The Victorian townhouse in London was transformed with a charred wooden extension


Rider Stirland Architects redesigned the interior of a Victorian terraced house in south London by adding a small rear extension clad in blackened wood and London cane bricks.

The project, aptly named Charred House, was carried out for a family of five to make more efficient use of the house and improve views of the garden.

To achieve this, Rider Stirland Architects replaced an existing but ineffective two-story extension with a subtle 9-square-meter extension that enabled the introduction of an open kitchen, dining and living room.

Above: The asymmetrical shape of Charred House is reminiscent of the shape of the terrace. Above: The building is clad in blackened wood and bricks

“It was a classic Victorian townhouse assignment in many ways – create an open plan kitchen, dining room and family room and improve communication with the garden, but space to retreat from the existing building was limited,” the studio explained.

“The key to our redesign of the house was the removal of the existing two-story cabinet wing – a cold and unloved brick box on the back – and the construction of a new partly one-story, partly two-story extension.”

The revolving door of the Charred House extension by Rider Stirland Architects in LondonLarge glazing areas visually connect the house and the garden

The asymmetrical shape of the Charred House extension refers to the “natural rhythm of the terrace”, which includes two cabinet wing extensions on the neighboring houses.

However, it has been kept small to preserve the usable outside space as the extension leads into the small garden of the house.

The entrance to the Charred House kitchen by Rider Stirland Architects in LondonThe extension created space for a large open kitchen and seating area

Long-lasting charred larch is used as the primary cladding material to make the extension stand out from the existing home. However, it is combined with parts of London warehouse bricks to connect it to the road.

In order to give “a touch of personality”, wood and bricks are complemented by facings made of powder-coated aluminum and gold-colored stainless steel.

The dining room of Rider Stirland Architects' charred house in LondonA small dining area is also located in the extension

Inside, the newly configured first floor of the Charred House is now open plan, with a kitchen in the heart and a living and dining room in the back.

On the upper floor, the part of the extension on the first floor forms a new family room, which is equipped with two desks of the same size, shelves and windows.

The charred home kitchen by Rider Stirland Architects in LondonThe kitchen has black cabinets and pink tiles

The open arrangement of the ground floor is intended to better support “the dynamic of family life” and offers a single room in which the family can cook, play and eat at the same time.

This room is visually connected to the garden through the glazed revolving door of the extension next to a large bay window that protrudes into the garden.

The Charred House Living Room by Rider Stirland Architects in LondonCustom-made furniture in the seating area

The choice of materials throughout Charred House was chosen based on warmth and tactility. This includes hardwood floors and the bespoke plywood joinery that maximizes storage on the ground floor.

House for Four London house extension designed by Harry Thomson of Studioshaw

Black painted larch boards clad as an extension of a house in London

The dark black kitchen furniture, which contrasts with a pink kitchen back wall and a white kitchen island with a large gold-colored faucet, is particularly noteworthy.

The bay window contains a long seat lined with light-colored fabric with a green plant print, which gives customers the feeling of “floating right between the flowers”.

A bay window in the charred house of Rider Stirland Architects in LondonThe bay window contains a large patterned window seat

Elsewhere in London, Harry Thomson also recently used blackened larch to clad an extension of a Victorian house. The project included extending the existing dining area into the garden and adding a tiered dormer window to the roof to create an additional bedroom.

Gray Griffiths Architects designed a tiered brick extension for a workers’ house in West London with a staircase pierced with rectangular holes.

The photography is by Adam Scott.

Project loans

Architect: Rider Stirland Architects
Structural engineer: Axiom structures
Garden designer: Catherine Oliver
Approved inspector: London building controls
Party wall surveyor: HI consultant
Contractor: Leny’s den