This is a four-storey terrace house in Islington. The ground levels had been adjusted when the house was first constructed, so while the floor levels have not been changed, the relationship with the ground has been transformed by excavating the garden to the same level as the basement. A dining area extends the basement into the garden and, when the glazed wall is pivoted upwards, the basement and garden become a single space. The kitchen worktop connects a sitting area at the front of the house with the dining space and garden and, for continuity, the floors and walls of each of these spaces are lined with black basalt stone. The existing stair has been retained although one section was in a poor condition and had to be rebuilt. An additional flight of steps links the main stair to the dining area and gives an elevated view of the garden.

The garden has some similarities with the Concrete Garden. It is a space that has been deliberately vacated; by contrasting with its surroundings, they take on a greater clarity. In this case, however, nature has begun to make a comeback: a small fountain and a birch tree break through the pavement, and a bent rectangular tube, of a kind that figures in other projects, forms the seating to a stone table and a long trough for further planting. A boarded area at the end of the garden is at natural ground level.Compared with the transformation of the basement and garden, the strategy on the other floors is one of restoration and sensitive upgrading. All the floor finishes have been renewed and in the library and bathrooms there is a careful balance between the architecture of the original house and the new work. In the bedrooms, the design of the storage walls takes account of the proportions of each space.

Bar House

London, 2003
Project Description