Marion Venman bravely gave her architect free range and creative thought on designing this modern home extension.
Marion Venman bravely gave her architect the freedom – with no budget or space constraints – to come up with a design that would give her existing Glaswegian home the wow factor.
When homeowner Marion Venman decided to improve her architect-designed Sixties villa, the brief she presented to Cameron Webster Architects was simply to explore the art of the possible. She gave no spatial or style prescriptions or even budget parameters, offering a rare chance for creative freedom; an opportunity that the architect fully embraced.
Following an ambitious 18-month construction period, the outcome is a seamless and clever combination of the sharp white soaring geometry of the partially retained original house and a new bronze-clad extension that wraps around the building from the front door to the sloping garden at the back. Here, a south-facing, frameless glazed wall allows natural light to penetrate the house and provides garden views; in all, this bold addition has increased the size of the property by more than 100 square metres.
The radical reinvention had humble beginnings. ‘I wanted a nicer kitchen,’ explains Marion, a Glasgow-based lawyer. ‘When I bought the house in 2001, it wasn’t the kind of traditional property that I had in mind. But the site itself and the back garden were lovely. I knew there was always potential to make changes to the house, and in the summer of 2010 I decided to take the plunge and remodel it.’
Having spotted a project in a local newspaper by Glasgow-based Cameron Webster Architects, Marion organised a meeting at her house to have a chat about how the property could be improved. ‘I wanted a forever home; I didn’t want to have to move again,’ she says. However, rather than present the architect with a cast-iron budget, Marion instead chose to posit the art of the possible idea. ‘I didn’t want to give the architect a budget as I was keen to see what ideas they could come up with. I wanted to be wowed.’
‘The existing house was built at a time when space standards were rather mean, and none of the rooms were really large enough or ideally suited to Marion’s lifestyle,’ explains architect Louise McGinlay. ‘There was also a lack of relationship between the spaces.’ The solution was to create an extension across the entire width of the building, and replace the south-facing rear wall with frameless glazing to provide uninterrupted outdoor views. ‘To me, having spent a lot of time and effort on the garden, it was just as important as the house,’ says Marion. ‘I didn’t want any trees or shrubs destroyed during construction – thankfully only a bin storage and drying area was lost when the house was squared off.’
The open-plan arrangement of the extension flows from the living room through the dining area into a new kitchen, while the remaining spaces have been opened up to allow a better circulation around a central core featuring the main staircase and new cloakroom.