London-based emerging architecture practice Alexander Owen has completed a contemporary family home in East Dulwich, that gives the owners a place to entertain, as well ample space for them and their three sons to enjoy time together.
TV producer Faye Hamilton and business psychologist Daniel Vacassin, both 39, wanted a modern reworking of their Victorian mid-terrace in south London. The couple were keen to use a local practice and discovered Alexander Owen Architecture via their work on the staircase at community hub Peckham Levels, a few miles down the road from their home.
Alexander Owen designed a single-storey rear extension which accommodates an open plan kitchen-diner, utility room and WC, plus a garden room accommodating a home office, bar and social space. Use of two types of precision-cut marble on the exterior of both the extension and the garden room provides a striking visual connection between the two spaces, with a luxurious yet simple feel. The choice of material was inspired by a marble bust and table the couple had inherited from Daniel’s late mother Priscilla. The way the pieces of marble fit together and the colouring achieved has been carefully thought out so that the extension and garden room perfectly mirror each other.
No paints were used in the kitchen extension or the garden room. Instead, Alexander Owen worked with their clients in choosing robust and easy to maintain surfaces such as a poured concrete floor, stainless steel island unit and a timber ceiling.
Faye and Daniel’s forever home is deliberately zoned for the way they live as a family. The utility room and WC are located in the mid-section of the property so that the kitchen and garden room could become a grown up part of the project that could be kept tidy for dinners with friends. The rest of the house can effectively be shut off, with the utility space playing a key role in storage. The family snug at the front part of the house means Faye and Daniel can read books and listen to music on their record player while their children: Sebastian, 10, Thomas, 8 and Thibaut, 6, can watch TV or play in the other end of the space.
The garden room has played a crucial role in the family’s living arrangements during 2020. Both Faye and Daniel have worked from home and the space serves as a home office during the week. Being able to work quietly and privately and lock their laptops away at the end of the day has helped the couple maintain a crucial boundary between work and family. The garden room also has a well-stocked bar and so has been a place for small gatherings over the summer, as well as serving as a home workout space.