Architecture for London

We love talking to the people responsible for creating the discerningly different homes which we have the pleasure of selling at Mr and Mrs Clarke. Architecture for London’s project on Durant Street in Jesus Green, Bethnal Green, was our first exchange in that area back in August. The number of natural materials used inside this home is both admirable, and calming.

We were delighted with being entrusted with the job of selling this home, because it appealed to our sensibilities in every way – brilliant clients, a superbly executed refurbishment of an already great house, and it attracted lots of very interesting people who we enjoyed meeting along the way.

The extended living space

Christian Eldershaw spoke with Matt McKenna about this project. 2 years after they were appointment this beauty was completed and welcomed the family back to enjoy the refresh. These things can be a bit daunting, but it’s a process that pays off in terms of value and the aesthetic impact on wherever you call home.

What was the house like when you first saw it?
We knew before stepping foot inside the house that is was in need of modernisation. The kitchen was in the outrigger and had very low ceilings which added to the disconnection felt from the house. The garden was poorly linked and there was only 1 bathroom which was at ground floor off the kitchen to the rear…not ideal for modern family living.

What excited you most about the project?
Unusually, we worked on the neighbour’s home at the same time. This helped planning, but it was interesting seeing how the same house developed to suit each clients brief.

What was the clients brief to you?
Essentially, it was to create an open plan kitchen and dining room that complimented the rest of the home, whilst injecting the their personality into it.
We also discussed increasing ceiling heights upstairs, which they were on board with, so we opened up and expressed the inverted ‘butterfly roof’ form and introduced skylights to create a bright home throughout.

What caused you the biggest headache?
Planning initially refused the application, citing that an extension would create a discordant element to an otherwise uniform row of terraces. We challenged the appeal with the planning inspector noting these were not open to view from the public and the impact would be limited. We succeeded! The proposal represents “high quality design that respects the original form of these dwellings”.

What is your favourite feature?
The slate door surround to the rear is the most notable feature. Inside, we wanted to reference the Douglas Fir floors which are white and pastel pink in tone, but with a finer grain more suited to joinery details. We opted for quarter-cut Douglas Fir veneer which has a much finer, tighter and straighter grain than the floors, and then used white oils to change the natural yellow of the colour to the pinkish tone. The end result is a very fine pencil like grain when seen up close, but from a distance appears more like polished plaster, which has a similar finish to the polished concrete floor in the kitchen.

Is there any further scope for additional alteration that the new owner may wish to explore?
We looked at feature shelving running down the length of the long wall with a built-in bench for the dining table when we worked on the project. We’ve spoken with the new owner already so there might be some future scope to do something similar to personalise the space for them. Watch. This. Space.

You check this home out on Architecture for London or Dezeen.

A big thanks to the esteemed Michael Franke for his photography.

Christian's thoughts

Read some other writing by Christian, our fab Hackney & Haringey Partner.