jwa-logo-web
Search
Close this search box.

Hill House

THE PROJECT

HOW SUSTAINABLE THINKING CAN OFFSET MODERN LIVING

LOCATION

Honor Oak, London

SERVICES

3D modelling
Planning  application
Appointing consultants
Detailed design
Building Regulation consent
Builder selection
Project management on site

Photography: Kimi Gill
Progress Photography: JWa

This unique project involved comprehensive redevelopment on the site of an existing bungalow in Honor Oak, South London. The original design and planning permission for the house was by Delvendahl Martin Architects. Our clients bought the property with the planning permission still in place, and appointed us to adjust and advance the proposals to better suit their individual requirements.

The finished house consists a pair of two-storey volumes, linked by a single storey entrance gallery. The family living spaces are located on upper floors with large picture windows and a terrace to take advantage of spectacular 360° views over London. The design of the house minimises energy use, with special solar panels storing excess heat underground while running a ground source heat-pump and mechanical heat recovery ventilation system.

PROGRESS IN PICTURES

ELEVATION

It was a crazy house, but it had potential and we decided at once to work with an architect we knew, and that was Joe.

MORE TO EXPLORE

The Wee House

Although The Wee House is only 8 feet wide and one room deep it has the Tardis like ability to feel bigger on the inside and that, owner Ewan claims, is down to Joe Wright’s ...
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

Complete refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house with a new contemporary steel stair. The smart approach to layout created a sense of extra space without needing to extend into the rear yard.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Broomfield Avenue London

A new kitchen with its showstopping brick wall and teal-colour steel structure has huge, corner bi-fold windows that can be opened up during the warmer months, allowing the living space to flow into the garden
{VIEW PROJECT}

The Wee House

THE PROJECT

HOW EXPANSIVE IDEAS CAN TRANSFORM A SMALL SPACE

LOCATION

Laystall Street, Clerkenwell

SERVICES

Outline designs
Pre-application planning negotiation
Applications for planning consent
Detailed design
Appointing consultants
Building Regulation consent
Builder selection
Project management on site

Photography: David Butler
Progress Photography: JWa

The Wee House occupies a narrow triangular shaped plot; an infill between two larger blocks. The street façade is only 2.5 metres wide, reducing to point at the rear. The ground floor had been used as a shop before being converted for residential use. The tiny existing kitchen occupied a room (or cupboard) of less than 2.5m², yet the bathroom took up the entire basement. A small area of roof over the kitchen at 1st floor level formed an unusable rear ‘terrace’.

The works were driven by an ambition to make this wee house a truly functional home for the client and his partner, to maximise the space without any aspect ever feeling awkward or contrived. The internal layout was comprehensively rationalised and extended to use every square centimetre of the plot.

The final solution provides a regular sized and kitted out kitchen, an atmospheric master bedroom with adequate clothes storage and guest room. The extra floor delivered break-away space in the form of the top floor glass-roofed den.

The infill of the small rear area over four floors created two ‘wet rooms’, a library space and a hard working plant/utility room. Whilst also providing a vertical services shaft serving all floors.

A distinctive new ‘shop front’ was created using deep blocks of pre-cast concrete, with subtle shifts in the planes of windows and the door enhancing depth. A low-level window beneath the kitchen worktop provides additional daylight to the basement bedroom.

PROGRESS IN PICTURES

INCH PERFECT

I liked the fact that we were able to play with ideas and that we could end up agreeing ‘no’!

MORE TO EXPLORE

Hill House

Joining a new build house and garage with an entry hall that links the upside down living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. Maximise the view. Minimise the environmental impact.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

Complete refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house with a new contemporary steel stair. The smart approach to layout created a sense of extra space without needing to extend into the rear yard.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Broomfield Avenue London

A new kitchen with its showstopping brick wall and teal-colour steel structure has huge, corner bi-fold windows that can be opened up during the warmer months, allowing the living space to flow into the garden
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

THE PROJECT

REFURBISHMENT OF A VICTORIAN TERRACED HOUSE

LOCATION

Cathcart Street, Kentish Town

SERVICES

Outline designs
Application for planning  consent
Detailed design
Appointing consultants
Building Regulation consent
Builder selection
Project management on site

Photography: David Butler

We managed to create extra space in this small town house without needing to extend into the small rear yard.

The existing interior; including rickety stairs, windows, roof, walls and floors, were completely removed, leaving only the brick perimeter walls. This allowed us to start again and provide the optimum layout for the house.

The interior finish is pared-back but homely. A new floating steel stair, clad in blackened oak connects the floors. Bespoke made joinery provides, discreetly, plenty of storage.

PROGRESS IN PICTURES

MORE TO EXPLORE

Hill House

Joining a new build house and garage with an entry hall that links the upside down living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. Maximise the view. Minimise the environmental impact.
{VIEW PROJECT}

The Wee House

Although The Wee House is only 8 feet wide and one room deep it has the Tardis like ability to feel bigger on the inside and that, owner Ewan claims, is down to Joe Wright’s ...
{VIEW PROJECT}

Broomfield Avenue London

A new kitchen with its showstopping brick wall and teal-colour steel structure has huge, corner bi-fold windows that can be opened up during the warmer months, allowing the living space to flow into the garden
{VIEW PROJECT}

Broomfield Avenue London

THE PROJECT

HOW COLLABORATION HELPS A PROJECT COME TOGETHER

LOCATION

Palmers Green, London

SERVICES

Outline and concept designs
Application for planning
Detailed design
Appointing consultants
Building regulation consent
Builder selection
Project management on site

Photography: Chris Stokes
Progress Photography: JWa

The entire ground floor to this large semi-detached suburban house was remodelled to suit the needs of a young family. The kitchen and dining area had to be suitable for regular entertaining and large family gatherings with more daylight and improved links to the garden.

A side extension with a ribbon of glazing running from the rear wall and over the roof allowed daylight into the centre of the space. A rear extension with a cantilevered roof and disappearing corner brought the outside in and the inside out, so that the garden becomes an extra room in summer.

PROGRESS IN PICTURES

TEAM BUILDING

We definitely wanted to like our architect. We needed to know we could be honest with you and have a conversation.

MORE TO EXPLORE

Hill House

Joining a new build house and garage with an entry hall that links the upside down living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. Maximise the view. Minimise the environmental impact.
{VIEW PROJECT}

The Wee House

Although The Wee House is only 8 feet wide and one room deep it has the Tardis like ability to feel bigger on the inside and that, owner Ewan claims, is down to Joe Wright’s ...
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

Complete refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house with a new contemporary steel stair. The smart approach to layout created a sense of extra space without needing to extend into the rear yard.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Broomfield Avenue Worthing

THE PROJECT

HOW BRIGHT IDEAS CAN LEAD TO ENLIGHTENED OUTCOMES

LOCATION

Broomfield Ave, Worthing

SERVICES

Outline designs
Drawings and application for planning consent
Detailed design
Appointing consultants
Building Regulation consent

Photography: Kimi Gill

The client brief for this project in West Sussex was to create a family room at the rear of the house, to replace the existing damp conservatory and narrow kitchen. The rear of the house was completely opened up and enclosed by a wide extension finished in a distinctive white brick. The interior spaces were generally neat and crisp white or grey-tone, with colour accents picking up on the clients’ art collection.

FULL BEAM

What I really liked was that Joe listens more than he talks.

