Extension and remodelling of a four bedroom home for a couple who decided to relocate to leafy Knebworth, Hertfordshire, in the search of more space for visiting family and friends and countryside on their doorstep for dog-walks and cycling.
The original building was run down, with mismatched extensions from different eras. Convoluted routes through the ground floor and the lack of connection between the entrance and the garden made it feel disjointed and dark.
The architects set out to improve the flow of the house and unify the downstairs spaces while celebrating its original Arts and Crafts spirit.
Their scheme delivers a new kitchen and home office, a utility room with direct access to the outside to minimise muddy boot and paw prints, and a training room with ensuite shower – perfect for an enthusiastic cyclist.
A double height central volume inserted into a previously unused external gap creates a new ‘heart of the home’ which links all the main living areas and gives unexpected views across and through different levels and spaces in the house, as well as to the outside.
A large side extension with mirrored double pitched forms to front and back houses the kitchen and training room, linked by a central utility and shower to maximise functionality.
The exposed timber roof structure, made from sustainable douglas fir, brings rhythm to the spaces. A family of solid oak-framed windows and large glazed doors fill the ground floor with light. Opening roof lights also enable natural cross and stack ventilation through the house.
Materials have been chosen to blur the boundaries between the different areas and periods of the house – including solid stone and oak for the floors inside and bricks and clay tiles externally which reference the house’s period architecture. Breathable lime plaster and wood fibre insulation improve the internal environment.
Photography: Adam Scott