The existing cottage was in rundown condition and had poor access to natural daylight and to the backyard, the latter being at a much lower level than the house. Natural light and ventilation, connection to landscape and respectful reuse of existing elements were the core values of the design brief.

A single storey addition to an existing cottage, designed as a split level volume wrapping around a north-facing courtyard. Towards the rear, a new open plan L-shaped living area has been added at a lower split-level, facing both the district views to the rear and to a north-facing central courtyard. A generously proportioned staircase seamlessly connects the existing and the new.

The existing cottage was substantially renovated as well with existing features such as fireplaces repurposes and integrated into new design elements and functions.

The central courtyard, which is now the literal and figurative heart of the house, providing a landscaped respite visible from most areas.

Spaces have been tailor-made to the requirements of the inhabitants, from the provision of a home office and a loft ‘man-cave’ for the owners down to a dedicated washing area within the courtyard for the two canine inhabitants.

The street presentation was maintained, with the addition designed to visually recede and act as an understated backdrop to the existing cottage.

Retention of the bulk of the existing cottage was a positive starting point for the project, both from a building and an environmental cost point of view.

Minimal but incisive interventions in the cottage itself open up the interior and bring much needed daylight inside, without requiring the often-expensive pitfalls associated with renovating old homes.

The design of the addition as an almost standalone, timber-framed structure was another decision made early on to further improve the cost-effectiveness of the project.