Our client approached us to transform their dark and disjointed basement space, comprising separate kitchen, dining and living areas, into a bright and inviting area that connects with their garden.

A major challenge was bringing natural light into the basement, as the South-facing flank wall was adjacent to the street, limiting the placement of windows to avoid overlooking and reinforcing the subterranean atmosphere of the space. We resolved this issue by incorporating rooflights.

The first 

large rooflight is shaded from direct sunlight, significantly increasing light levels while reducing the potential for solar gain. The second is a slim strip of frameless glass on the South elevation of the house, allowing us to raise the ceiling height in these areas and create a sense of spaciousness and light. Smaller windows to the South provide natural light to the existing stairwell and hallway and frame views of the newly landscaped exterior. 

The pale limestone flooring used internally and externally, along with the flush thresholds and slim framed sliding doors, further blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces, resulting in a welcoming and social area that seamlessly extends into the garden. A narrow strip of land on the South elevation has been improved by a new brick wall with metal railings, transforming a previously neglected and graffiti-prone area. An irrigation system has been added to maintain the new planting year-round.

The house has a Victorian Gothic appearance on the front street elevation, with simpler decoration on the side and rear, and is locally listed in the St Albans conservation area. Our design incorporated external materials that matched those of the original building, to ensure that the extensions blended in with the existing house rather than standing out. The side extension facing the street was built in brickwork to integrate the extension with the existing and new boundary wall.

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