Client’s Insight: The Hidden House

The Hidden House has been one of our most challenging, and simultaneously, rewarding residential projects to date. We have known the family for some time, they live in South West England but wanted a Central London base.

We called it The Hidden House, as it appears from outside to have only a front door set into a low wall, with no windows. In fact it goes back some way and has a basement, and a clever flow of mezzanines integrates the home as a whole.

The brief was based on three bedrooms and from that we worked closely with our clients to develop a space that would work for the extended family. We went through a number of design variations and come out with 3 key concepts. Planning took up a lot of time, over 18months of negotiation, and we had to work within the exacting space available, as there wasn’t much room for maneuver, or to extend the space. I don’t see restraints like this as negative, I think it calls for real creativity, which can be the best part of the job. And this project certainly gave us plenty of opportunity to flex our creative muscle.

The main challenge was bringing light and life into the basement, so it would be integral and connected to the working of the house. We looked at areas where light would be most necessary and then we opened this up with glass floors, roof well lights, open staircases and vertical windows using fire-engineered solutions throughout. We dug down to create a sunken garden and this further introduced light, and a natural flow between the rooms and levels.

The family was more familiar with traditional interiors, and yet were brave enough to trust us to give them a scheme that is, indeed, very contemporary but can accommodate both modern and period art and furnishings.

We made a number of models so our clients could really visualise the final result and BIM software gave us huge visual scope. In fact, the project’s inspiration was an ‘urban barn’ theme reminiscent of their country home so we have used a lot of Oak throughout to reflect this and bring a visual warmth. They had clear ideas for the interiors and have incorporated a wonderful eclectic mix of furniture and paintings.

The whole project took over 3 years and what also supported the many challenges were clients who really understood and appreciated craftsmanship and quality of work and materials, so appropriate budgets were allowed.

“We were delighted to be short listed by RIBA and we also won the Property of the Year Evening Standard Award. What I am most proud of, however, is the happy collaboration between Broseley, our team and the client. Broseley came on the long journey with us and together we worked in daily harmony. We couldn’t have picked better partners!”

Greg Shannon, Founder & Director – LTS Architects

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