A writer’s coach house | Intervention Architecture
A writer in need of a home and a work space found a wonderful brick outbuilding squeezed between a couple of grand Victorian houses in Birmingham, England. Intervention Architecture was asked to turn the old coach house into a habitable and inspirational live-work environment, overcoming the challenges of a narrow, confined floor space and limited access to daylight.
The architects oriented the interior toward the small but private south-facing garden behind the house. The living room is at the back of the house, the kitchen in the middle, and the bathroom at the very front, next to the entrance. A short extension at the back gave a bit more space on the ground level. Taking advantage of the height inside, the architects inserted a new loft level to serve as the writer’s bedroom and study. From the desk at the end of the loft, the writer will have views down into the living room and out to the garden.
Getting natural light inside was a priority. As the building had just been used for storage, it was almost devoid of windows. The architects placed large round-top windows in both gables, and glass doors in the extension facing the garden. A pair of skylights ensure that the middle of the house gets daylight as well. The double-height living room allows light from the south-facing gable window to reach back to the kitchen and dining area below the loft.
The brick wall shared with the neighboring house was left exposed inside. The other walls probably had to be insulated on the inside. Those walls and the ceiling are white, helping to reflect light around. The main structural elements, including the ridge beam and the structural steel framework that carries the weight of the upper walls and the loft, were left on view and highlighted with black paint. The original blue brick floor was replaced with warmer oak, but the bricks were reused to pave the front and back patios.
The wooden doors on the street façade are non-functional, but play up the building’s history as a coach house to one of its much larger neighbors. The doors and trim are painted black, making the reddish-orange tones of the brick pop.
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