The Charred House extension by Rider Stirland Architects in London

Victorian townhouse in London remodelled with charred-wood extension

Rider Stirland Architects has remodelled the interiors of a Victorian terraced house in south London by adding a small rear extension clad in blackened wood and London stock bricks.

Aptly named Charred House, the project was carried out for a family of five to help make more efficient use of their home and improve views of the garden.

To achieve this, Rider Stirland Architects replaced an existing but ineffective two-storey extension with an understated 9-square-metre addition, allowing the introduction of an open-plan kitchen, dining and sitting room.

The exterior of the Charred House extension by Rider Stirland Architects in London
Top image: Charred House's asymmetric shape echoes the form of the terrace. Above: the building is clad in blackened wood and brick

"In many ways, it was a classic brief for a Victorian terraced house – create an open-plan kitchen, dining and family room and improve the connection to the garden, however space to extend back from the existing building was limited," explained the studio.

"Key to our re-working of the house was the removal of the existing two-storey closet wing – a cold and unloved brick box to the rear – and construction of a new part single-storey, part two-storey extension."

The pivot door of the Charred House extension by Rider Stirland Architects in London
Large areas of glazing are used to visually connect the house and garden

The asymmetric shape of the Charred House extension references "the natural rhythm of the terrace", which includes two closet wing extensions on the neighbouring houses.

However, it was kept small in size in order to maintain usable outdoor space, as the extension steps out into the home's small back garden.

The entrance to the Charred House kitchen by Rider Stirland Architects in London
The extension created space for a large open-plan kitchen and sitting area

Durable charred larch is used as the primary cladding material to set the extension apart from the existing house, but it is teamed with portions of London stock brick to help tie it in with the street.

To add "a touch of personality", the wood and brick are complemented by flashings made from powder-coated aluminium and gold-coloured stainless steel.

The Charred House dining room by Rider Stirland Architects in London
A small dining area also features in the extension

Inside, Charred House's reconfigured ground floor is now open in plan, with a kitchen at its heart and a sitting and dining room at the rear.

Upstairs, the first floor part of the extension forms a new family study, which is fitted out with two equal-sized desks, shelf space and windows.

The Charred House kitchen by Rider Stirland Architects in London
The kitchen features black cabinetry and pink tiles

The open-plan arrangement of the ground floor is intended to better support "the dynamics of family life" and provides a single space in which the family can cook, play and eat at the same time.

This space is also visually connected to the garden through the extension's glazed pivot door, alongside a large oriel window that projects out into the garden.

The Charred House sitting room by Rider Stirland Architects in London
Bespoke cabinetry features in the sitting area

Material choices throughout Charred House have been chosen for warmth and tactility. This includes parquet flooring and the bespoke plywood joinery that maximises storage downstairs.

Standout finishes include the dark black kitchen cabinetry, which is contrasted with a pink-coloured splashback and a white kitchen island with a large gold-coloured tap.

The oriel window incorporates a long seat that is lined with bright fabric with a green-plant print, which the clients say gives them the feeling of "floating right among the flowers".

An oriel window inside Charred House by Rider Stirland Architects in London
The oriel window incorporates a large patterned window seat

Elsewhere in London, Harry Thomson also recently used blackened larch to clad an extension to a Victorian house. The project involved expanding the existing dining space into the garden and adding a stepped dormer into the roof to create an extra bedroom.

Grey Griffiths Architects designed a stepped brick extension for a workers' cottage in west London that features a staircase punctured with rectangle-shaped holes.

Photography is by Adam Scott.


Project credits

Architect: Rider Stirland Architects
Structural engineer: Axiom Structures
Garden designer: Catherine Oliver
Approved inspector: London Building Control
Party wall surveyor: H I Consultants
Contractor: Lenys Construction

More images and plans

Charred House ground floor plan by Rider Stirland Architects in London
Charred House ground floor plan
Charred House first floor plan by Rider Stirland Architects in London
Charred House first floor plan