A House for a Gardener by Amos Goldreich Architecture
A much-loved garden was central to our design of this side and rear extension for a Victorian mid-terrace house in the Stroud Green Conservation Area of Haringey. The project for a couple, both in property development and one a keen gardener, arranges a sequence of living spaces around the garden and an internal courtyard that gives constant connection to greenery on the tight urban site.
Oak-clad beams spanning the breadth of the expansive kitchen and dining area set up a rhythm that draws the eye out towards the garden, which is accessed through sliding glass doors. Expressing these structural elements not only offers crucial extra head height that contributes to the generosity of the space within the extension, but became fundamental to our design.
In a unifying gesture we used the oak cladding to extend seamlessly out into a large bay window that projects over a fish pond, and up into the wells of the frameless skylights that make up more than half of the roof area. The warmth of the wood is mirrored in the neutral tones of the terrazzo that covers the kitchen island and countertops below, and in the muted green paintwork of cabinetry.
A winter garden below an entirely glazed roof draws light and greenery into the heart of the home, allowing our clients to be surrounded by their plants even in inclement weather, and connects the new kitchen and dining space with the study and lounge at the front of the house. Ochre floor tiles pull the tone of the oak wood through into the space, while gloss white wall tiles bounce the natural light.
Automated skylights that regulate the temperature of the courtyard and an irrigation system installed in the garden give our clients peace of mind their plants are taken care of when holidaying or at to their second home by the coast.
It was important the extension didn’t feel like an add-on, but rather sat in harmony with the existing house. Glass swing doors with black Crittall-style frames allow the winter garden to be combined or separated in a “broken-plan” layout that gives a flexibility to the use of space, and opens up sight lines to both gardens from the entrance hall, off which a new WC and basement utility room are located.
Externally the extension appears as a pair of intersecting boxes, and is painted grey alongside an earlier extension topped by plant-covered terrace to give the appearance of incremental additions. Touches of grey paintwork to the front of the house ties together the project.
Amos Goldreich, architect:
“Graham is an avid gardener and so in some ways we had three clients for the project – Graham and his partner Steve, but also their plants. A lot of the design revolves around the garden and the inclusion of a new winter garden that not only offers an unexpected oasis in the heart of the home but connects the old and new parts of the house. The project was also about reconnecting our clients to the home they had lived in for the last 28 years, and making it suitable for the 28 years to come.”
“I’m a keen gardener and my partner has always wanted to build his own house, our rebuilding project had to merge the two. One of the biggest challenges in doing the extension was that we were potentially taking away some of the garden, which I have nurtured and grown for over 27 years. But as the concept of the design and the build progressed, with Amos, we started to get really excited that we would have an internal garden as well – the winter garden. It, along with changes to the internal walls and doors, has brought the outside in to the whole of the ground floor.”
“You can fall out of love with things sometimes because you take them for granted, and we do that with our homes too. We just need to remember what they were like when we first walked through the door. Like a relationship, sometimes you need a kick up the ass to realise how good it still is. The downstairs and back of of the house feels new now, but it’s all fused together so we look at other parts of the house with brighter eyes, appreciating other parts of the house we became tired of.”
“If you’re in the front sitting room you can see the whole floor plate of the house – it’s so big and open. Yet, the greatest part of the whole build is that you can compartmentalise while still feeling like you’re part of it. We can also sit in the window seat, over looking the pond in the garden, and look down to watch the fish. It’s just so tranquil. Amos got what we were looking to do and brought lots of great ideas to the table. It really felt like a collaboration.”
Photography by Ollie Hammick