The Belsize Park brief was a renovation project of a stunning Victorian terraced home, with focus on the basement extension. The house had the original Victorian foundations consisting of about three feet of space under the existing ground floor. The client wanted to add a cinema room, play room, office, toilet and utility room. The original proposal used the space under the (small) garden for the office. The Camden planners however, were concerned with reduced drainage issues as the houses in this area were built very close together. They required the section under the garden to be reduced by one meter on each of three sides adjacent to neighbors properties as well as an overall height reduction to allow for a meter of soil on top of the structure. The result of this change would have been a very small space for an approximate cost of £30,000. We found another solution.
For less than half the price, we moved the office into the loft space, creating a stunning room without major works or planning permission. The top floor of the house consisted of 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. We cut the ceiling above the stair and hallway to create a loft height ceiling with a large skylight. The space above the bedrooms became the office. Without the addition of a dormer, we were restricted to a triangular space, though we avoided the additional requirement for planning permission and the added delays that came with it. Instead, we used a clever design to position a desk and doorway in the highest point of the room so that our very tall client could walk down the center and sit comfortably at the desk. We added several skylights to brighten the space along with contemporary lighting and a glass wall looking over the lower floor for visual effect. A contemporary spiral stair was built from the same wood used throughout the house, and the double height side wall stretching from the bedroom level to the loft level was brought back to the original brick to create that raw urban loft look. It now provides a quiet, bright and contemporary space for office work. We even created much needed storage space in the eaves for suitcases and other household items.