Narrow House

This project seeks to transform a narrow and dark mews house into a new 5 storey dwelling that focuses on flexible living spaces and natural light.

Arranged over a number of separate floors, including a roof terrace, the design staggers the floor plates to align with neighboring facades, whilst maximizing a variety of internal ceiling heights to create generous and uplifting spaces. The result is an intricately designed house that has been carefully crafted to live in, whilst always maintaining a sensitive response to its immediate surroundings.

The design responds to the elevational rhythm along Blackstock Road

A key design move was to position the stair towards the centre of the plan, to avoid corridors taking up valuable space, and to provide a sense of visual clarity between the different volumes of spaces being created. Open treads, in connection with glazed landings and a glazed atrium above, will allow natural light to percolate through the stairwell, and into the house beyond.

“Creating a sense of connectivity between each of the staggered floors was key to the final design, as we wanted the occupants to always feel that they were part of the ‘whole’ house, irrespective of which floor they spent time on.”

Jonathan Dallas
Proposed long section drawing showing the staggered floors
Existing long section

The design parameters for the scale and massing of the house were set by a maximum envelope study that considered both natural daylight for within the new dwelling, whilst ensuring the proposed building mass did not have any adverse impact on neighbouring properties. The resulting scale and mass are sympathetic to the rest of the streetscape, acknowledging the history of the mews, with a contemporary reinterpretation of architectural elements that reflect its immediate neighbours.

The principal street facing elevation
The existing street facing elevation
The proposed side elevation along Blackstock Mews
The Existing side elevation along Blackstock Mews

“After having seen some of their previous work, I knew that D-P-Q were the right architects to help me develop a very unusual space in Finsbury Park into a showcase contemporary townhouse and give it the attention to detail I was after.”

Ground floor plan
First floor plan
Second floor plan
Third floor plan
Roof plan

The new house combines a simple palette of materials that do not jar or inappropriately draw the eye. This composition seeks to create a long-lasting appeal that will beautifully age over time.

“The effects of natural forces and how these could be experienced was really important to us – whilst the lime render will be softened and worn down by the elements, the window surrounds would be formed by a rich patina of bronze undertones, that would age with grace.”

Tommaso Cuni

A new skin of Flemish-bond brickwork on the front elevation will help to establish a sympathetic relationship with its neighbour. An oiled bronze metal finish is proposed to be used for all the windows on the front elevation, including the dormer window. At roof level, light grey zinc cladding with standing seams creates a contrast with the bronze dormer windows and helps reduce the visual mass of the mansard roof. The lime render on the ground floor front facade will match the sandstone which is used for the coping stone at eaves level.


Islington, London
Private Client
Collaborators: Stratagem Planning

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