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House for an Artist, Hampstead, London

This is a large house for a painter and his family. The site is the interior of a block bounded by the gardens of the surrounding houses and by a churchyard. As such it was a 'secret garden' occupied only by a derelict and part ruined early nineteenth-century wash-house. Parts of this have been incorporated in the new building.

In order to preserve as much as possible of the existing garden the new building is kept as an 'L' ranging along the north and west edges of the site and built against the existing high party walls with adjacent buildings. It is thus basically a single aspect building and every effort has been made to bring light into the depth of the building by introducing rooflights and a lightwell/staircase against the tall party wall that forms the northern edge of the site.

The main body of the house is a new, three storey block which houses the kitchen and the main living area. A cylindrical staircase tower built from an existing brick drum leads to the bedrooms which are ranged above over two floors and a conservatory giving onto the garden links the entrance and studio wings of the house.

Finishes and materials are generally simple and straightforward. The floor is reclaimed caulked elm boards and much of the existing brickwork is left exposed. The incorporation of elements of the ruin which had existed on the site has led to a building which provides a multiplicity of highly differentiated spaces ideal for the display of the clients' collection of paintings and objects.

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