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In Detail – Palm House

Rear Elevation

Rear Elevation

Every quarter, we look at a specific project and present it in more detail, focusing on specific material and design choices.

Palm House is a historic listed Georgian detached house, characterised by bright, open plan areas. The main objective of the project was to replicate the same atmosphere of the upper floors for the lower ground floor, which is currently defined by dark and damp low-height spaces.

By lowering the existing floor and slightly extending the rooms at the rear of the house, the space opens up significantly to become usable for modern living.  The rear extension connects the basement floor with the garden in a surprising panoramic way to enjoy the ever changing shapes and colours of the garden throughout the year from the master bedroom . From the outside, the extension appears to be a floating concrete planter-bed which blends with the existing tropical garden.

The rhythm of the original Georgian sash windows is repeated in the black Crittall window configuration of the extension. As the building originally consisted of two separate houses, two staircases are leading down to the basement level, which enhances the dynamism of the house. The enforcement of the central spine of the building was an important element of the design.  By providing an open timber staircase and glass to the middle of the spine, we seek to create a sense of looking through the building, whilst connecting both elements.

The palette of materials is dictated by the industrial nature of the site location as the house is located directly opposite a railway. Finishes include concrete, metal and brass characterise the interior while timber elements such as the staircase create warmth to the space. It is a challenging juxtaposition however we feel the materials are the balancing element in creating a harmonised space. This project focuses on smart design solutions and detailing to provide open and flexible spaces which are fit for modern living.