When solicitors Hayley and Angus Mitchinson moved in to their Victorian terraced house in east London, they decided to revitalise it by adding an smart extension – now it’s the envy of the street.
Reflecting on the beginnings of his now greatly enhanced home in Mile End, east London, Angus Mitchinson jokes: “We bought the house knowing it would be a ‘project’ but perhaps underes- timated the amount of work that needed to be done.” Angus, along and wife Hayley are the proud owners of a Victorian terraced house built around the year 1890. Sitting in a quiet road, the property is full of history and character. Though they loved its antiquated style, the couple recognised straight away that it was crying out for a revamp.
“We spent our first eight months redecorating and refurbishing the front half of the house, which didn’t require any structural improvements,” explains Angus. When it came to the back half however, the couple knew something far more extensive had to be done. It was in poor condition, and to make the most of the home’s potential, the Mitchinsons were looking to design and build some- thing completely fresh and contemporary.
With an extension design in hand, the Mitchinsons’ first step towards building their dream home was securing planning approval from their local authority; however, the process didn’t turn out to be as simple as they first thought. “Our initial planning application, and subse- quent appeal, were rejected,” explains Angus. Realising that they needed some additional help, the couple enlisted Architect Your Home, a UK network of expert domestic architects, who drew up some comprehensive plans, gathered together the most important information and made sure their application was approved. After 15 months of rejections, the couple finally got the green light and could start to properly plan for their home renovation.
Their new design, nurtured by both the Mitchinsons and their architect, Tom Gresford, ticked all the boxes in their brief. The couple were adamant that the design needed to be sympathetic to the existing Victorian part of the house and assist in retaining all its unique personal- ity. Angus and Hayley also preferred minimalist design, and it was Architect Your Home who introduced them to the idea of utilising unusual materials to achieve a neutral, stylish look. Approval in hand, the Mitchinsons were finally able to search for the right builders and begin their project in earnest.
Angus adds, “We’re so glad we teamed up with Architect Your Home; their design had far greater architectural value than what we originally proposed, and their vision and attention to detail gave the extension much more character than we would have been able to alone.”
DESIGN & BUILD
When construction began, the Mitchinsons underestimated the effect it would have on them and their street. Once their original rear extension was demolished, the stand-out feature of its replacement – namely the cross- laminated timber that covers the rear inside and out – had to be carried over and positioned carefully onto the house using a crane.
This required road closures – and was something the couple hadn’t anticipated. Despite this small surprise, this part of the project ran extremely smoothly – “the extension structure was completed in a single week,” comments Angus.
The couple fell in love with the look of cross-laminated timber (CLT), an environ- mentally-friendly building product, prefabricated in Austria, and were impressed by its unique aesthetic and excellent insulation properties. Complementing the Victorian character of the front of the property, the CLT panels offer a modern twist to a home, adding a great deal of spirit.
The entire extension covers two floors across the rear of the property; with so much space and potential, the addition has provided the Mitchinsons with a state-of-the-art new kitchen, a stunning bathroom and an essential spare bedroom.
Unsurprisingly, Angus and Hayley’s interior design style is as en vogue as their taste in domestic architecture. “We did spend a great deal of time on Pinterest deciding what we did (and didn’t) like,” says Angus. The final result features several fashionable elements that make their home completely unique, and effortlessly chic.
The new, open-plan kitchen speaks for itself. Abundant in space and character, the cabinetry is painted in the kitchen colour of the moment – an opulent navy blue. With brushed steel handles and knobs, the room also has exposed shelving, creating a homely feel and displaying the couple’s best crockery and drinkware. Accessorising the room is a minimalist black round table, matching white wooden chairs and a floral table display. Perhaps the most innovative element of the room is the disc-shaped glazing in the ceiling, allowing natural light to flood in, not to mention the focal window seat looking out over the couple’s garden through a single, large fixed pane. Spotlights illuminate the room, coming in especially handy when the Mitchinsons cook and entertain.
The front reception room is accessed by a small flight of stairs leading up from the kitchen. A small glass ceiling also joins the two rooms and innovatively brightens the back of the lounge, which might have otherwise been quite a dim area. Funky furniture, a copper lighting fixture and a contrasting, inviting armchair ensure the lounge is as on-trend as it is comfortable.
The additional bathroom, situated on the first floor, boasts dividers with a difference. “We now have beautiful internal timber detailing on the ceiling and first floor walls,” notes Angus, com- menting on the CLT panels that match the exterior of the building and adorn the inside walls of the room. The sink area is embellished with a vintage storage cabinet, as well as contemporary copper lights above the mirror.
The Mitchinsons show no signs of stopping here. “We’re hoping to start another project relatively soon (a loft extension), which we’re aiming to complete before the summer,” enthuses Angus. It seems they have the bug for renovation and who could blame them? Their home has gone from drab to fab, with more exciting additions and features to look forward to in future.