London coach house renewal | Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects
As young architects establishing a new practice in London, England, George Bradley and Ewald Van Der Straeten knew that many of their commissions would involve renovations or additions to existing structures. Wanting to get hands-on experience with retrofit techniques, they took on the challenge of designing and then building a new interior for this brick coach house dating back to the 1800s.
The duo began by removing the existing walls and floors, essentially reducing the coach house to an empty shell. After water sealing and insulating the outer structure, they defined new spaces by building two wood volumes inside. Birch plywood was used to build the loft and the stairwell that joins the home’s three floors. A smaller oak-clad box at the front of the ground floor houses the bathroom and laundry. Several handmade doors slide on flush-mounted tracks to close off the stairwell, as required by British building regulations; however they would probably be left open so the landing can be used as part of the living room.
The new interior has two bedrooms, one on the ground floor and one in the loft. The loft bedroom overlooks the second-floor living space, sharing the 4 m tall arched window at the front of the coach house. The loft also benefits from a new skylight installed over the stairwell.
Birch plywood was chosen to add warmth and to complement the plastered perimeter walls. Many of the panels are actually flush-mounted doors, utilizing push-to-open hardware to conceal the storage behind. The architects put every nook and cranny to use, fitting shelves and cupboards above, below and alongside the stairs. A “shadow gap” detail was used in place of trim for a clean, modern look.
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Photographs courtesy of Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects.
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