MORE TO EXPLORE

Hill House

Joining a new build house and garage with an entry hall that links the upside down living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. Maximise the view. Minimise the environmental impact.
{VIEW PROJECT}

The Wee House

Although The Wee House is only 8 feet wide and one room deep it has the Tardis like ability to feel bigger on the inside and that, owner Ewan claims, is down to Joe Wright’s ...
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

Complete refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house with a new contemporary steel stair. The smart approach to layout created a sense of extra space without needing to extend into the rear yard.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Crouch End House

THE PROJECT

IMPROVING CONNECTIVITY OF SPACES

LOCATION

Crouch End, London

SERVICES

Outline and concept designs
Application for planning
Detailed design
Appointing consultants
Building Regulation consent
Builder selection
Project management on site

Photography: David Butler

The ground floor of this large house in Crouch End was transformed by a clever rearrangement of the layout and new side infill extension, improving connectivity and flexibility of the spaces.

Selected rooms on the upper floors were also refurbished, with new roof windows inserted wherever possible.

Our clients applied their tasteful eye to furnishings and fittings and managed to achieve a stunning family home on a limited budget.

PROGRESS IN PICTURES

MORE TO EXPLORE

Hill House

Joining a new build house and garage with an entry hall that links the upside down living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. Maximise the view. Minimise the environmental impact.
{VIEW PROJECT}

The Wee House

Although The Wee House is only 8 feet wide and one room deep it has the Tardis like ability to feel bigger on the inside and that, owner Ewan claims, is down to Joe Wright’s ...
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

Complete refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house with a new contemporary steel stair. The smart approach to layout created a sense of extra space without needing to extend into the rear yard.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Hadley Street

THE PROJECT

SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE MATTER

LOCATION

Hadley Street, Kentish Town

SERVICES

Outline and concept designs
Application for planning
Detailed design
Appointing consultants
Building Regulation consent
Project management on site

Photography: David Butler
Progress Photography: JWa

Our brief from the clients for this project focussed on transforming the cramped and dark ground floor into a multi-function family living space. The elevated railway to the rear restricted daylight and views out. So we chose to open up the ground floor to the sky.

Rather than physically separating the spaces with doors, daylight and joinery elements are used to define uses. Allowing family life to flow between and around.

Space in the small rear yard was maximised by arranging planting and seating around the perimeter. The fully glazed rear to the kitchen creates the appearance of an extra room to the house.

The clients’ own keen eye for design and materials contributed to a beautiful, personalised home.

PROGRESS IN PICTURES

MORE TO EXPLORE

Hill House

Joining a new build house and garage with an entry hall that links the upside down living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. Maximise the view. Minimise the environmental impact.
{VIEW PROJECT}

The Wee House

Although The Wee House is only 8 feet wide and one room deep it has the Tardis like ability to feel bigger on the inside and that, owner Ewan claims, is down to Joe Wright’s ...
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

Complete refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house with a new contemporary steel stair. The smart approach to layout created a sense of extra space without needing to extend into the rear yard.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Fentiman Road

THE PROJECT

A Tall Order

LOCATION

Fentiman Road, Vauxhall

SERVICES

Detailed design
Appointing consultants
Building Regulation consent
Builder selection
Project management on site

Photography: Alan Williams
Progress Photography: JWa

This was an extension and full refurbishment of a terrace house for one of Joe’s old bosses, Jonathan Hall of high-profile commercial and public sector architects AHMM.

Jonathan had strong ideas for the design but with his super-busy job wanted our help on production and management of the day-to-day aspects. The project included a bespoke metal stair running up through the centre of the house, with the steps clad in orange rubber and a continuous oak hand rail.

PROGRESS IN PICTURES

MORE TO EXPLORE

Hill House

Joining a new build house and garage with an entry hall that links the upside down living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. Maximise the view. Minimise the environmental impact.
{VIEW PROJECT}

The Wee House

Although The Wee House is only 8 feet wide and one room deep it has the Tardis like ability to feel bigger on the inside and that, owner Ewan claims, is down to Joe Wright’s ...
{VIEW PROJECT}

Cathcart Street

Complete refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house with a new contemporary steel stair. The smart approach to layout created a sense of extra space without needing to extend into the rear yard.
{VIEW PROJECT}

Broomfield Avenue Full Beam

FULL BEAM

HOW BRIGHT IDEAS CAN LEAD TO ENLIGHTENED OUTCOMES

{NERYS WALTERS & MATT WIGGINS}

I want the beams,” Nerys Walters said to partner Matt Wiggins after studying architect Joe Wright’s website. She had seen a photo of a kitchen extension in Palmers Green, London and was smitten. Meanwhile Matt kept, “Looking for architects round here and trying to find ones that looked more professional and had worked on a similar property to what we had.”

