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A secret house in north London

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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In a city as big as London, it's hard to imagine it being possible to hide or tuck anything away—especially something on the scale as large as a house. That sentence in itself, is the mastery behind this project. Titled The Long House, this property, which is at the height of bold architectural design, was created for a family in the suburb of St Johns Wood. Located not far from The Regent's Park, it is a well-to-do area that hosts a variety of expensive homes and estates. It's hard to think that a house with a footprint of 720sqm and a length of 49m long can be hidden from plain sight, but the ingenuity and creative spirit of Keith Williams Architects shows us that anything is possible.

The house is built on a site that replaced two dwellings, separated by an 8m wide strip of vacant land. An area that was developed in the 19th century, the package of land stated above forms the area in which the house will be built. Set in a mature conservation zone, it is nothing short of a miracle, or as the architects described, a rare event, to be able to build a contemporary dwelling in an area such as this. After you've completed the tour, you will totally understand why this home was the winner of the 2008 RIBA Award and was an International finalist in the World Architecture News House of the Year. Take a look…

A modern exterior

The exterior of the home is at the forefront of contemporary residential design, and it comes as no surprise that this home was the recipient of so many awards and international recognition. The melange of extruded forms and strict geometry is what makes this house so different; with the large use of glass attributing to the translucent, floating effect of the property. Inside, you'll find living and dining spaces, a subterranean lap pool and steam room, 4 main bedrooms, a guest and maid’s wing, and 2 car garage. If you, like us, are wowed by this image alone, just wait until you see what secrets await inside.

Art & nature

The sculptural qualities of the internal partitions are incredible; with the carefully placed artwork giving this area an almost gallery-like feel.  The double height windows bathe the space in natural light, which is reflected further by the stark white walls. This combination of surface and light helps this white-on-white space to feel anything but clinical and banal. 

The perfect couple

White and pale timber are a forever elegant and chic coupling, looking both contemporary and fresh at the same time. The staircase is yet another fixed element in this home with a remarkable sculptural quality. The artistic flair of the architect is evident in every space and around every corner.

Light & sound

Where else but to position a sleek black piano? Given that nature and music are two things which inspire our creative spirit, it seems only fitting that two features such as this would go together. Whether to play in front of friends, or fill the house with a sonata or prelude, the marriage of a view and stunning decorative feature cannot be forgotten.

Minimalistic marvels

The bold and modern form seen in the first image is again evidenced here. Despite its minimalist appearance, it blends in subtly and harmoniously with the garden. Given that it does not overpower or loom over any trees or neighbouring properties, the building feels muted and unobtrusive to the scenery. The shiny nature of the glass panels reflects the lush greenery, allowing the building to disappear even further into the landscape.


The structure above can be viewed here from inside, and we are now able to understand the relationship between this transitional hallway space and the outdoors. The stunning curvature of the ceiling, coupled with the incredible material quality of the exposed fair faced concrete finish is dreamlike. The linear nature of the garden wing blurs the line between inside and out, making us feel as though we are inside a space that is void of partitions and walls. The narrow makings of a staircase that you can see to the left of the image, has an even bigger surprise waiting to be revealed underneath.


We finish this ideabook with a view of the stunning subterranean lap pool, which as you can see, is lit gently from above. Casting a dramatic and ethereal glow, the light source creates an aura of relaxation and calm despite it's sunken nature. Just imagine beginning your morning energised after a few laps, or releasing the stress from a busy day in a space as ambient and inviting as this. The pool is a simply magical addition, and is just one of the already many, very special secrets tucked away inside this family home.

What do you think of the contemporary and bold design of The Long House? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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