Dezeen Magazine

Gundry & Ducker revamps Victorian terrace to feature "different characters within a single house"

Portholes and semi-circular motifs characterise this colourful renovation and extension of a Victorian terrace house in Hackney, London, by architecture studio Gundry & Ducker.

Gundry & Ducker drew on the palette of 1950s American kitchens when creating the rear extension and renovated basement in this London house.

The studio also added a plywood staircase leading to a modern loft space, while the ground and first floors were maintained in a classic Victorian style.

porthole in dark stair provides a glimpse of the room beyond
The staircase leading from the basement to the ground floor features a porthole window

The refurbishment features contrasting light and dark spaces, materials of varying texture and warmth, and rooms of contrasting volumes.

Gundry & Drucker's intention was to provide "a series of spaces with different characters within a single house," studio co-founder Christian Ducker told Dezeen.

A semi-circular staircase in cherry-wood veneer links the Victorian spaces in the original house to the floor below, which features the new extension and houses a kitchen and dining area. The stairwell space was left intentionally dark, with a porthole window to view the room beyond.

Terrazzo worktop in basement kitchen
Bespoke candy-flecked terrazzo worktops lend the kitchen a 1950s American mood

The porthole window "was located low down so the client's children could look through it," Ducker said.

The low and dark basement room, converted from a cellar by the previous occupants, has benefited from a rear extension in the form of a new bay window, fitted with bright-coloured window frames.

Semi-circular motifs are echoed in the deeply-recessed rooflight designs, which the studio created to "celebrate light, rather than glass".

semi circular lightwells provide illumination
Deeply recessed rooflights provide further illumination

"One of the biggest challenges of the project was to create a bright and welcoming space in a formerly dingy cellar, whilst avoiding the usual rectangular glass roofs and big sliding glass doors," Ducker explained.

The clients, people involved in the theatre and film industries, asked Gundry & Ducker to "inject some character and drama" into the standard terraced house whilst preserving the remaining Victorian features.

The studio approached the brief by choosing a fresh palette of colours to create different characters for the different spaces.

Rear exterior of extension and renovation to Victorian terrace
The rear extension, with brightly coloured window frames, opens up the dark basement to the garden

"It's always a pleasure when you have a client who is interested in colour. The colours chosen for the lower ground floor were pink and yellow, which were taken from a kitchen advert in a 1950s magazine," Ducker said.

"The workshop space is a contrasting tutti-fruiti. The upper floor of the house is in a variety of shades of green ranging from dark green paintwork to light green timber stain this is intended to reflect its Victorian heritage."

Green plywood staircase leads to modern loft conversion
Green tones are used above ground, from the formal sitting room to the plywood staircase leading to the loft conversion

Bay windows were the dominant architectural expression of the existing building's exterior and so the studio added another bay in a similar style, painted white, to unite the new additions.

New bathrooms were installed throughout the house, echoing the green tones used throughout the above-ground rooms.

Pastel colours reminiscent of 1950s American interiors were kept for the basement kitchen and contrast the bright blue window frames facing onto the rear.

The kitchen features bespoke candy-flecked terrazzo worktops.

New bathrooms echo green colours of the refurbishment of Victorian rooms on ground and first floor
The new bathrooms feature green tiles

Founded in 2007 by Tyeth Gundry and Christian Ducker, Gundry & Ducker has also designed a colourful bubble tea cafe in Soho and a by-the-slice pizza parlour in Dalston.

Other London house extensions recently featured on Dezeen include Pashenko Works' corrugated metal and blockwork extension in Camberwell and ConForm's all-marble extension to Victorian house in Hampstead.

Project credits:

Structural Engineer: Feres Ltd
Contractor: Nika Projects

The photography is by Jim Stephenson.

More images and plans

Ground floor plan
Ground floor plan
First floor plan
First floor plan
Long section
Long section
Porthole motif throughout
from the stairs a porthole provides light and visual access to room below
Colour palette was chosen to be reminiscent of 1950s american kitchens
the stiarcase echoes the semi circular motif throughout the scheme
green tiled bathroom
Victorian drawing room painted green
Victorian fireplace with new green walls and bookshelves