Douglas Fir House by Christian Brailey
(4 – 6 mins read)
If you’re looking for inspiration for a renovation or modern rear extension, look no further than the Muswell Hill Conservation Area in North London. Architect and landscape designer duo Christian Brailey and Faye Johnson turned a neglected studio flat into a stunning and spacious home, all while respecting the area’s historic conservation guidelines.
The first thing the pair did was to reconfigure the entire space, adding large windows, underfloor heating, and mechanical ventilation to make it livable and energy-efficient. Rather than opting for a full-width rear extension, they created an identical massing along one side of the garden, sinking it down to reduce its impact on the host building and neighbors. The result is a sleek and modern addition that complements the existing Edwardian architecture.
The interior design is both ingenious and unfussy, making the most of every inch of space. The open-plan kitchen-living-dining area is the heart of the home, featuring a cast concrete worktop and deep Douglas fir plywood units. A three-meter-long roof light floods the area with natural light, while the split-level layout provides a welcome division between the living and cooking areas. The design team also maximized storage space, ensuring that every corner of the home is functional and livable.
The highlight of the renovation is the new bedroom, which is nestled within the lush garden and surrounded by Douglas fir cladding. A large picture window provides a view of the outdoors, bringing the beauty of nature into the home. The exposed beams and built-in wardrobe create a cozy and restful sleeping area that feels like camping in the great outdoors.
The use of natural materials, such as Canadian Douglas fir and cast concrete, gives the home a warm and earthy feel, while the high-performance double-glazed windows and natural wood fiber insulation make it energy-efficient and sustainable. The entire renovation and extension project was prefabricated in workshop conditions, making it both high-quality and easy to install on-site.
In conclusion, the Muswell Hill Conservation Area renovation and extension project is a great example of how to create a beautiful and functional home on a small scale. By making the most of every inch of space and using natural materials, Christian Brailey and Faye Johnson have created a space that is both generous in design and sustainable in practice.