Irsha Street, Appledore

Contemporary Extension and internal remodelling

OCRA brief was to sensitively reconfigure the internal spaces to maximise the availability of natural light. The ground floor currently only benefits from natural light through the sash window on the primary facade, and small glazed door to the rear terraced garden. The uses on the ground floor therefore lack significant amounts of natural light, and the narrow terraced street (Irsha Street) opposite limits the availability of natural light reaching the window even further.

There has been an emphasis on ensuring the kitchen and living spaces are well lit; a juxtaposition to what currently exists. The client also requested that OCRA investigate removing the  later additions to the dwelling as they are not true or authentic, and instead highlight the original features – potentially exposing areas of the cob walls within, and celebrating timber beams.

A key area which is sought to be celebrated is the well, which is positioned to the rear of the ground floor and looks through a glass lid to the water below. There is opportunity to increase the radius of the glass to view the stone walls and water below, and position activities around the well which ensure a greater connection to this unique attribute. There is also the desire to increase the size of the bathroom on the first floor and remove the kink which currently makes it difficult to re orientate the layout of the room. The rear conservatory which forms an extension to building has been clad externally in white UPVC, with timber boarding within; concealing the glazing. This part of the building is of poor quality and felt to be out of place in its context given the part-pitched rubber roof which does not tie in well with the flat roof behind. As a result, it is proposed that this is replaced.

As such OCRA working with the client and being cognicent of the heritage elements of the building have developed plans that look to include the following;

key design elements:

• Built-in reading seat beneath the stair to form an intimate reading/relaxing space with a greater connection with the well.

• Large, seamless rooflight/glazing over the entire extent of the dining space to flood the room with light. The kitchen will benefit from the natural light also, and the difference between the transparent and solid ceiling finishes help to subtly zone the two spaces

• A sofa, along with the built-in seat under the stair will form a social entertaining space to the rear of the property which is not overlooked be pedestrian on Irsha Street and is still filled with natural light.

• Glazed external door living through with the glazing above leads to the garden from the kitchen/dining space

• Double height space added to rear of the building to allow for more light and space

The first floor has looked to keep a similar internal layout to the existing to the front of the building, with the stair proposed to be in the same position, double-height void remaining and rationalised hall leading to the attic staircase and bedroom.

• Double-height void with glazed balustrade overlooks the well below to allow a connection to the feature from both floor and interact with it from a different perspective

• Blocking current obscure window and replacing it with the full height linear slot window which runs down to the glazed door below.

• Removal of the separate lobby at the bottom of the stair ascending to the attic. This rationalises the hall/landing forming a linear circulation route.

• Linear rooflight in-line with the hallway within the kitchen. Where the full height built-in units on the left terminate, a built-in seat offers a framed view of the garden via a linear slot window, while being able to interact with people in the kitchen.

Our proposal externally is to separate the new from the old through materaility has the intention of clearly defining the two, preventing the blurring of lines between periods where maintenance and alterations have been poorly implemented. To reinforce the concept, the striking charred larch applied to the facade of the extension looks to define the new element with certainty. The concept of transitioning between light and dark is present in a juxtaposing way. The white external facade of the existing cottage still retains its darker, more cosy and intimate feel as you immediately enter, but as you move through the house, light pours in through the double height void which signified the transition into the new element which opposes the characteristics of the cottage. Instead, the dark facade is juxtaposed by the bright white interior, flooded with natural light.

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