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West Hampstead Garden Flat - Feasibility Study

As part of our new website revamp, we thought we would write more regularly lifting the lid a bit on what we do. Here is a little peep into the early stages of one of our latest projects - a feasibility study on a garden flat in West Hampstead.

A lovely couple originally from Australia and Canada (along with their boisterous but adorable labradoodle) approached us to help them with a garden flat they recently purchased. (Funny enough, this was actually the second time they called us - they were originally going to purchase a different flat in Camden but that one didn't work out.)

At a high level, the general layout of their newly purchased flat was quite good: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and living/dining/kitchen zone at the rear facing a private rear garden in a nice building. A very solid purchase in our view.

Getting into the detail however, one can see why we were called in. Whilst the zoning of the living/dining/kitchen area was in a good location, it just wasn't as good as it could be in terms of socialising and entertaining - which was a highly important consideration in their minds (as well as ours).

A key issue was the conservatory - it wasn't completely terrible (maybe a bit worn and outdated), but it was a particular challenge in terms of light and privacy. They needed the daylight (and ideally a bit of view) but their neighbours directly above them had large windows which would look directly down into their space. At the moment they are separated by a translucent vision-obscured plastic roof.

After a good deal of head scratching, we came up with this:

We don't often make models but this was a very particular solution to a very particular problem. Forming the roof in this way allows our clients to not only get natural/direct sunlight but also get natural ventilation and even see some of the view to the trees and sky beyond. The angles of the proposed roof are such that their neighbour just above them wouldn't be looking directly into their space - despite the use of clear glass.

What their upstairs neighbour would see instead is an undulating roof form. No more direct glazed boundary impinging on each other's privacy. As they say, good fences make good neighbours.

Besides the roof of the new extension, some other features to this design:

  • Secondary entrance via the rear garden with a behind-the-scenes 'docking area' for coats and future pram, etc.

  • Expanded glass extension footprint with an opening corner for better outdoor flow in warm weather.

  • Redesigned outdoor area connecting to dining area as well as kitchen.

  • Internal structural wall removed to open up the kitchen to make it more open plan and sociable.

  • The long and featureless corridor is given a treatment to improve the entrance, improve the flow and make it more of a joy to walk along.

We could speak much more about it, but perhaps better to let the existing and proposed drawings speak for themselves.

There was another option we showed them, which was a bit different and had some merit in principle, but it just didn't work as well.

Stay tuned for more!



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