The 2-storey property was built as school science laboratory in 1935 but after the main school was demolished in the 1980s, was converted into a recording studio. It was subsequently squatted causing many issues to the neighbours. The owner then converted the property into two self-contained flats and rented them out until the client bought the whole property in 2015.

It is situated at the end of a terraced road in London, E7 between a Victorian cottage, which was used by the school caretaker, and a single storey power sub-station, built at the same time as the science lab. The house features red brick to the front and yellow brick to the remaining sides, which form the outer leaf of the external walls, whilst the inner leaf consists of a concrete steel-reinforced structure. Two white rendered bands accentuate the rectangular proportions of the building and the nine very large windows to the front create a remarkable industrial look.

The brief was to convert the property from two self-contained flats into a family house including roof terrace. This involved securing planning permission to convert the house into a single dwelling and further planning permission for the roof terrace with wild-flower green roof.

The client was looking for a family house with space to spare for visitors and a home office and there was a clear vision to keep and restore original features such as the solid pine herringbone flooring, perimeter terracotta tiles and the existing concrete stairwell with metal balustrade. New period-correct double-glazed steel framed windows have been reinstated. Due to the concrete construction and existing layout, the two floors were physically disconnected, and it was important to create a link between the ground and first floor in order to make it feel like one house. New fittings were chosen or designed to be in keeping with the period and former use of the building. This is reflected in the metal balustrade and handrail on the first floor, the white metal stairs leading up to the roof and the use of stainless steel for the worktops and kitchen island.

The house was stripped back to its concrete walls and ceilings in order to install highly efficient perimeter and internal wall insulation, but existing original features were restored or reinstated. Two new openings were created in the first floor and roof slab in order to create access to the roof and better circulation. The approach to the programming and sequencing of the rooms and circulation spaces was derived from a strong desire to not have any internal rooms and making the best use of the abundance of natural light. The industrial sized structural openings of the windows essentially provided the grid for placing the internal walls, especially on the ground floor.

The ground floor became the private areas of the house and include two large bedrooms with bespoke fitted wardrobes and storage, one smaller bedroom for guests, a utility room with all services and boiler and a generous central hall connecting all the rooms and the first floor. A new staircase was inserted to create the physical link with the first floor and to introduce more natural light to the ground floor.

The new stairs create four distinct zones on the open-plan first floor with the dining area to the left and living area to the right. In the opposite corner lies the kitchen with stainless steel worktops and the home office/fourth bedroom behind the fitted cabinets.

A white steel staircase with painted plywood treads leads up via a large electronically operated skylight to the roof terrace. The staircase was designed to reflect the 1930s aesthetics of the house and to let the light fall through it, white powder-coated metal mesh was used between each step that create beautiful shadow patterns along the wall.

The roof is externally insulated and features a wild-flower green roof. The decking and planters are made with Millboard, which is very lightweight, virtually maintenance free and made of 100% recycled plastics. Both have integrated drainage to let the rainwater run off to the existing downpipes. The planters hold enough soil to plant small trees and include ample storage space for gardening tools and furniture. The roof terrace provides views across Wanstead Flats, the BT tower and Canary Wharf yet is completely private and secluded.

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Modern home with Staircase, Metal Railing, and Wood Tread. New timber stars leading to first floor Photo  of The Science LabView Photos

New timber stars leading to first floor

Modern home with Bath Room, Marble Counter, Medium Hardwood Floor, and Pedestal Sink. Carrara marble bathroom worktops Photo 2 of The Science LabView Photos

Carrara marble bathroom worktops

Modern home with Staircase, Concrete Tread, and Metal Railing. Original concrete stairwell with metal balustrade Photo 3 of The Science LabView Photos

Original concrete stairwell with metal balustrade

Modern home with Kitchen and Metal Counter. Stainless steel kitchen worktops and new metal stairs leading to roof terrace Photo 4 of The Science LabView Photos

Stainless steel kitchen worktops and new metal stairs leading to roof terrace

Modern home with Living Room, Track Lighting, Chair, and Accent Lighting. Vitsoe 606 shelving system Photo 5 of The Science LabView Photos

Vitsoe 606 shelving system

Modern home with Staircase, Wood Tread, and Metal Railing. Stainless steel kitchen worktops and new metal stairs leading to roof terrace Photo 6 of The Science LabView Photos

Stainless steel kitchen worktops and new metal stairs leading to roof terrace

Modern home with Bath Room, Enclosed Shower, and Ceramic Tile Wall. Square matte white tiles in bathrooms Photo 7 of The Science LabView Photos

Square matte white tiles in bathrooms

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Railing, and Wood Tread. The handrail forms the first floor balustrade Photo 8 of The Science LabView Photos

The handrail forms the first floor balustrade

Modern home with Bedroom, Storage, Bed, and Accent Lighting. Guest bedroom Photo 9 of The Science LabView Photos

Guest bedroom

Modern home with Living Room, Track Lighting, Medium Hardwood Floor, and Chair. Deep blue central wall with vintage map of Switzerland Photo 10 of The Science LabView Photos

Deep blue central wall with vintage map of Switzerland

Modern home with Outdoor, Decking Patio, Porch, Deck, Rooftop, Vegetables, Flowers, and Raised Planters. Roof terrace with planters for fruit, vegetables and herbs Photo 11 of The Science LabView Photos

Roof terrace with planters for fruit, vegetables and herbs

Modern home with Outdoor, Vegetables, Decking Patio, Porch, Deck, Rooftop, Raised Planters, Flowers, and Trees. Private and secluded terrace with view across London in the tree tops Photo 12 of The Science LabView Photos

Private and secluded terrace with view across London in the tree tops

Modern home with Outdoor, Rooftop, Decking Patio, Porch, Deck, and Flowers. The planters are filled with 50cm of soil and suitable for growing small trees Photo 13 of The Science LabView Photos

The planters are filled with 50cm of soil and suitable for growing small trees

Modern home with Outdoor, Trees, Flowers, Grass, Rooftop, Decking Patio, Porch, Deck, and Raised Planters. The terrace is surrounded by a wildflower meadow green roof Photo 14 of The Science LabView Photos

The terrace is surrounded by a wildflower meadow green roof

Modern home with Staircase, Concrete Tread, and Metal Railing. The original concrete stairwell with metal balustrade Photo 15 of The Science LabView Photos

The original concrete stairwell with metal balustrade

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Railing, and Wood Tread. View across the first floor Photo 16 of The Science LabView Photos

View across the first floor

Modern home with Kitchen, Track Lighting, Medium Hardwood Floor, and Metal Counter. Dining area with kitchen island Photo 17 of The Science LabView Photos

Dining area with kitchen island

Modern home with Living Room, Medium Hardwood Floor, and Sofa. View towards the original stairwell Photo 18 of The Science LabView Photos

View towards the original stairwell

Modern home with Hallway and Medium Hardwood Floor. Ground floor hall with doors leading to the bathrooms Photo 19 of The Science LabView Photos

Ground floor hall with doors leading to the bathrooms

Modern home with Hallway and Medium Hardwood Floor. Ground floor hall Photo 20 of The Science LabView Photos

Ground floor hall

Credits

Posted By
Architect
  • made with volume
Interior Design
  • made with volume
Photographer
  • Paul Tucker
  • Katherine Peachy

Overview

Bedrooms
  • 4
  • Full Baths
  • 1
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Midcentury
  • Year
  • 1935
  • Square Feet
  • 3230