Intended to mimic a “spa-like retreat”, the Peckham home was remodelled to brighten its dark, closed-off interior and help bring nature in.
While opening up its interior to the outside, Neil Dusheiko Architects added a rear extension clad in charred timber.
“We aimed to use the existing house as a found object and rework it to explore ways how we could bring the owner closer to nature through opening up the historic Victorian structure to the elements,” studio founder Neil Dusheiko told Dezeen.
“We wanted to explore how the house could use natural elements to play to the senses,” he continued. “We also wanted the house to feel alive by bringing the plants in as an ‘occupant’ of the house.”
Inside, a series of skylights, voids, and openings have been added to the late-19th-century residence, including a double-height space bordered by a living wall.
“There are large open spaces which have an audible dimension, plants that play on the sense of smell, polished plaster surfaces juxtaposed with rougher brick textures dealing with the tactile and light and dark spaces that work with our visual senses,” explained Dusheiko.
House of the Elements’ entrance hall and front living space have been retained, with original features including plaster mouldings and a fireplace left in place.
Finished with modern furnishings, white-painted walls and wooden floors, the living room leads into a double-height void that connects the existing portion of the home to the extension.
A large living wall runs along one side of the void, which is topped with a skylight and lets light into the interior while opening it up to views of the garden.
“The client’s Sri Lankan heritage, and the work of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, informed much of the design approach – in particular the use of plants to create a green verdant environment full of visual interest and textures, and spaces that flow into each other to provide light, natural ventilation and views,” said Dusheiko.
“The green wall, placed under a large glazed skylight that offers the planted space the full spectrum of sunlight, with sun-loving species placed closer to the light and plants requiring more shade towards the bottom.”
Above the retained fireplace, a sculptural artwork by Italian artist Soda stretches up the wall bordering the void.
The living wall leads into the charred-timber extension, where a kitchen with charcoal walls and metal surfaces opens onto the back garden.
On the upper level, the rooms and landings that border the double-height void feature balconies and openings that overlook the ground floor.
This includes a bathroom, where a wooden tub is placed alongside a window framing the green wall.
The first-floor bedrooms and bathrooms are finished with dark-coloured walls, designed to contrast the brightness of the other spaces in the house.
“We felt that as the house had a lot of skylights and an abundance of natural light, we could work with a more tonal colour palette that could be read against the crisp detailing of the Victorian house,” said Dusheiko.
Above the first floor, Neil Dusheiko Architects added a loft extension, which contains a home office and features a large window that offers views of the treetops in the garden.
Other London home renovations recently featured on Dezeen include a basement apartment designed to feel like a wooden cabin and a Victorian terrace in Hackney that was refreshed with a colourful extension informed by 1950s American kitchens.
The photography is by Jim Stephenson.
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