Seven modern townhouses with the perfect al fresco dining arrangement
These model townhouses appears to consist of two floors from the street, but exploits the sloping site to provide five levels of accommodation. The entrance is at upper ground level, from where you walk through a glazed screen into what becomes, at the back of the house, a first floor living room providing amazing views out over the treetops to Alexandra Palace.
The kitchen and dining room sit directly under the living room - the far wall is completely glazed and folds back in its entirety to extend the room directly into the garden beyond - so every family has two spacious and entirely separate living areas. There are two bedroom floors with four bedrooms, including an attic floor in the roofspace. The existence of this floor is disguised with windows which from outside seem to be a continuation of the windows on the floor below and which on the inside are at floor level and provides a great vantage point for children.
The pitched roof disguises an external terrace which is entirely private and spacious enough for a table and chairs, sun loungers and even, in the case of one current resident, an entire vegetable garden. The attic bedrooms both have a clerestory window onto this terrace, so that they both get light from two directions. This is a space for teenagers or grownups to escape for a bit of private outdoor time.
The house at the far end of the terrace occupies a larger site which contains four protected lime trees. What we have done here is to take the basic terrace floorplan and to push one- and two-storey brick 'anchors' out into the garden between the canopies of the trees. This has enabled the architects to accommodate all the living spaces on a single floor and to remove the ceiling above the dining area, creating a double height space which interconnects the various zones of this larger house like a three-dimensional puzzle. This also enabled the architects to turn the end house to address the wide-fronted proportion of the larger Tudorbethan villas opposite.
The zinc and white render of the street elevations makes reference to this black and white context, whilst the garden side of the terrace is faced with cedar shingles, giving a layered appearance like the bark of a tree and making it merge into the wooded garden setting.