The couple, both 42, had moved into a semi-detached house in West Worthing intending to enlarge it, but they were unsure about how to find an architect. Practical Matt went on to Nextdoor, a neighbourhood info sharing app he’d heard about from a flyer through the door, to ask if anyone could help. They could: armed with a list of recommended people he and Nerys then organised face-to-face meetings for the job.

As it happens Joe lives in nearby Worthing with his family – where he also grew up – but his office is based in London.

Beam colours picked up on artwork

What I really liked was that Joe listens more than he talks.
 
             
Nerys Walters

↑  Nerys Walters

↓  Skinny frame sliding doors maximise views of the gardens

“Joe’s was the most expensive design quote, but he felt the most professional and we got an awful lot more from him,” says geologist Nerys. “Some would say ‘we’ll just do drawings, and then you’ll have to manage the planning process’. Other people weren’t doing detailed plans, just sketches. Whilst paying more, it was a full service. One guy wanted to put lights on to our art work, but we needed to talk about structure, windows and doors and how the building works. And we didn’t just want a builder to knock up something.” 

The couple’s determination to create the right space saw them creating a homemade mock-up of the kitchen on the floor with masking tape, before ordering at Magnet.

But there was something just as important as the service Joe was offering, having modern manners. 

“We had a few people around and even some of the big swingers – architects and builders – only spoke to Matt and didn’t say a single word to me,” says Nerys bristling at misogyny in a kitchen which mixes recipe books with I am Malala: how one girl stood up for education and changed the world and The Gendered Brain. 

“It’s a real red flag if people only talk to your husband,” says Nerys. “We are equally involved and make decisions together and I was going to be at home. What I really liked was that Joe listens more than he talks.” 

She also has a very strong connection to the local built environment as her Grandmother’s father and brother were civil engineers/architects who built many of Worthing’s streets between 1900-1929 including Westcourt Road, Southcourt Road and Northcourt Road near the train station and buildings on the sea front. She even grew up in one of the houses her relations built in Lancing – a semi-detached bungalow “but we owned both halves. It sounds very grand, but it wasn’t,” says Nerys.

In the end they decided to go a bit further from the seafront to get a bigger garden and a house needing work.

Daylight is maximised throughout

Joe quickly understood that the couple wanted to close off the front lounge to create a great family space to the rear. His process at detail design stage starts with him “drawing designs in draft, we do a scope at the site, make a headline shopping list, for example if we are going to build a wall we specify what bricks and mortar to use. We then met with Nerys and Matt and used the draft as a tool to ask questions about what clients want – for example, do you want underfloor heating?” 

In their now completed extension, the kitchen is divided from the living space by massive exposed beams painted a striking water blue. The colour echoes the tones in a witty reimagining of The Statue of Liberty by Matt’s favourite urban artist, D*face. Beyond is a dining table set for six with great views of the garden, shelves filling with books and a super comfortable, L-shaped burnt orange velvet sofa. 

Joe also created space for a small toilet with sink and opposite it a washing machine and dryer, which can be shut off by sliding doors.

Matt who works in Haywards Heath reflects that: “I thought the kitchen might be too dark, but Joe’s design with roof lights maximises daylight and means you never really need to turn the lights on.” There’s also quite a lot of insulation, including triple glazed windows on the roof lights and the sliding doors which Matt finds, “makes it a very quiet space.”

The couple appreciated that Joe was also able to recommend a local builder he uses, Luca. “I was very aware it was going to be a three-month process and I didn’t want someone whose ego I was having to manage,” says Nerys. “I want to talk to them and discuss something, ask their opinion and have my own. I felt I could have that with Luca. We got loads of quotes, but it’s quite a good recommendation if your architect recommends the builder saying he’s good at solving problems and pragmatic.”

