A clever arrangement of overhead glazing is just one of the features incorporated into this extension

Pigmented concrete blocks clad the exterior of this kitchen extension. Image credit: Megan Taylor

Pigmented concrete blocks clad the exterior of this kitchen extension. Image credit: Megan Taylor

When Alan Cummings, who is an academic, and his wife Keiko, an advertising/publishing manager and personal colour consultant, bought their three bedroom terraced house in Harringay, north London in 2014, they had no intention of extending. But the gloomy view from the kitchen onto the side return began to get them down.

‘We have friends over for dinner pretty often and there wasn’t enough space, nor was there a good view of the garden,’ says Alan.

Having decided to extend, the couple used Design for Me, a service that matches homeowners with architects, which allowed them to put up a brief and then speak with several architecture practices before choosing their favourite.

A sawtooth arrangement

 A sawtooth arrangement of rooflights allows only north light in. Image: Megan Taylor

A sawtooth arrangement of rooflights allows only north light in. Image: Megan Taylor

'Office S&M was the one we felt the most immediate connection with, both in terms of its prior work but also in the levels of interest and enthusiasm shown', says Alan.

The extension, which pushes out 1.5m at the rear and 1m to the side, needed planning permission due to its size. Big enough for a ten seater table for Keiko’s colour consultations, it also includes a shower room, which Office S&M arranged at a diagonal to hide the kitchen units from view as guests come in. This diagonal is echoed in the wooden flooring.

Alan and Keiko borrowed a friend’s flat while the timber frame build went ahead. ‘The rooflight structure was also timber, as having one system throughout was quicker, cheaper and easier for the contractor,’ says Hugh McEwen, founding partner at Office S&M.

The practice designed an arrangement of custom made north facing rooflights for the extension, which cost £150,000.‘You often see this arrangement used in art galleries and old factories, since it brings in an even amount of light throughout the day,’says Hugh. A series of box gutters direct rainwater away.‘We celebrate the water’s final exit with a big hopper and green downpipe,’ says Hugh, a founding partner at Office S&M.

Tinted concrete

 MicroConcrete acts as a decorative concrete surface for the exterior of this colourful home. Image: Megan Taylor

MicroConcrete acts as a decorative concrete surface for the exterior of this colourful home. Image: Megan Taylor

Striking coloured blocks, designed to catch shadows, were cast from pigmented concrete by Mortise Concrete to form a skin for the exterior. Starting with the profile of an extruded clay drainage channel, they were modelled in the office and examined by an engineer to ensure they were thick enough to be self supporting.

Colour palette

The beams went a variety of many colour options, before the couple settled on pale green. Image: Megan Taylor

The beams went a variety of many colour options, before the couple settled on pale green. Image: Megan Taylor

Alan and Keiko wanted the colour scheme to include gold and pale green, which softens the industrial beams.‘It’s been a joy to see the light moving across the walls, the different shadows from the skylights, and to be able to watch the wildlife in the garden,’ says Alan.

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