A glass stairwell adds wow factor to the centre of a basement extension, which embraces the outdoors of this London home

Connecting the house to the garden is a key consideration for any rear extension and it certainly helps to consider the two in tandem. Fortunately, when architect Ross Duguid came to this project, planning permission had already been granted for major renovation work, including a loft conversion and basement extension as well as remodelling throughout. However, at the basement and ground levels, the dilemma was deciding how to create the necessary second staircase to link the new lower floor to the levels above, and how to bring more light into the kitchen and living space.

‘We tried to use as much glass as possible,’ explains Duguid. ‘There are large areas of glazed flooring on each level that let light filter through, including a balcony terrace for the master bedroom on the first floor and a sliding door that provides a visual connection with the garden from the ground-floor reception.’

Basement extension in Kensington London 2

Central to the design is a polished concrete fin that supports the glass treads that run from the reception down to the basement-level kitchen. ‘Our concept for the surrounding glass structure was to think of it as a crystal box. We wanted it to be big and open and to let in plenty of daylight,’ says Duguid.

The staircase structure is glazed on two sides: the glass of the extension and a glass balustrade. The choice of material was informed by the way the family would use the room, as Duguid explains: ‘If you are sitting in the kitchen, you don’t really want to be looking at a staircase. By making it transparent, it becomes less obtrusive and still allows for glimpses through to the garden.’

Basement extension in Kensington London 1

A second small extension at the boundary wall has boosted the size of the kitchen and a roof light brings sunlight into the far end of the room. ‘We worked very closely with Sola Kitchens to create a layout that would make the best of the space here,’ says Duguid. ‘We looked at a U-shaped design, but you don’t really want to be cooking under a glass roof, so the solution was this generous island that can comfortably seat six and has a great view.’

Creating the design for the courtyard, too, enabled Duguid to consider the project from all angles, resulting in a cohesive design that works beautifully.

Basement extension in Kensington London 3

Words: Helen Stone, Photography: Sola Kitchens

Kevins Column

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