“I was here every day during the building work. It was very noisy, very dusty and I had to field a lot of questions, particularly when the electricians were on site. I was working from home too, so power being turned off was an inconvenience,” points out Nerys – pragmatically realising that there was really no choice! 

The couple, who have a six-year-old, Maddie, wanted to open up the narrow galley kitchen and create a family space that they could be in together but not always – “We tried to be mindful that we’re going to have a teenager at some point – so there are doors between the extension meaning that she can be in here on her own, or with friends, and we can be in the front room if we want,” explains Nerys.

They’ve been using their new room since December with its cosy underfloor heating. “Having Christmas here was really special. We’ve had couples round, but come summer I’m looking forward to opening the doors and having BBQs,” says Nerys.

They’ve found that the room excels for family living, just as they’d hoped.

“We have movie nights on the sofa. Maddie has had friends to play, and that space has become the Twister and dance floor. Having a dining room table, means she can sit doing art and I can be cooking dinner rather than dealing with constant shouts from next door of “Mummy I need the scissors”, says Nerys, adding, “What I wanted was a view of the garden from the front door, space for utilities and a downstairs toilet – Joe came up with the plans and we picked the one we liked, but what I really like is folding into the corner of the sofa and sitting watching the birds on the coconut feeder.”

Reflecting on the process Nerys says: “I had unrealistic expectations about the cost. We set aside a sum and needed more, though we did buy the most expensive doors and could have done it for less. Still, we’re going to be here for a while! Covid was a shock as everything stopped for about nine months, but Joe was very good at communicating what you were doing and what needed to be done.”

Joe, Nerys and Matt reflect on the project

 

Kitchen with waterfall peninsula

MORE TO EXPLORE

ELEVATION

HOW SUSTAINABLE THINKING CAN OFFSET MODERN LIVING

INCH PERFECT

HOW EXPANSIVE IDEAS CAN TRANSFORM A SMALL SPACE

TEAM BUILDING

HOW COLLABORATION HELPS A PROJECT COME TOGETHER

Hill House Elevation

ELEVATION

HOW SUSTAINABLE THINKING  CAN OFFSET MODERN LIVING

{GORDON & SARAH DYCE : HILL HOUSE}

One of our favourite things is spending time up here with the lights off just watching,” says Sarah Dyce nodding towards the immense window view of London from the upstairs kitchen-lounge windows of newly built Hill House. Her husband Gordon, leaning back on the sofa by a sculptural circular fireplace is in total agreement: “The view of London is just magical and when it’s clear we can also see the lights stretching off to Kent.” Wherever fireworks are lit across London, this is the place to enjoy them, especially on New Year’s Eve.

From their new house on Canonbie Road you can see the Millennium Wheel and Battersea Power Station over to the North London hills one way, and towards the North Downs in the other – views which Sarah uses to destress during tough Zoom meetings in her new office. 

This room also doubles as a guest room, sewing space and rather wonderful gym. There’s no Peloton, instead keen dancer Sarah drapes an immense length of silk from specially fitted ceiling hooks so she can practise aerial acrobatics. As an added bonus this window allows her to also keep a discrete eye on what’s going on in the kitchen with Lucas, 9, Hayden, 7 and Clara, 5.

Kitchen dining space with window seat beyond

Pendant lights over the main stair  

 

“It was a crazy house, but it had potential and we decided at once to work with an architect we knew, and that was Joe.             
Sarah Dyce

↑  First floor sitting area with views east

↓  View of the rear of the house

The couple, who have busy jobs – she’s a tax partner and he works in the pharmaceutical industry – moved into the house they built in late December 2021. But they’ve lived in this spot since 2014 when they moved, with one young child, from a rented flat in Islington. Besides the view, the big draw of this tired 1930s bungalow was just-about-to-expire planning permission for a big new house. 

