Finding a plot in a city can be a real challenge – but these creative builds have turned leftover spaces into design-forward homes.

  architrend infill house in malta - self build  - granddesigns

Image: Moreno Maggi 

When building a home in a town or city, it can be a challenge to find a useable plot without paying a premium.

They exist, but many require a little extra imagination when it comes to design. Narrow gaps in the street offer plenty of opportunities for creative thinking, as do oversized gardens and disused garages. Often the results are unconventional – and all the better for it, as these creative examples go to show.

Aperture House, Paul Archer Design 

paul archer designs aperture house self build project - granddesigns

 Image: Kilian O'Sullivan 

Built on the site of a former garage, this 90 square metre house boasts an open-plan ground floor that is flooded with daylight thanks to courtyards at the entrance and rear, and large skylights.

Another clever lighting trick designed by Paul Archer Design comes in the form of perforated brick walls, which create a decorative but highly functional privacy screen across first-floor windows, hence the name, Aperture House. A matching detail features around the inside of the courtyards, where patterned brickwork adds depth to the retained boundary walls.

The home is completed by details that add the illusion of extra space, from a split-level floor to a living area with a three metre-high ceiling.

Pankhurst Mews, Nissen Richards Studio 

nissen richards pankhurst mews infill self build - granddesigns

 Image: Nissen Richards Studio 

Nissen Richards Studio designed this compact, contemporary house for the garden of its client’s childhood home in north London.

The larch-clad property is surrounded by three and four-storey apartment blocks, so preventing it from overlooking or being overlooked by its many neighbours was a real challenge. It took 5 years to get a design through planning. There were also concerns the building would be a barrier to daylight. These issues were overcome with a pyramid roof, which reduces the house’s mass, and boxy dormer windows. 

Casa B, Architrend Architecture 

architrend architecture infill malta self build - granddesigns

 Image: Moreno Maggi 

After a mid-terrace house was demolished in St Julian’s, Malta, Architrend Architecture replaced it with something completely unique. Within a reinforced concrete frame, the house has a double-height glazed facade that can be concealed using a system of sliding aluminium louvres.

A glass rooftop swimming pool is clearly visible from the street, as are the rooms underneath. Inside the two-bedroom home, bare concrete gives a stark, minimal finish. Rooms are organised around a central lightwell, with communal spaces at the front and the more private rooms – including the main bedroom and a gym – tucked away at the back. 

Slothouse, Sandy and Sally Rendel 

infill house by sandy and sally rendel - self build - granddesigns

 Image: Jim Stephenson 

This 2.8 metre-wide site in Peckham, London, was vacant for years before Sandy and Sally Rendel developed it into a skinny home.

The site previously had permission for a more elaborate, three-storey scheme. But the pair, who acquired the plot when buying the house next door, felt that creating something of quality rather than quantity would be more appropriate. The floor plans are simple with a living area and kitchen arranged either side of the staircase on the ground floor, and one bedroom and mezzanine study upstairs.


Do you know the perfect spot for an infill self build project? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or post a comment on our Facebook page.



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