, and succulents.
Upstairs, the clients can enjoy spreading out over five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Kept intentionally minimal, the bedrooms feature oak floors and white floor-to-ceiling built-in wardrobes with custom recessed timber handles. In the bathrooms slim custom black marble sinks extend the length of the room countering the full height marble walls of the walk-in showers.
In choosing simple, durable and quality materials Studio Carver balanced the large scale of the house with a sense of grace and softness. This gentle-giant is intricately detailed in all areas, from the front entrance foyer, up into the bedrooms and out to the garden, giving the clients tiny moments of delight in all corners of their home.
Keith Carver, Director of Studio Carver said:
‘We worked very closely with our clients who relocated to Singapore during the project. They placed a tremendous amount of trust in us and despite the distance - this was before Covid-19 normalised remote working - we found ways to effectively collaborate and enjoy the process together.
‘Working on this house was about understanding how our clients wanted to live. We thought carefully about each detail, each corner and every function, and we also thought about the quiet beauty this house could emanate. This house isn’t flashy nor are there features jostling for attention, and yet it is full of special moments that give it a sense of understated grace. Good architecture doesn’t need to steal the show, a successful project can also be about creating the right backdrop to your lifestyle.’
‘Our house feels incredibly special. It functions perfectly for us as a young family, but is equally simply a stunning place to be. It is exciting just to walk in the front door!’
‘Studio Carver's ideas were highly innovative and we were fortunate to work with them; we were delighted with the results. We are not the easiest customers, but they were happy to iterate on designs until we were 100% happy. The attention to detail is amazing. We were out of the country for the duration of the building works and could completely trust them to get the job done without any supervision or input from us. Keith has an infectious enthusiasm for his projects. It never felt stressful, and was often exciting and fun.’