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Garden Room House

Garden Room

Garden Room House shows how a Victorian family house can be imaginatively transformed by adding a single glass room to the existing dwelling. This simple move reconceptualises the garden as a transformable indoor/outdoor room and frees up the footprint of the house, enhancing the effect of natural light and maximising storage.

Previously, the client had struggled to gain planning permission for a small side extension and approached Paul McAneary Architects to propose an alternative. Paul McAneary Architects devised a design that effectively doubles the terraced house’s ground floor footprint and creates a garden room in its truest sense.

The rear of the house was formerly occupied by a dilapidated garage. This was demolished and the resulting awkward, underused space replaced by a single storey extension connected to the kitchen by a glass walkway. A central courtyard is created, defined on three sides by the living space and a set of fully retractable glass doors, cunningly engineered so that the corners are free of supports. When the doors are open, garden and ground floor meld into a seamless and senuous inside/outside realm. The garden becomes not simply an extension of the kitchen, living and play room, but a continually colonised connection between these spaces.

The original decking, which became dangerously slippery when wet, was replaced with grass and integrated drainage, extending the life of the garden through different climates and seasons. Blurring the distinction between inside and out, garden and house are on the same continuous level, so that space flows fluidly between between the two.

A curved ceiling extends along the length of the house, finessing the junction with a 19m long storage wall, the largest Paul McAneary Architects have created to date. Concealed LED lighting animates the repetitive geometry of the storage wall, while a recessed bench and two shelving units provide functional focal points. White oiled oak flooring, deliberately skip sawn to achieve a rougher texture, adds warmth to the interior.

From concept to detail, the remodelling aims to open up and enhance the living space creating a practical and civilised armature for family life. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £ 340k
Location Waltham Forest, London
Client Private
Date 2014 – 2015
Area 117m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor John McEvilly, MC Construction,
Supplier Plank Co, Easigrass Ltd, IQ Glass
Press 2016 The £100k house: Tricks of the Trade, BBC 2

Garden City House

Garden City House

This project for house in Hatfield explores the potential of a dwelling in a protected Garden City locale. Because of the area’s historic sensitivity, this severely restricted external modifications, so the project focused on what could be achieved in terms of reworking and opening up the internal space.

New elements, such as a floating staircase with a wafer-thin glass balustrade and an elegantly minimal fireplace, infuse the interior with a light, contemporary sensibility. The imperative for economy gives rise to some inventive solutions: for instance, a ‘concrete’ bench is in fact a timber structure covered in a thick layer of resin-based paint.

In a less historically sensitive programme, the loft storey under the pitched roof would have been opened up through the introduction of skylights or dormer windows. However, local planning regulations prohibited external additions or intrusions. The windowless space has therefore been remodelled for use as a home cinema.

Acoustic conditions are enhanced by a specially designed screen of vertical timber members calculated to absorb sound. The space resembles a kind of domestic womb, intimate and warm, equipped with the very latest in with home entertainment. The project demonstrates Paul McAneary Architects’ capacity to creatively reconceive spatial relationships and functions in historically protected buildings. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Paul McAneary Architects’ Office

Paul McAneary Architects' Office

In 2010 Paul McAneary Architects moved their offices, the short distance from Soho to Covent Garden, to a 17th century printers works. The old stone building is situated in Flitcroft St, near the soon to-be transport hub of London, Tottenham Court Road. The project aimed to reinstate open spaces that had been partitioned during the building’s previous conversion into an office.

To make the basement level functional, it was imperative to increase the height of the room. Paul McAneary Architects used a special cast fibre concrete floor, that could be set to only 70mm thick. A laboratory has been incorporated into the new layout, a space for the architects and designers to experiment with new materials and finishes, gaining first-hand expertise in their rapidly developing field. Architecture models can also be created safely and efficiently using the defined area.

The open plan space is designed for exhibitions and launches, with clean light walls and completely adaptable lighting. 4 light wells, from the street level bring natural light down to the basement, above alcoves that can be adapted for a plethora of uses. A structural glass floor will bring the maximum amount of light possible down, whilst connecting the two areas of office.

Ground Floor

The ground floor facade has been developed to bring the maximum amount of natural light possible. The largest structural glass panels achievable have been inserted within the existing openings in the facade. The heightened visibility, and renovated facade, will regenerate Flitcroft street, ensuring it maintains the vibrance of this central London location for years to come.

A sky light has been introduced into the back of the office, bringing light to the full extent of the plan. It is placed above a design room, directly above a glass box down into the basement level. Connecting all the levels of the project, and providing a shaft for large architectural models to be extracted gracefully through.


