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Rags to riches: new life for a derelict London property

James Rippon James Rippon
Camberwell Residential Modern houses by Twist In Architecture Modern
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Much like many pockets of London, Camberwell in the south of the city has experienced mixed fortunes in previous decades. In recent years however, the suburb has seen a huge revival as the relentless growth of London's wealth spreads outwards. Left abandoned for over 35 years, this once typical London stock brick building has been brought back to life, with the top floor apartment drastically remodelled. A new spacious two bedroom, two bathroom flat sits nobly atop the previously derelict building, with a clear architectural division between the old and new that is completely different yet entirely complementary.

Camberwell, SE5

For more than three decades the site remained locked and boarded up, with forgotten old furniture and other junk left to decay inside. However, nowhere in London lays abandoned forever, so the site was purchased, with planning undertaken and approved in 2010 to transform the site into what we see today.


Completed by Twist In Architecture, a desire to create something that was contemporary yet preserved the original feeling of the existing building was proposed. Although from behind there is a clear division, from the main road to the front of the building the double-height window is out of sight. Not only have the apartments above been renovated with a modern flair, but the ground floor shop is now occupied by a new cafe. Look closely and you will also notice the addition of solar panels on the roof. Given the height of the building, in no way do these intrude on the existing streetscape, or take away from the stunning new extension.


Rear Elevation Detail Modern houses by Twist In Architecture Modern
Twist In Architecture

Rear Elevation Detail

Twist In Architecture

The colossal glass rear of the house divides the double-height lounge area from the new terrace, which is sure to receive its fair share of use during the summer months. The staircase also is hidden behind the glazed extension, allowing light to flow freely throughout all levels of this gracious apartment.


A super minimal interior scheme was chosen, with varying timber finishes in the furniture and new timber flooring perfectly complemented by fresh whites bathed in light.


Moving upstairs from the living room to the top floor we see how the timber flooring continues to give the stairs a beautiful glow, and just how bright the glass rear allows the home to feel.

Subway tiles

Subway tiles are a continuing trend when it comes to tiling modern bathrooms and kitchens. This style of tiling originated from the subways of New York, and have in recent years featured in homes around the world due to their simple yet instantly recognisable pattern. Here a lovely aqua blue shade has been chosen, with the tiny tiles adding a stunning visual quality, contrasted by the larger matte grey tiles of the floor. A unique screen system allows complete privacy from the outside world without sacrificing any light, enhanced by the introduction of a skylight.

For another great south London extension to a typical brick building, take a peek at this side return and rear extension in Peckham.

How would you decorate a property as wonderful as this? Let us know your ideas in the comments below.
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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