Ormelie Terrace, Portobello

The existing building was an end-of-terrace Edwardian house within the Conservation area in the seaside suburb of Portobello. The rear garden was large, private and east facing but had a large drop in level from ground floor to the garden level, in excess of 2.5m, which made the garden difficult to access and so largely unused.

The design proposal was to move the kitchen and dining level down from the ground floor to garden level. This involved the addition of nine steps within the existing house. This however allowed the kitchen / dining and family rooms to have a direct, level relationship to the garden.  It also meant that the new extension can be located underneath the cill of the existing house windows thus avoiding any loss of light to existing rooms.

The single storey scale has the effect of stepping down the height of the rear of the house making the house less imposing on the garden. There was very little additional overshadowing, and the extension fills an otherwise dark part of the garden.

Careful detailing with steel beams, timber cladding and lots of glass to get morning light connected the inside with the garden. The extension has expressed timber ceilings with a rooflight over providing interesting light and shadows throughout the day.

The terraced typology meant that all the construction work had to be done with access through the house which given the large change in levels was a challenge for the excellent builder, Orocco Construction

  • Photography: © Nanne Springer