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A Sunlit Oasis: Victorian Townhouse Renovation with a Beautiful Skylight

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

Local firm Oliver Leech Architects has expanded a Victorian townhouse in south London, incorporating a spacious skylight in the middle that spans four meters wide. This unique feature provides stunning vistas of a rooftop adorned with a beautiful wildflower meadow.

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

The primary objective of the project was to remove the outdated renovations from the 1990s and reconfigure the layout in order to create a spacious and long-lasting family home. Notable additions to the home include a wildflower meadow roof and expansive overhead glazing. As a result, the house now offers a rational and relaxed living environment that is specifically designed to accommodate the needs of a young family of four.

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

Situated in Herne Hill, the Victorian house is located within a conservation area. Nick and Rebecca Croome, the homeowners, were drawn to the property and were seeking a renovation project that would allow them to personalize their home while still preserving its heritage and ensuring high-quality craftsmanship. With the intention of achieving more with less, they enlisted the services of Oliver Leech Architects based on a recommendation from a friend. The couple worked closely with the architectural studio to bring their vision to life.

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

When outlining their requirements, the clients provided Oliver with a relatively open brief. They expressed their desire for the studio to rediscover and maintain the original Victorian character and charm of the house, while also incorporating functional and contemporary spaces that utilize natural materials and maximize natural light.

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

The renovation of Poet’s Corner House is most evident in the seamless flow of movement within the residence. Oliver, the architect, skillfully reimagined the spatial arrangement of the house, capitalizing on the ample width of the plot to introduce an abundance of natural light and create a new internal layout that caters to the clients’ needs.

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

The previous configuration of small, disconnected, and dimly lit rooms on the ground floor has been replaced with a stepped plan that encompasses a sitting room, a music space, and an open plan kitchen-living area. This new layout is situated within a newly added side and rear extension, which opens up to a beautifully landscaped garden, also designed by the architects.

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

One of the key requirements outlined in the project brief was the incorporation of greenery. To fulfill this, the ground floor of the house offers multiple sight lines to the surrounding gardens and sky. These sight lines act as natural wayfinding elements, guiding visitors through the house while providing glimpses of the lush greenery outside.

Poet’s Corner House, London, UK / Oliver Leech Architects

A notable addition to the renovated house is a light-well and courtyard, framed with oak elements. This central feature creates a serene window seat, inviting an abundance of natural light and greenery into the home. The oak joinery seamlessly aligns with a step change, serving as a clean timber datum that leads down to the social heart of the house. At this point, a four-meter wide double-glazed skylight is introduced, allowing soft, south-facing light to flood the space and offering a first glimpse of the wildflower meadow that spans the entire roof of the extension.

Image courtesy of Jim Stephenson