Corner House

Cookham, Berkshire
Full home refurbishment and extension within an existing footprint on the greenbelt

When the owners came to us for a refurbishment and extension, we knew we’d be restricted in terms of space because the property was already built to the limit of planning policy.

The house had been extended in the past, but without a masterplan defining the extensions and changes it had become a disjointed collection of cramped spaces without thought for the overall flow. The owners enjoyed entertaining friends, but the small separate kitchen meant they were away from their guests while cooking.

Our challenge was to unpick the issues with the existing layout to create a modern open-plan home where the interior was well-connected, and where individual rooms could be enlarged by repurposing some of the wasted space.

By listening carefully to how our clients wanted to live, we developed a design that’s transformed the feel of the house. To get the contemporary open-plan kitchen/dining room they had their hearts set on, a small extension with corner-opening sliding doors made the most of the existing floor area. 

With the introduction of a double height space in the entrance hallway plus new first-floor window, we’ve created a new sense of space and light, enhanced by the cantilevered zigzag staircase with curved glass balustrade. Strategically positioned windows and slimline crittal-style doors provide long views connecting the front rooms to the rear garden and enabling the inside-outside living the clients imagined.

We’ve opened up the lounge and connected it to the kitchen area by removing some arched walls that broke up the space and made furnishing a challenge, and we’ve moved the office upstairs while creating a cozy den room for watching TV. 

New sustainably-sourced western red cedar cladding to the upper gable and existing dormers has transformed the façade, with painted masonry below creating a fresh, modern feel to this 1950s house.

This uplifted home is an example of what can be done with responsive and clever remodelling of the internal space and exterior finish, even when you have a restricted footprint to play with.

“Bronwen was great to work with. We had spoken to other architects but her can-do approach and ability to listen was what drew us to work with her. She is full of practical suggestions and pushed us out of our comfort zone without ever disrespecting our own ideas and our budget. She came up with some great solutions to problems but always took into consideration what we were trying to achieve and our vision. We love the end result and couldn’t have done it without her.”

Peter D