Extension with wrap around glazing and feature stove

This is a project that fully embraces the beauty of open spaces with warm tones and a gentle touch. Allowing a great deal of light in and giving a quality of scandinavian cool. The brief was to design a substantial ground floor extension that would work in both contrast and harmony with a traditional North Oxford house.

The development of this design was carried out over a long period of consultation with the clients, to get the maximum quality to the space whilst working within a specific budget. Architecture was devised working with Ifor Rhys, and the contract completed to a great standard by Stuart Barr Ltd.

Its a picture of restraint, and with the settling of this project late in the year it will be very exciting to see the garden and extension in full bloom giving the full picture to the original concept of outdoor / indoor extension.

The kitchen, hand made by Barr Kitchens links the Victorian house and its contemporary extension, view more kitchen details here

The illustration below shows our early vision for the project. We will be posting a vimeo video of the sketch up model shortly. In brief, a small existing extension was removed, and the back of the house opened up to create a through kitchen an huge space for indoor/ outdoor dining and entertaining, linked externally by level threshold paving externally.


Wrap around sliding doors on the corner take in even the winter sun, and create a real sense of openness. These were commissioned and installed by fineline aluminium architectural glazing who's slimline profiles particularly suited the projects requirements. Detailing the exterior includes

level thresholds seamlessly linking the natural stone inside and out, colour matched guttering and rainwater pipes, and reclaimed bricks and tiles so that the not inconsiderable extension blends with the original house and neighbouring rooflines. 

The external works were designed to take advantage of the scenery. The paved areas at the rear fall to lawn level in large patio steps for outdoor seating. The flooring on the main patio follows through on the same level as the extension with a large format non slip slate. Cut outs in the paving against the garden wall create pockets for planting, mainly herbs but with some herbaceous planting for volume. 

This impressive extension was designed in collaboration with  

Ifor Rhys architect

 which with his clever roofline detail adds vertical church like architecture to the whole shape of the project space. From the kitchen through the top of the window there is also a small view of the canopy of the large Oak at the rear of the garden through the standard patent glazing roof lights. Curved plaster rolls internally soften the whole space, and the light floats rather than creating shadows. 

The roof is very neat and incorporates riverbed shingle with the necessary falls to drainage.

This elegant stove feature was designed with scandinavian ceramic fireplaces in mind. It was put on the angle to allow a view of the fireplace from all over the room and to make it more inclusive and social. The running pattern design of the flooring follows up the chimney breast. The side of the fireplace allowed for a slightly concealed open storage section for wood and stove ephemera, but this is not so evident from the main part of the room.

The architecture works to capture the suns position in that it would throw light around the whole of the space. A long large gallery wall also creates a space for display bringing a museum like quality to the room and lit by Nordlux lighting spots. The TV and sound bar get incorporated into the skin of the building so as not to become too prominent. 

later on we added a rogue-designs extending table made from Ash which you can see detailed



It sits alongside the industrial vintage 

daybed commission

light and spring...victorian house> extension and garden

This project was stage 5 and 6 of the complete overhaul of the victorian house: the extension and the garden.


The extension was a longtime in planning. Although not a large extension it was a slightly problematic one, as a basement excavation. There were many issues to address in the design and during the build. The garden is long and relatively thin and the building is very tall (5 floors). This tends to lock out some of the light during the winter months. A leaky old conservatory was to be replaced, and the back wall of the house knocked out to lead into the new space. We recommended our clients commission Ifor Rhys RIBA architect to design a structure that would give a better aspect on to the garden, a space for dining, and incorporate an existing small utility room. Ifor is a great architect, fun to work with, and konws Oxford houses well. The idea was to open up the vista from the kitchen to allow some more light in and create a space that could work as a slightly more formal dining space. We also commissioned garden designer  Rose Lennard to plan a garden that would take into consideration the new building. With Charlotte as project manager,  Ifor and Rose, the design that was settled upon looked fabulous. There was an introduction of a roof that ran back towards the house, slightly curved, that allowed a view to the sky from the kitchen and a glass structure over the main area where the extension meets the old building. This light well designed to bring more light in. In tandem, a corner window assists in this endeavour. Rose created ideas around zoning the planting, creating raised beds local to the house for immediate drama, and in the garden, curves along a lawn that took in the old apple tree and reflected the curve of the steps.

gently curved copper roof with overhang


side view of corner window and cedar screen

A key part of this project was going to be the negotiations with the neighbours. One of the obstactles to overcome was the party wall ownership.  Over time the wall had become destabilised by invasive ivy and the washing out of the lime mortar by the elements. This mean't the wall closest to the house was leaning some 30 degrees over the neighbours garden. It took some time in agreements to gain the necessary permissions to rebuild it whilst the extension was taking place. This prolonged the project somewhat, but didn't affect the overall vision.


The building contractors Blackford Builders, were very sensitive to the age and nature of the building and its surroundings and as such kept the wall looking authentic. They reused the bricks that were salvaged from the wall, cleaned off the mortar and reset them. In total 9 metres of wall was rebuilt. They also took great care not to disturb the planting of the neighbours garden and the look and feel of the wall from the neighbours side.

The contractors were fantastic throughout the project, really wonderful to work with, and it shows that they really enjoyed the skills used to make and finish every element so precisely; the achievement of this project was only possible through their skill, commitment, and attention to detail. Thank you Jim!

Another concern was the use of copper (looking too bright) that was to cover the roof.  This dulled very quickly and had brassed down to a lovely patina within 4 months. It now fits in beautifully and is a worthy addition to the overall vision.

Part of the plan of the extension was to make sense of the space directly outside. This was conceived as an outdoor living space, and an extension to the dining area designed for entertaining in summer. This area is defined by the raised borders, the curved steps rising to the ground floor and the decking area. All the top edges of the borders were capped with copper to tie in with the whole theme. Copper lighting from Lighting for Gardens were used in various ways to light areas of the garden. We used inset lighting on the steps, spot lights either side of the doors and spike and mushroom lights in the borders to light the path and the trees.

The external rendering was carried out by a specialist coating company: using a very specialist product called Sto. It was a pure white finish designed to reflect the light around the area local to the extension. It has a special polymer that gives the material a stronger structure. It is also versatile in as much as it can be overpainted in future should it become necessary.

The decking is Ipe hardwood (colour akin to the copper roof) and was placed down on a 42 degree angle to the back doors. It is raised by 40-50cm with a drain away insert to avoid waterlogging. It also works seamlessly with the interior floor level.

The stairs that lead up to ground level, were cast in white portland cement and curved. Six steps take you from the Ipe deck to the ground floor. They are wide enough to sit comfortably on in summer and to make the use of in winter without the threat of slipping. A slightly brushed effect on top of the tread adds extra grip.


The garden and stage 6 carried on when the extension was completed. Using Rose Lennard's scheme with a few alterations we carried out the complete overhaul of the garden.

The garden was completely stripped out during a harsh winter.  Work was carried out by myself and with additional works by a hard landscape company i.e. (re-turfing and the patio area to the rear).

The sweep of spar stones at the top of the steps are perfect for trampling across - they don't tend to move when walking over. The borders are now swelling with new shapes, textures and colours - It still retains much of its kitchen cottage style - due to Rose's planting scheme however her design gives wonderful emphasis to the more mature trees like the Magnolia and the Apple.