Kensington Mid-Century Home, London Property News, English Real Estate Redesign Renovation, Photography
Kensington Mid-Century Home in London
30 Mar 2022
Design: Nash Baker Architects
Location: Kensington, West London, England, UK
Photos: French + Tye
Kensington Mid-Century Home, UK
The Kensington Mid-Century Home formed one half of an early post war semi-detached dwelling constructed circa 1948-49, as a modest family home for a young architect and his family; designed with modernist intentions during a time of austerity.
Having had only had two occupiers since new – one of whom was the architect – the property had undergone little maintenance or improvement over recent decades and was tired and in need of major refurbishment. Additionally, the use of ‘modern methods of construction’ had left a legacy of poorly insulated and damp fabric, which the architects sought to holistically address.
Nash Baker Architects’ client was keen to reassert the architectural qualities of the house without installing overly dominant features.
As such, the architects’ response to the original brief represents a contemporary addition to a mid-century property, without becoming a pastiche of the existing. With a respectful nod to its architectural heritage, the scheme demonstrates an interplay between lightweight and structural elements and aimed to maximise its connection with the mature garden.
At ground floor, the triple glazed extension replaces a poor-quality incongruous conservatory, whilst the first floor appears to be cantilevered over a single column. This grey brick clad first floor element also benefits from a playful corner window which frames views of the spire of St Mary Abbots Church, and a tiled inset panel which references the externally tiled front entrance.
Internally, the architects sensitively upgraded the building fabric wherever feasible to install high levels of insulation to provide a low maintenance and high-performance house which is fit for 21st century living, whilst respectful of its 20th century design principles. The triple glazed windows supplement this and have the added benefit of providing wonderful sound separation, forming an oasis of calm just a stone’s throw from bustle of Kensington High Street.
Furthermore, the interior of the home necessitated re-ordering to improve the balance of space required by modern living standards. Taking cues from the existing architectural design, we softened corners, widened corridors, increased door heights, and simplified window fenestration. Collectively, these works ensured that the ‘bones’ of the property were as open and flexible as possible, whilst still respecting the original plan form where possible.
Nash Baker Architects sought durable yet tactile materials – terrazzo, plywood, bronze, solid timber – to create a home for living in. They used traditional British craftsmanship wherever possible; hand glazed tiles from Ironbridge, bricks from Staffordshire, a handmade kitchen from Brixton, children’s bedroom furniture made in Wales. All of which is sensitively and quietly enhanced by a well-considered lighting scheme, which sought to create warmth and intimacy.
It is a home with personality and quirk, and yet filled with long lasting and durable materials, which will ensure that it performs well in the rigours of daily life; for many years to come.
Additional info to note: The house as designed by Mr James Melvin was featured in Country Life, March 21st 1968 in an article by Beryl Platts titled ‘Serene Vision In A Modern Interior’.
What was the brief?
Our client was keen to reassert the architectural qualities of the house without installing overly dominant features. They sought a balance between preserving the mid-Century character and creating a low maintenance, high performance house fit for 21st century family living.
Key products used:
1. Ketley Brick Staffordshire Blue bricks
2. Pluck birch plywood kitchen
3. Craven Dunnill Jackfield glazed bathroom tiles
4. Frank Allart ironmongery
5. JeTrae Hafnia steel security doors
6. Heath Ceramics glazed external tile inserts
Kensington Mid-Century Home in West London – Building Information
Architects: Nash Baker Architects – https://www.nashbaker.co.uk/
Builder: Chelsea Construction – https://www.chelsea-construction.co.uk/
Project size: 281 sqm
Completion date: 2021
Building levels: 2
Photography: French + Tye
Kensington Mid-Century Home, London images / information received 300322
Location: Kensington, London, UK
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