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Creating a Compact Urban Oasis for Family Life

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Each of our private home projects gives us the opportunity to deeply understand the intricacies of how people want to live and to create design responses at a human scale, with empathy and understanding.



Client: Private home
Scope: Architecture & Interior design
Location: London


Our clients were a young family looking for space to grow and to better fit their lifestyle. They were struggling to spend time together in the constrained, dark outrigger kitchen and an awkward leftover space nearby. 

Our task was to reconfigure the house to provide more sociable and connected spaces for family living, which could flexibly bring together the everyday activities of cooking, playing, eating, living, entertaining and cleaning. 



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“We needed a creative solution to turn our home into a functional and flowing space for our growing family”



Bringing together principles of Compact Living with Biophilia – our innate connection to nature as humans – the project creates a new main social heart of the home, to bring nature into the family home.

The core concept was to incorporate the garden as an “outdoor room”, using timber finishes both out and in and large cuts in the roof to make an internal space that feels semi-open to the outside and infused with light. The scheme was also developed around carefully optimising the limited space available and making the most of the potential for transforming the owners lives – focusing on the patterns of daily life and how to enhance the family’s individual and collective wellbeing.




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A greater sense of space was created by small but impactful measures such as lowering the ground floor level and raising the first floor, and opening up the upper levels to the roof rafters – bringing natural light and views to the sky wherever possible.  Highly reflective surfaces to maximise light and sense of openness.


To further support the feeling of sanctuary and ttcalm, we developed a range of concealed space-saving storage solutions to minimise clutter and create a serene atmosphere with clean lines.
By considering the sensory aspects and “cognitive load”, the design is based on principles from environmental psychology -  combining soft light colours with a few elements of tactile natural textures for variety and interest.


The connection of the existing house with the new spaces allows the family to engage in different activities across a range of spaces whilst feeling still connected. Small details, such as having the hob and sink facing the dining table - so someone can cook whilst facing the rest of the family -  were built in through in-depth discussions with the owners.



The external expression is a contemporary reinterpretation of the terraced house typology and was it was important for the owners to be able to express their sense of pride in their home. Larch cladding was chosen as it will naturally weather over time to a beautiful shade of silver-grey, and subtly blend into its environment. 




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“We are totally delighted with the beautiful design created for our family home”


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