Meet the architect who has planned the redesign of Lyme Grove (for sale through Mr and Mrs Clarke): Carlos Sanchez from Sanchez & Benton. Christian sat down and spoke to Carlos about the opportunities and hurdles which arose when designing a scheme which could change this homes' look.
What did you think of 59 Lyme Grove when you first saw it?
“It’s a handsome structure that will make an extraordinary house once the project is complete.”
It straddles the warehouse and residential typologies so it was clear from the start that there was enough redundancy within its structure to carry at least one additional floor.
What were the immediate opportunities and difficulties you identified?
Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is very rare to find a house with such a wide plot in this part of town. Its south facing garden is beautifully planted but small, so in order to make the building work as a great family house it was imperative to obtain planning permission for a generous roof terrace.
What are your plans for the renovation of the house?
The project seeks to redistribute the way the home is used by making the most out of a westerly facing roof terrace, giving the house a third aspect to enjoy the sun all day long. We proposed to move the living areas of the house to the top two floors, and keep bedrooms on the ground floor in the darkest part of the house. Our scheme improves the thermal performance of the envelope of the existing building to reduce energy consumption to a minimum. The aim was to explore ways to get this performance as close to Passive House standards as possible within an existing structure and the limitations of the Conservation area.
We like the project so much that my partner and I offered to buy the house before it went on the market!
Let’s talk about materials…
We wanted to enjoy the patina of the existing external brickwork, by proposing to clean it locally where it has been painted and to unify the different texture with a light soot wash.
Internally, as much of the existing timber joists and floor boards are to be retained. Walls will be covered in painted timber panelling to conceal the new internal insulation layers, necessary to minimise the energy requirements throughout the year.
In your experience, how long do you envisage the project taking?
The project has just received planning permission and the internal layouts and material development are work in progress. It is sufficiently early in the project for a new owner to adapt the design to their own requirements, with no additional planning required to change the interior design and layouts.
All in all, we think an additional six months will be necessary to complete the design. Works on site should take around six to seven months after that.
What, in your opinion, would be the most important consideration for the people who took this on?
Measure twice, cut once – plan the project as meticulously as possible and don’t rush, and avoid changing your mind during the build as that is how costs spiral out of control.
59 Lyme Grove is a wonderful building and deserves to be treated with care. Spend as much of your budget as possible in the hidden layers of the building – it is easy to change a surface finish, but much more expensive to undo the hidden layers once covered. Reduce the embodied carbon of the build to a minimum, and aim to minimise operational carbon as much as possible. Avoid using plastic and concrete in the project unless unavoidable.
What is your advice for getting the most out of a home project?
Choose your builder carefully and listen to your architects’ professional advice. You will be working with the Contractor for a minimum of six months, so select someone that you trust and respect. The build should be a celebration of the huge amount of planning that comes beforehand and should be enjoyed.
Here’s some of our recent completed projects…
House for an actress
Barnsbury Town House
Lock Keeper's Cottage