Islington Maisonette – Larissa Johnston Architects
Situated in a Conservation Area in Islington, this Victorian maisonette has been reconfigured and extended to create a spacious, light and modern family home. Prior to the alterations, the bedrooms were located to the lower floor which felt dark and enclosed. On the upper floor the kitchen and living room lacked any relationship with the rear external courtyard, which consequently felt detached and unusable.
The scheme reverses the location of accommodation to provide a large open plan living, kitchen and dining area on the lower floor. All of the existing internal partitions have been removed and the new supporting steel structure is concealed within the walls and floor to create a simple, uninterrupted space. The rear external wall at the lower level was completely removed allowing an extension to be seamlessly integrated into the main space. Glass sliding doors, which are the full width and height of the kitchen / dining space, open the extension up to the courtyard garden. A large rooflight allows light to flood into the main space.
The sense of spaciousness to the lower floor is maximised through the open plan configuration. Inserted within the large space is a compact and efficient plywood ‘box’ which incorporates a fitted kitchen, staircase, storage, and a desk with adjacent shelving. A utility room and cloakroom are neatly tucked beneath the stairs. The ‘box’ also serves to conceal the lowered floor level of the study area /half landing, which could not be raised due to the configuration of the property above. This allows for a continuous high ceiling soffit throughout the main space.
To the upper floor ceiling heights are very generous and light floods in through the tall windows. Natural materials are used internally and comprise timber, plywood, stainless steel, polished concrete and white plaster. Dark timber floors, white walls and bespoke white joinery are used to the upper floor. The restrained nature of the material palette is designed to complement the simplicity of the spaces.
Externally the extension has been clad in white render to respond to the existing context in which the original houses typically have a white rendered base with brickwork above. The white external render also provides continuity with the white plaster used internally.
Photo © Rory Gardiner