Set within the leafy Highgate Conservation Area of North London, a five-storey Edwardian terraced house now stands freshly refurbished featuring an impactful architectural surprise that draws on verticality and light, expertly designed by Emil Eve.
The London-based architecture firm has created a double height atrium to open up elegant vertical connections that allow light and views to unfold throughout the home. Set on a sloped hillside, the geometric brick extension features a stepped form, offering space for defined living space both internally and externally.
The London-based architecture firm was briefed to revive the tired terraced house into a warm, open plan, polished family home for a young couple and their two children. Long time locals to the area, the clients selected Emil Eve for their passion, extensive experience in terraced housing restorations, and ability to deliver technically challenging architecture with bright, sensitive, and timeless interiors.
Highgate House previously consisted of a stepped level arrangement of smaller, separate rooms typical to houses of the era. The cellular floor plan required occupants to travel a confusing route up and down multiple stairs over varying floors to reach the expansive, sprawling rear garden, a design flaw Emil Eve immediately looked to rectify.
Emil Eve has utilised the property’s five storeys to deliver a cleverly and subtly zoned floor plan, balancing social family space with distinct areas for both parents and children to work, rest, and play. At entry, visitors are greeted by a generous hallway complete with traditional detailing leading past an intimate sitting room. The impactful moment of joyful surprise comes as a sliding door reveals the expansive atrium extension, with many guests remarking on the tardis-like experience of entering such a bright and open space tucked cleverly within the traditional London home.
Emil Eve has balanced the vast overhead volume of the new extension with textural, tactile materials to define a warm and inviting atmosphere. A slender timber datum line extends from the ground floor plane, wrapping around the new living space, and cleverly integrated as open plan kitchen shelving. This line marks the pre-existing ground floor level, bordering slender vertical timber battening that anchors and gently grounds the generous space. Soft lime plaster gives a natural finish to the space, which draws light through overhead glazing and wide sections of glazing at the rear. The extension offers multiple spaces for the family to enjoy, offering room to cook, dine, complete homework, or read independently while remaining in each other’s company.
The new lower ground floor opens onto a new patio and landscaped garden, bordered by brick planter beds that blend into the structure, which will enjoy new greenery over time. The brick extension appears as two volumes when viewed from the garden, a tall rectangular structure contrasted by a geometric extruded form reminiscent of the previously existing rear bay windows.
Upstairs, the family now have access to their own dedicated spaces. New openings to the original staircase, now topped with a large roof-light, provide additional vertical connections and bring light into the deepest part of the home. On the first floor is a primary bedroom and bathroom suite, dressing room and office. A playroom, family bathroom and two children’s bedrooms occupy the second floor, with a reclaimed attic volume perfect as a secret cubby hideout.
The interiors at Highgate House are a culmination of a collaborative and connected working relationship between architect and client. Wide plank oak flooring offers a warm footing against soft white tones in the social spaces, with rich greens and pale, natural pinks gradually introduced as one moves up the home.
Emil Eve and their clients shared a clear vision from the outset for a natural, timeless and fresh home for a young family to grow into and enjoy for years to come, creating an impactful and considered example of a London terrace transformation.
Emma Perkin, Director, Emil Eve said; ‘The idea of using vertical connections and double-height space is at the centre of this home, which has been enlivened and elevated with key architectural ideas across volume, light and movement. Our clients had an exciting vision and we have been delighted to help them execute.’
Private clients said; ‘We appointed Emil Eve for their experience with terraced homes, but their genuine excitement in being our architects set the tone for a collaborative build tailored to how we live, and will in future, as a family. They have produced some beautiful London homes, and we liked that they connected the building to the internal atmosphere.’’
Photography by Taran Wilkhu