“It was a crazy house, but it had potential and we decided at once to work with an architect we knew, and that was Joe,” says Sarah. It says a lot that their friendship hasn’t been tested by the challenges of a new build. “We’d watched a lot of Grand Designs, so we learnt we’d go over budget, but Joe made us have a contingency in place. He also explained the importance of getting a builder in early with such a complex build.”

Joe contacted the original architects, then adapted their plan so there was less glazing to overheat and exciting eco-credentials above and below the building. He also found a way to join the house and ‘garage’ with an entry hall that links the upside down living with its four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a play room. The entrance is already working
brilliantly as a winter play space for the children and has the potential to host post-pandemic parties. 

Joe, who has builders working in his home at the moment, feels lockdown was an especially tough time for his friends to be building. “Material costs were all over the place and it was difficult to get hold of things. Then there were complications with the decision on renewables for heating and cooling the house coming in quite late and how they would integrate.”

Perhaps the most hairy moment was right at the start when the couple had to knock down their bungalow’s front wall in order to meet the planning permission timeline, because the finance wasn’t quite organised.

The main family living space

But Sarah sees it in a more positive way: “It’s such an opportunity when you are building from the ground up. We rented nearby and were in lockdowns while we were in build, so our house was a much-needed distraction. Site meetings became our social life! The team, Joe, and also Dan and his builders from Beam Development were absolutely brilliant. You hear absolute horror stories, but we were only slightly over timewise. It was 15-16 months rather than 12-13 months.”

Beneath Sarah’s home office with a view is a spacious utility room for laundry and two large plant rooms. For eco-fans this is the heart of the house.

Gordon, who has apps on his phone to measure his home’s energy use and an array of kitchen gadgets, says: “Using renewable energy was important to us, we wanted a big comfy house, but not one with a massive environmental cost. I like my mod cons and sustainability was a way of offsetting this.” Joe recommended using the latest technology to enable the family to heat and cool the house to zero carbon standards. In the plant room there are tanks, cylinders and pipes which connect to the three main parts – photovoltaic thermal (PV-T) solar panels on the roof which collect electrical and thermal energy; an earth energy bank (also known as an EEB) under the house which is used to store thermal energy (in hotter months so it can be used in the winter) with a heat pump for hot water, underfloor heating/cooling, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and pre-conditioning of the air via a 42m long earth tube.

In February the house is cosily warm – Sarah’s in a short-sleeved top and there’s a shoes off at the door habit which gives everyone full benefit of the underfloor heating. 

Although snagging still needs to be collated (this is an important part of an architect’s service); workmen are busy in the garden; furniture needs to be sourced and photos hung, Sarah says the family felt at home at once. 

“We’ve just had two of my old school friends and their families to stay for the weekend and it was lovely,” she says beaming. Both sets of grandparents stayed in the first week they moved in, enjoying the comforts of an upstairs living space with its cushioned window seat, kitchen with a long table that can seat 14, bar area and two sofa gathering spots, one around a fire and the other a giant flatscreen TV. 

Sarah and Gordon both grew up in peripatetic families, constantly moving house as youngsters, and through building their own wow house it looks like they’ve found a forever home in Forest Hill perfectly suited to their busy lives.  
“It’s fair to say that Sarah and Gordon really like entertaining,” adds Joe drinking a coffee in what only a few months ago was a muddy building site. Now Hill House is a unique place for Sarah and Gordon, that can switch from grown-up space for martinis by the fireplace to family home with ease – and all in the most eco-friendly ways possible.

Disappearing corner windows opening to a sheltered courtyard

The same windows, seen from inside

MORE TO EXPLORE

INCH PERFECT

HOW EXPANSIVE IDEAS CAN TRANSFORM A SMALL SPACE

TEAM BUILDING

HOW COLLABORATION HELPS A PROJECT COME TOGETHER

FULL BEAM

HOW BRIGHT IDEAS CAN LEAD TO ENLIGHTENED OUTCOMES