A 1970s house transformed
This unremarkable 1970s, detached house in a pretty South Cambridgeshire village has been transformed in both appearance and character, demonstrating the potential for radical change. An existing extension and garage on the prominent north side were demolished and replaced with a long, low, white-rendered portal, infilled with a vertical timber boarding. Together with a simple, projecting box bay and a prominent corner window at first floor level, these external changes have significantly lifted the character of the exterior. We were delighted that the planners agreed that this distinctively modern treatment was appropriate in this context, as an example of good contemporary design immediately next to a conservation area.
A substantial, top-lit single storey extension to the west houses a new kitchen and dining area with direct access through sliding-folding doors onto the garden. The kitchen is articulated into two distinct parts – against the end wall are ranged food storage and sink in a symmetrical composition, marked by a red glass splashback, while in the middle is a free-standing island where food is prepared and cooked – making for a convivial space. To the south of this space, the existing living room and garden room have been opened up to create a large open-plan living space with three distinct focal points – fire, garden and entertainment.
The design relies on the clear use of a deliberately limited palette of materials, both outside and in. Externally the existing volume of the house – originally a poor quality, drab, grey brick – has been externally insulated and rendered, with the crisp grey windows and areas of vertical Western red cedar timber boarding set against the white. The various additions then wrap tightly around this like a glove. Every part of the house has been renewed, with a loft conversion, a new projecting bay window for the master bedroom, new bathrooms, and new glazed guarding for the stairs.