Paul has designed the desks that will make up the essential part of any office. They exude the minimal elegance of the Paul McAneary Architects office, a simple grey frame with a frosted glass top resting on top. The glass top acts as a light box, ensuring every architect can trace at their desk whilst working simultaneously on their mac. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £100k
Location Westminister, London
Area 238m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, material creation, survey, planning, building control, 3D visualisation
Supplier Plank Co
Press 2018 ‘Paul McAneary Architects: how a Japanese facade transformed a London alley;’ OnOffice 21 February

White Oak House

White Oak House

This radical remodelling of an apartment in a 1960s block in London’s Hampstead transforms a gloomy cellular interior into a set of fluid and light open-plan spaces. The client is Japanese, using the flat as a base for occasional trips to London, so perhaps such an approach of precise and elegant economy might have been anticipated. Yet the outcome has a formal and experiential resonance beyond the usual clichés of minimalism. The simple act of removing partition walls and adding new elements activates spatial relationships in new ways, and the material palette draws on natural textures to cultivate a studiedly neutral aesthetic.

In a series of controlled moves, the plan is deconstructed from its original compartmented arrangement and opened up to create a sense of tranquil spaciousness. The master bedroom now extends the full width of the plan, augmented by a large en-suite bathroom, a living area leading to a terrace and a small ‘secret room’ equipped with a vanity unit. The enlarged L-shaped living space combines kitchen and dining areas, the latter connected to a second terrace.

Freeing up the plan meant reconsidering arrangements for fire protection and this prompted the design of an ingenious pop-up fire lobby. If smoke is detected, an extra door is activated to swing into place over the main entrance to provide the necessary fire resistance.

Views and light are diffused through gauzily translucent blinds, which resemble contemporary versions of traditional Japanese shoji (rice paper) screens. These bathe the interior in a soft radiance, yet still suggest a sense of the surrounding parkland landscape. New bespoke elements frame and define space but are also multi-functional: for instance, an exquisite oak cabinet in the living room is both a bench and light fitting. White walls and oak are a recurring duality; other materials include honey-coloured travertine for the bathroom floors and bamboo decking for the roof terraces. Crisply cubic bedroom furniture was specially designed with table tops resembling veneer. However, like the travertine floors, they were chosen for their economy and adaptability, following extensive consideration of different samples.

The projects was run on a design and build contract, which meant that the practice controlled all detailing, construction and sequencing of trades. This gave it an invaluable insight into the practical and process aspects of interior remodelling, enabling it to deliver an outcome of the highest quality for the client. Such attention to detail, which included selecting all the furniture and fittings, creates a modern gesamtkunstwerk in the manner of Danish Modernist Arne Jacobsen, renowned for his all encompassing approach to design, where carefully considered individual parts coalesce to form a rich and compelling whole. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £200k
Location Hampstead, London
Client Private
Date From – 2015
Area 474m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor Paul McAneary Architects
Sub Contractor Paul McAneary Architects

Battersea Tower

Battersea Tower

At Chatfield Road, a riverside site in Battersea, this project augments and remodels an existing four storey block of flats by adding an extra four storeys. The aim was to maximise views and minimise overshadowing of existing buildings. The block is set back from the river and surrounded by much taller residential structures, some as high as 16 storeys. In this context the extra height of the redeveloped building can be justified, consolidating its urban presence and providing 20 new residential units.

In effect, the existing building becomes a kind of rusticated brick base for the new addition. This is clearly expressed by contrasting use of materials, with the extra storeys finished in smooth render. Five per flats floor are efficiently arranged around a circulation core. Individual apartments are dual aspect to maximise light and views, enhanced by generous terraces on the two riverfront elevations. The impact of the increased massing is tempered by a stepped section where the new addition meets an existing three storey block. The stepped form creates a series of enlarged terraces and reduces overshadowing. Interiors are simple, spacious and clean-lined, employing techniques of space planning developed in a previous Paul McAneary Architects residential remodelling project, the White Oak House. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value TBC
Location Wandsworth, London
Client Landmark Estates
Date Current
Area 1,924.96m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, glazing design, 3D visualisation

Light-Lever House

Light-Lever House

Intended to enlarge an existing family home in East Sheen, this project demonstrates what can be achieved within the scope of a more small-scale, permitted development that does not require planning permission.

Despite the apparently modest scale of the scheme, it still reflects a characteristically thoughtful synthesis of space and light. A single storey extension to the side of the main house is transformed into a pavilion-like outdoor room through a new glazed roof and glazed wall.

