Client: Private

This project involved the alteration and extension of a 19th century cottage in the West End conservation area of Esher. The existing building had been poorly extended in the past and the owner’s family had outgrown the available space.

The brief was to create a four bedroom home with a contemporary interior and a better relationship between the interior and the garden. This led to a design which almost doubled the size of the original dwelling.

There are differing schools of thought regarding extensions to historic structures and the main issue appears to be the degree to which the extension replicates the characteristics of the original structure. In this case, although there is a clear distinction between new and old, there is an affinity in terms of form and materials. Our solution involved removing later additions whilst retaining the core of the original two-up two-down cottage. The rear extension replicated the form of the frontage building to create a double pile form. Circulation was placed in the centre of the plan, as were bathrooms and utility spaces. The entry hall included a double height space, lit by a large east facing window to bring light into the centre of the deep plan house. The retained frontage buildings were refurbished and the inappropriate windows changed to a historic pattern, seen elsewhere in similar cottages nearby. The refurbished and extended house makes a positive contribution to the surrounding conservation area.

The scheme was fully supported by the conservation officer and received consent within eight weeks. The mixture of open plan and cellular spaces allowed for both privacy and communal enjoyment of the space.