Rear elevation showing timber extension:  Houses by Neil Dusheiko Architects

The Momentous Timber Extension

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK

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It has become apparent in recent years that the growing needs of modern families are not able to keep up with the shrinking sizes of our current or future homes. This is especially so in densely populated cities such as London, and countries like the United Kingdom where the average size of a new build is approximately 76m².

The property we are touring today belongs to the Hadley family. Living in Walthamstow, East London, the young family were emotionally attached to their house and cemented, community-wise, into the area that they had lived in for four years. They loved their current home and needed a solution that would allow more space for their blossoming family.

Previously, two adults and three children were squeezed into two bedrooms—a living situation that is hardly ideal. The brief presented to Neil Dusheiko Architects included the extension of the house toward the garden, which in turn provided an additional living space that could potentially turn into a bedroom, if need be. In essence, the design was required to develop alongside the family—a rather organic notion for a built form. 

Let's take a closer look…

The completed project

Rear elevation showing timber extension:  Houses by Neil Dusheiko Architects
Neil Dusheiko Architects

Rear elevation showing timber extension

Neil Dusheiko Architects

Here we have a full view of the completed timber extension. Peering through in the background is the existing brick house which, despite the obvious difference in material finishes, blends harmoniously with the new addition.

The beige coloured timber panels, constructed from untreated Siberian larch, are the sole material used for the external cladding of the house. Sourced from local timber suppliers, both the architects and owners took care in ensuring that the selected cladding was sustainable, with the finished product being low in formaldehyde emissions and containing low-embodied energy in the manufacturing process.


Bi-folding doors to rear elevation:  Houses by Neil Dusheiko Architects
Neil Dusheiko Architects

Bi-folding doors to rear elevation

Neil Dusheiko Architects

The functionality of the home is evident here, with the design allowing the occupants to open up a large portion of the walls to the facing garden. Constructed from oak, the timber sliding doors are top hung, which means they have the ability to be entirely folded away. Perfect for the warmer months, this creates a stunning opportunity for a juxtaposition between indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing nature to be felt inside despite the urban setting of the home.

It also means that even when the weather outside is less than desirable, or perhaps even snowing, the occupants can feel as though an escape from the confines of city life is possible simply by staring out into their own outdoors space. Furthermore, the reflective nature of the glass helps the new build blend seamlessly and unobtrusively into the landscape as the doors reproduce a mirror image of the garden onto their face.


Angled rear elevation with doors open:  Houses by Neil Dusheiko Architects
Neil Dusheiko Architects

Angled rear elevation with doors open

Neil Dusheiko Architects

The angular geometry embedded into the design of the north façade requires attention, and is not entirely visible from the front elevation seen in the first image. The face of the structure is in fact not straight. Nor is it a flat plain.

The intricacies of the design are visible from this angle, with the fins in the timber work evident, as well as the crank of the exterior. The architects describe the crank as the way the structure appears to bend and hug the perimeter of the garden. This feature is actually not only for aesthetic purposes as the shape allows the building to catch the wonderful north facing evening sun, as well as casting stunning shadows both in and outside the property.

Modern moods

Living area opening onto garden:  Living room by Neil Dusheiko Architects
Neil Dusheiko Architects

Living area opening onto garden

Neil Dusheiko Architects

Light was a very important feature in the design as one of the clients is a film-maker. Therefore, it was imperative that both the extension and existing build were properly illuminated and had access to natural light. 

In this room, depending on the time of day and angle of the sun, the exterior features we mentioned above come into play. The fins on the external face, as well as the crank and angle in the design, cast wonderful shadows inside and help to bring as much natural light inside as possible.

Light and angles

Much of the project centred around how to fuse the new staircase into both the new and existing part of the house. Given that it is a bold contemporary element, this was no easy feat. Crafted from birch plywood, the largely white colour scheme helps to blend the balustrade and staircase into its setting, ultimately creating a harmonious and well-balanced space.

The LED strip lighting that lines the ceiling above the stairs is yet another intricate and interesting design feature in the room. Not only does it help to illuminate a space that is very often quite dark, it also creates an almost frame-like effect around the cut out between the two floors.


Last but definitely not least, we finish with a view of the kitchen. As with the living room, access to light and a view is also offered from this space.

The contrast created by the midnight blue tiles against the stark white walls and cabinetry is exceptional, really helping to create a distinction between the two zones. This is furthered by the matte silver finish of the sink and taps, creating an area that is harmonious, well-lit and relaxing.

For more extension inspiration, don't miss: The Dynamite Home Extension.

What are your thoughts on this London extension project?
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