In the stunning Italian Alps, we embarked on a project to design a private residential house that combines modern living with environmental sensitivity. Our vision sought to fuse architecture with the natural landscape, which features terraced vineyards. The main residence is built using a cross-laminated timber structure, carefully adhering to passive house standards.
"The Arches" – our inaugural in-house development project. Through innovative design solutions, we have added substantial value to a previously neglected one-bedroom flat located in the vibrant neighbourhood of Hither Green, South-East London, transforming it into a highly sought-after modern apartment.
'This approach allowed us to maintain the projected Gross Development Value (GDV) while significantly reducing construction costs.'
The original property was a ground-floor one-bedroom unit nestled within a Victorian conversion. Despite its slightly weathered condition, the flat displayed immense potential, thanks to its expansive rear garden and prime location on a charming street, in close proximity to the train station and various local amenities. Initially, our plan was to construct a side return extension at the rear of the property to create an expansive kitchen-living space. However, after a thorough development appraisal, we recognized that this option was not financially viable due to the elevated construction costs. Consequently, we opted for an alternative design, which involved converting the flat into a two-bedroom layout while utilizing the existing footprint. This approach allowed us to maintain the projected Gross Development Value (GDV) while significantly reducing construction costs. To keep all options open, we also submitted a planning application for the side return extension to Lewisham Council, which was successfully approved. The final design brought to life two double bedrooms, one positioned at the front and the other at the rear of the property. The relocation of the main bathroom between these two bedrooms involved the removal of the spine wall and the introduction of a steel beam to support the upper floor. This change also provided an opportunity to create a more spacious entrance hallway, featuring a curved wall with glass blocks that allowed natural light to flow in from the patio door located in the bedroom at the rear.
'The arched opening from the corridor to the living area, as well as the arched recess created from the existing chimney breast, now serve as the focal points of this elegantly designed space.'
The existing outrigger, previously housing the kitchen and bathroom, was repurposed into a combined kitchen-living area, graced by generous patio doors that opened up to views of the rear and side garden, flooding the space with natural light. The arched opening from the corridor to the living area, as well as the arched recess created from the existing chimney breast, now serve as the focal points of this elegantly designed space. Our choice of internal finishes was meticulously curated to set the property apart from similar offerings in the market. The warm wood flooring beautifully contrasts with the mint-coloured kitchen cabinets and almond-white walls. The bathroom floor is adorned with terrazzo tiles that harmonize with the glazed tiles on the walls and the oak vanity units and shelves. Matte black bathroom fittings seamlessly blend with the ironmongery and radiators found throughout the flat. Stylish in-built wardrobes and under-stair storage cupboards combine both aesthetics and functional use. Prioritizing energy efficiency, we invested in new double-glazed windows, floor insulation, a combi boiler, and LED lighting throughout the flat. The rear garden was thoughtfully landscaped, incorporating new turf, fences, and tiles that transition seamlessly into a pebbled surface on the side patio. Despite garnering interest from esteemed estate agents like The Modern House for property sale marketing, we made the strategic decision to refinance the property with a Buy-to-Let mortgage and offer it for rent, considering the current market's volatility. Remarkably, the entire process, from property acquisition to refinance and rental, was completed within just six months. The successful outcome of this project is compelling evidence that good design always yields substantial returns on investment.
Location: Hither Green, London
Category: In-house project
Services: Feasibility to completion
Status: Completed, 2023
Photos: Agnese Sanvito
Contractor: Ecom Contractors Ltd
Structural Engineer: GRA Structures Ltd
Lender: Hope Capital Ltd