Cliff Road, Camden

Dale Loth’s own four-storey early-Victorian semi-detached house and garden, reinvented over a number of years

Top floor reconfigured as combined study, music room and spare bedroom in one space, the rear half opened to the roof and flooded with light.

An ascent of the deep filing drawers gives access to bookshelves, loft storage and a glass platform with a leather clad reading bench.

As elsewhere the design fuses aesthetics with practicality. A long, openable rooflight gives a view to Hampstead Heath and frameless fire-resistant glazing over a low bookcase visually enlarges the space into the main stairway.

Master bedroom suite has bespoke cedar joinery and copper-clad wardrobes. Simple, low platform bed increases feeling of space. Rusty red of Moroccan Art Deco rug wallhanging appears in shower room walls. Turquoise copper ‘cube’ of wardrobes surrounds the shower room. Slate tiling generates grey walls in sleeping area.

Japanese style Shoji screens slide to conceal chests and hanging rails in these purpose-designed Cedar of Lebanon wardrobes.

Cedar joinery frames Moroccan rug over platform bed. Bottom shelves of bookcases cantilever out to form bedside tables.

Cornish slate floor, wall areas and cantilevered shelves / benches make the most of this compact shower room.

In the raised ‘piano nobile’, the room layout and remaining original early-Victorian features have been retained. Built-in white glass and aluminium storage is minimalist. The focus of the room is 'Regolith', a specially commissioned aluminium bas-relief by Glynis Owen over a York stone plinth.

The aluminium and York stone audio cabinet is at a consistent height with the leather sofa and bucket armchairs. Narrow back-painted glass and aluminium cabinets slot in next to the original shutter boxings as storage for CDs. The etched glass display shelves adjacent are glued to avoid any visible supports.

In the rear kitchen / dining area large-scale Walnut cabinets with Westmorland slate countertops and splash backs wrap around the original chimney breast.  The articulated forms, rich finishes and mainly concealed appliances create a distinctly non-utilitarian atmosphere which belies its functionality. 

To link the main living floor to the garden, we replaced the rear windows with a pair of tall french doors leading to a galvanised steel and aluminium balcony.  The stony-coloured GRP canopy blends with the buff render and allows the doors to be left open in wet summer weather.  

Behind the house, the small rear 'area' has been excavated to create a formal pond, with its recirculating waterfall descending a stainless-steel clad retaining wall.  Spoil was used to form an upper terrace, where potted palms take the place of a railing.  We landscaped the garden as mainly evergreen extension of the interior. Steps leading over the pond recall the route to the reading platform at the top of the house.