38 Vanbrugh Hill, Greenwich SE3
The proposal is to build a kitchen extension on the rear and side of a Victorian semi-detached house and open up the kitchen area for easier access to the garden and within the kitchen; and to create better light as the owners work from home.
Presently the kitchen and dining room have a dark and introspective aspect, which does not have views onto the back garden nor the amenity of sunlight that it could offer this family. The clients would like to open up the presently dark kitchen and convoluted space by removing the back and side wall to build an extension and fill part of the disused path along the side of the kitchen. The rest of the path will be retained for access from front to rear. This will allow them to create an open glass door facade onto the garden, which when combined with a side extension will create a good sized space for the family and friends to meet and to work from and to have the amenity of sunlight and access to the garden and within the kitchen itself.
Here, the inside ground level at 38 Vanbrugh Hill is some 600mm below the upper ground level of the neighbours’, at 40 Vanbrugh Hill – so there is no overbearing on the back wall of the neighbours. Also the two pathways that lie between the extension and the neighbours means there is no blocking of light. So if a side extension were to be built to the same ceiling height as that which exists in the kitchen it would not, even including the roof depth, exclude any light or views- due to the angled roof that allows views and light for the neighbours. Also the clients wish to raise the outside ground level so as to have the kitchen level with the patio.
This kitchen extension will be accessed primarily via the entrance hallway corridor, via a proposed storage area of full height cupboards for storage and past a w.c. under the stairs. There will also be access via the side pathway with a small lobby and storage cloak-room. Access to the garden will be directly through the kitchen through four folding doors that will be offering an open sense of space when fully opened.
The extension is designed in such a way as to create a light-weight feeling both internally due to the strip skylight and the open space it will provide and also externally due to the maximum use of glass and minimal use of brickwork. There will be a skylight of continuous glass strip set onto the top of the angled roof at the side. The brickwork that forms the wall and supports at the rear will be kept to the minimum of simply the two flanking walls and bridge, within which will be columns to support the façade’s beam that will support simply three courses and a soldier course. Thereby, reducing any chance of over bearing.
In this way the openness of the facade will be maximised and have a light- weight feeling with a horizontal emphasis. This horizontal composition is enhanced by the sliding doors that have are not too vertical in proportion and so adding to the horizontal character. There is a parapet that is proposed to cap the rear façade but not the side, because on the side the proposal has been designed to keep as low as possible with a angled sloped roof. When the horizontal composition of this brick façade and parapet is combined with the open character of the glass- the whole creates a modest impact on the house’s rear arrangement and helps the extension to be in-keeping with the character and scale of the existing house and terrace; without it becoming over bearing.
In order to prevent the upper floor back window being blocked, the proposal includes the replacement of this rear sash window with a matching but reduced height, shorter sash window. Also the window to the basement at the back will be blocked in to form a wall in the kitchen lobby. The proposal is to replace this window with two matching windows on the side of the house facing the pathway.
In addition to the use of the horizontal composition and the openness of the folding windows, the proposal will use brickwork to match the existing brickwork in order to stay in keeping with the existing house. This brickwork will be second hand London Stock brickwork that will have the same pointing as the existing; and if needed will be stained to match the existing brickwork. The roof of both the side and rear parts of the extension will be of lead-work. The horizontal element of the parapet banding, will be of stone or reconstituted stone. The gutter will be of galvanised grey painted pressed metal and will be fixed on to the outside of side wall.
As this well-used family house often has more than four people visiting and/or living there, the kitchen is often overcrowded and the dining room blocked off from the kitchen and garden. This extension will improve access in and around the rear of the house and garden – that is presently difficult to access and not seen at all from the kitchen. The lowering of the ground level, the low height of the proposed roof and the distance between the houses due to the gap of the two pathways with next door suggest that no light will be blocked for the neighbours.
The clients do not wish to extend at the rear any further than the depth of the existing footprint and will only extend sideways as far as the existing house. In conclusion this design and proposal is modest, understated and elegant – yet it creates and allows for many more improvements inside. The proposal enhances not only the lives of the present clients (who live and work there) but also the character of the back garden. This isolated back area will become enhanced, maintained and connected to the rest of the house in such a way to improve the gardens and offer much needed space and light inside the house.