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Hover House

Kensington and Chelsea

Project Details

£250,000 to £499,999

Alteration to existing property, Within a Conservation Area


Sophie Nguyen Architects

16 Great Western Studios , 65 Alfred Road , London , W2 5EU

The challenge was to bring dignity, volume and sound foundations to a subsiding two-storey pebble-dashed end of terrace house in North Kensington in West London. The ground floor slab was dropped to give height to the volume, and a new space was inserted under the house, flooded with light through the fully glazed facade to the front and the glass floor to the rear. When we bought the house, it was a typical two-storey 1930’s end of terrace house. There was no basement, not even a cellar. The house had subsidence issues which needed to be fixed by increasing the existing shallow foundations. As a result, we decided to go deeper and create a new basement under the whole of the existing ground floor. One of our aspirations was to create a basement floor which would not feel claustrophobic and dark but rather would be flooded with natural light and would have a view to an external space. We wanted a multifunctional family room that would be used all the time and did not want the lights on during the day. So, we dug a little further in front of the new basement to create a lightwell and patio area. As a result, the basement has a fully glazed façade. It is flooded with natural light and is used intensively. We also wanted to increase the volume height on the ground floor. The new ground floor slab was dropped by about 20cm to give height to the volume and the new basement was conceived to have the same generous height. So, a 1930’s end of terrace house became this very generous and versatile home, with open plan living on the ground and basement floor, and two bedrooms with bathrooms added to the existing side annexe creating a separate living space. The staircase to the basement is treated as a sculptural object but is also the result of the construction constraints. The panels supporting the stair treads are structural and are coloured red, with the rest of the walls around the staircase being left white. The red colour and the shape of the handrail are inspired by the beautiful pieces of American artist, Ellsworth Kelly. – Publication Guardian ‘Dig for Victory’ 2013 – Publication ‘Absolutely Notting Hill’ ‘Space Woman’ 2013