Designer    News 30 Jan 2018

This kitchen extension is London’s third best home improvement, as judged by ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’

Don’t Move, Improve! is organised by New London Architecture (NLA) in association with RIBA London, Clippings and Architect’s Republic. Any home extension or improvement project completed in the last two years, in any one of London’s 33 boroughs, was eligible for entry. Judges included Dezeen editor Amy Frearson, NLA chairman Peter Murray, architect Carl Turner and Ash Sakula co-founder of Cany Ash.

Many marvellous machinations graced the shortlist, including a Georgian townhouse with a patio that transforms into a reflecting pool. But one particular project has caught our eye.

Matter-of-fact materials such as concrete, brick, and timber, in muted tones, have been used to create the featured extension to a family home in Stoke Newington, North London. London-based architects Al-Jawad Pike expanded the Victorian property for a teacher, a TV producer, and their young daughter. The studio was asked to create a new cooking and dining area that directly overlooked the garden – replacing a former kitchen that the client had complained of being cramped and dark, with views to the outdoors obstructed by a small utility annex.

The studio, which is led by Jessam Al-Jawad and Dean Pike, designed the extension as one open space and employed simple materials in a restrained colour palette. Grey brick walls have been paired with Douglas fir floorboards, while concrete has been used for the kitchen work surfaces. Oak finished with natural oil has also been used for cabinetry including integrated shelving.

This aesthetic was largely inspired by Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens, who is recognised for his use of concrete on the interior and exterior of buildings. “His unusual combinations of matter-of-fact materials were a significant influence,” Al-Jawad said. “We wanted to avoid using paint as much as possible.”

“The use of grey [bricks] was a subtle reference to brutalism, and combining it with the room’s concrete and oak joinery elements seemed an interesting way to offset a rough surface with some refinement,” he added.

A brick staircase illuminated by a skylight links the new kitchen to the original house. Daylight also filters through from an oak-framed full-height window at the front of the extension, which slides open to allow access to the garden.

A three-month exhibition of 120 projects longlisted for Don’t Move, Improve! will go on show in NLA’s galleries at The Building Centre from 26th January – 20th April 2018.

“Don’t Move, Improve! is a wonderful showcase for the quality of architectural talent that abounds in London,” said NLA Chairman Peter Murray. “The bespoke additions and alterations on show at NLA ensure that London’s stock of homes have a new lease of life, are more sustainable and are fit for a 21st century lifestyle,” he continued. “The exhibition shows off many excellent examples of the designers’ skill at making best use of space within the constraints of the conventional town house.”

As well as the exhibition, NLA is hosting a series of design surgeries, where Londoners wanting to extend their homes can ask for free advice from winning architects.

New London Architecture |