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“An amazing project. Very impressive on such a low budget!”

George Clarke

Made of charred black timber and concrete work surfaces Black Ridge house is a two storey extension to an existing 3-bedroom Victorian terraced house forming part of the Warner Estate in Walthamstow. The existing homes built in that period were made one room deep and south facing towards the street, creating a neglected connection to the north facing garden towards the rear.

The client’s ambition for the project was to completely re-energise the house by radically remodelling it to suit their lifestyle for open plan living and create a greater connection to the garden, which was designed by the client, a drummer turned landscape designer.

Neil Dusheiko Architects’ design for the extension was inspired by the roof lines and rhythm of the early Warner houses and their approach was to retain the size and proportions of the existing domestic spaces but create a large open plan area towards the rear of the house combining the kitchen, dining and living areas. By pitching the roof forms up into the centre and lowering it at the edges a sense of spatial hierarchy was created giving a focus to the edges as well as creating a tall ceiling for the dining space. A new master bedroom and skylit bathroom were created in the first-floor of the rear extension with the roof covered with a green sedum blanket, so that when looking out of the windows, the view is onto a green landscape. Most of the objects in the house- the oak clad kitchen, steel crafted media unit in the living room and the sliding door made of salvaged timber from an old floor -were created in collaboration with the client and the architect’s team of joiners and metalworkers. The home incorporates many energy saving features including a high degree of insulation, under floor heating in the extension, LED lighting, extensive skylights and highly insulated doubled glazed metal windows.

The design embraces the philosophy of Biophilic design principles, addressing innate attraction to nature and natural processes. By constructing the extension out of a natural product [timber] whose surface is formed by a natural process [fire] –nature is celebrated.

The Shou Sugi Ban technique of burning is used on wood with differing age, water and sap content and as the results are not always controlled this process allows for a richness of texture, colour and grain which is at once beautiful and spontaneous. Thinner timber cladding panel on the first floor and a charred black Shou Sugi Ban panelled cladding panel, with a wider format on the ground floor, breaks up the massing and differentiates between the two levels giving a different sense of scale and detail.

The kitchen island, which utilises a live edge on the counter top, as well as natural oak for the worktop and cupboards, convey a sense of a hand-crafted approach to the kitchen. The sliding timber door was made from reclaimed timber panels, which when paired with the exposed black steel track creates a modern industrial feel, reinforced by the extensive use of concrete on the project – on the precast kitchen worktops and the cantilevered bathroom basin.

Architect: Neil Dusheiko Architects

T: +44 (0)1303 260 515


Photographer / Image Credits:  Tim Crocker