Kentish Town House 

photography: Adam Parker


This project connects and transforms the ground floor rooms of a 3 storey terrace house in north London via a modest and elegant intervention. The retrofit work has reduced energy use by around 80% via a breathable and ecological insulation approach.

The default approach to improving Victorian terrace homes is the side return infill. This approach certainly delivers quantity of space but often at the expense of quality.  All too often the middle of the plan becomes gloomy and poorly ventilated and the extension suffers from the planning constraints placed on eaves height along the boundary. In this project we aimed to do more with less.

The modest plan area of the extension meant it could be built much higher thereby allowing the dining area to literally extend past the main rear wall and form an open, overlapping relationship with the kitchen. This move also reduced the side yard to the point it felt more like a connecting space. 

A glass roof light over the extension delivers light into the middle of the plan while patio doors open out to the garden. The previously cramped kitchen has been transformed by its new relationship to the dining area, and by the corner window at its other extremity, which has the effect of pulling the garden into the room. Limited floor to ceiling height has been alleviated by leaving the floor joists above exposed, which also adds character to the space. 

The entire house was fully insulated as part of the works in order to reduce energy demand and transform the level of comfort. Through careful detailing this has been done without removing original features like cornices, ceiling roses and fireplaces. 

Above: Heat Demand Before and After
Energy modelling software was used to assess the heat demand of the existing house and the benefit of the proposed upgrade.