Tree House

Fletcher Crane Architects. In Ealing, this two bedroom home is stitched assertively into the street scenography.

The former garage site bounded by rear gardens created a series of constraints yet consequently generated an articulated series of volumes when read with the whole street. Using primarily three exterior materials: grey brick, black timber and tubular metalwork, the palette is simple where the rough facing brick and flush lime mortar joints contrasts the sharper and darker detailing.

The simplicity and rawness of finishing is carried through to the internal spaces where brick walls, ash joinery, terrazzo tiles and delicate metal balustrades contribute to a comprehensive vision. Upon entering the home along the secluded western boundary, the entrance lobby leads to a rich split level arrangement of rooms in a vertical spine of circulation.

Living spaces flow from the front to the rear of the site with the kitchen and living room on the upper most storeys making the most of natural daylight.

Two bedrooms and associated bathrooms are submerged within the semi sunken floors. A sunken planted courtyard is accessed via stepped brick planters and a paddle stair constructed of black cobble setts. The appearance from the street is of a compact dwelling.

The entrance is through a narrow passageway behind a new brick wall that continues the street line. The hallway leads to a kitchen and dining area overlooking a small private ground-level courtyard. Turning back towards the street, the main living space is half a storey up, looking back out over the wall to address the street.

Despite their outward appearance, these two upper levels are well-proportioned, light and airy, taking advantage of views out to the ground-level courtyard, along the adjacent front gardens to the south and also back across the street.

The first of the two lower floors is a half level below ground to fit under the uppermost floor. It contains a bedroom and en suite bathroom. The basement floor is another half level down to fit under the kitchen and dining area. It contains a further bedroom that opens out onto a sunken courtyard, which connects back to the ground level courtyard.

The house is built using cavity wall construction made of load-bearing brick, with parallel laminated veneer timber joists forming the upper-level floors and roof. The lower floors are made of concrete cast insitu, with walls and soffits left exposed. By opting for a restrained palette of materials and exposing brickwork walls, concrete and timber soffits internally, the architects have subtly blended outside and inside spaces and thereby connected them harmoniously.

The client is extremely pleased with the architects’ work and is more than happy to have been persuaded to opt for the exposed finishes.”

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