Exploring the idea of dematerialisation, a cunningly cantilevered roof structure makes the volume appear floating and weightless, suffusing the interior with natural light. The project emphasises the seamless connection of inside and out, opening up the house to the garden and letting spaces and atmospheres merge and interact. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £226k

Location East Sheen, London

Client Private client – as faceted house 1

Date 2020

Area ±300m²

Design Team Paul McAneary Architects

Design Service Architecture, interior, glazing design, lighting design

Main Contractor Jonathan Shaw, Crane D&B ltd

Teak floor David McNeil, The Plank Co, The Plank Co

Sub Contractor Martin Thorz, London Glass and Glazing Ltd

Supplier Sunvista, Compass Glass Ltd

Awards Design Awards 2020 Living space Design of the Year Award

Press Grand Designs Magazine

Haptic House

Haptic House

Haptic House is a renovation of a Grade II-listed Victorian dwelling in Hampstead to meet the changing needs of a young family. With its concern for simple, natural materials intended to age gracefully over time, the project is underscored by the concept of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic code which stresses the beauty of imperfection and transience.

The original house was an unmodernised, four storey semi-detached villa in a Conservation Area. The project focused on extending the rear of the building and remodelling its various floors, with only minimal changes to the historic frontage. Inverting the conventional relationship of living and sleeping spaces, the ground floor is converted into a master bedroom and the lower ground level transformed into a fluid, open-plan living, dining and kitchen space in direct contact with the garden. The topmost storey is remodelled to create a pair of identical home offices, with back-to-back children’s bedrooms on the first floor.

Reinforcing the connection between daily life and the presence of nature, the lower ground floor is excavated by half a metre so the garden is at eye level. A crisply detailed frameless glass extension augments the living space, enhancing light penetration and garden views. Glass is employed structurally, as columns and beams, while motorised aerofoil louvres made of cedar protect the delicately diaphanous butterfly roof from glare. A central gutter channels rainwater off the glass extension on to a ‘staining wall’. Sluiced by rust-impregnated rainwater interacting with tadelakt, a traditional, lime-based Moroccan plaster, the appearance of the wall will evolve over time.

The transition from inside to outside is defined and expressed through different manifestations of stone. Individual York stones are inset into a specially mixed terrazzo which forms the floor of the living space. This ‘stepping stone’ path flows out into the garden, extending up a cantilevered staircase crafted from solid stone, designed to emphasise its monolithic quality. Looping around the garden, the meandering trajectory is marked by reclaimed sleepers made from Azobe hardwood. Its focal point is the Suspended Shade, a dramatically cantilevered timber structure which functions as a discrete pavilion for contemplation and entertaining.

Ground and lower ground floors are linked by an immaculately detailed timber staircase featuring a wafer thin balustrade of laminated glass capped by a slim bronze handrail. This forensic yet poetic attention to detail extends to every aspect of the remodelling. For instance, the book-matched oak veneered doors enclosing the long storage wall in the main living space were exceptionally complex to produce, making intense demands on the craft skills of specialist joiners. Equally, the Spathroom on the first floor is a tour-de-force of highly considered detailing and fabrication. Inspired by Japanese bathing rituals, the outcome is a sumptuously sensual bathroom lined with teak and slate to create an intimate, womb-like enclave for washing and relaxing.

As the clients work from home, the upper storey is brought into play to provide two identical offices. In a twist worthy of an espionage novel, small secret rooms are inserted behind twin libraries, controlled by electromagnetic locks that can be concealed in the spine of a book.

Rigorous emphasis was placed on the selection of materials and how they are put together and experienced. Natural materials, such as York stone, oak, teak and slate were chosen as they have an inherently warm, haptic quality that responds to touch. A bespoke blackened, unpolished patina resembling dark bronze was applied to all ironmongery and metal fittings. Silky smooth clay plaster and rough exposed brickwork add further textural and visual richness. Embodying a crucial tenet of wabi-sabi, materials are intended to be subtly transmuted by the passage of time, weathering beautifully through use and the slow patina of age. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £1.6m
Location Hampstead, London
Client Private
Date 2011-2015
Area 474m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, material creation, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, planning
Consultants Gareth Atkinson, William Dick TBC
Main Contractor Symm
Sub Contractor Simon Heslop, Paul Davies, William Garvey
Supplier Lazenby, tadelakt, Delta Light
Press 2018 ‘Paul McAneary Architects’ dlist Verified
Awards 2017 Designer K&B Awards – Won Bathroom Design of the Year (over £15k) with Spathroom 2016 The UK Property Awards – Highly Commended for Best Architecture Single Residence London 2015 The Wood Awards – Finalist for Interior Design of the Year with Spathroom