Dezeen Magazine

Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien

Reading nook and a hidden room added in London house extension

Architecture practice Thomas-McBrien extended a London house, adding a oak-lined reading nook and a utility room hidden behind a secret door along with a kitchen and dining space.

Pale, mortar-washed brick and lightly washed oak joinery were used, said the studio, to create a "calm and relaxing" space.

Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien

Called Dollis Hill Avenue, the project occupies a site that slopes down a total of 1.2 metres towards a rear garden.

The extension's design takes advantage of this by stepping down from the main house to create a split-level floor plan.

Running the full width of the existing property, the extension is one and a half floors below the existing ground floor.

A sliding, wood-framed door in the extension opens out onto a terrace formed by a set of wide, white steps that run is entire length.

Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien

In addition to the kitchen and dining area, the new extension provides a utility and storage room concealed behind a deep, timber-lined partition.

This room is accessed via a hidden door that blends in with the wooden wall finishes.

Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien

This partition doubles as a seating alcove, which wraps around the western end of the room to create a window seat overlooking the garden.

"The insertion of a deep seating alcove in the joinery offers a comfortable, sheltered enclosure – a perfect place to read and relax," said the studio.

Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien

The pale white bricks have been left exposed at the two ends of the new space, working with the pale oak joinery and wooden floors to create a "calm and relaxing everyday space."

The front of the home has been opened up to match the warm, muted palette of the extension.

A sliding door opens the living room onto a corridor that leads down a set of steps wooden into the new spaces.

Above, the bedrooms now overlook the new flat-roofed extension, creating a visual continuity from the white-rendered walls of the home down to the garden terrace and steps.

Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien

East London-based Thomas-McBrien was founded in 2017 by Barry McBrien, and the studio is currently working on a range of residential projects as well some temporary installations.

London architect Larissa Johnson recently made similar use of built-in wooden fittings for a home in Islington, which centred around a plywood core.

Photography is by Ståle Eriksen.

Project Credits:

Architects: Thomas-McBrien – Barry McBrien, James Barber and Dominic Walker
Main contractor: NWL
Structural engineer: Constant SD
Building control: Assent Building Control
Party wall consultant: Roger Oakley & Co

More images and plans

Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien
Ground floor plan
Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien
Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien