The Long House was designed by Keith Williams Architects has been conceived as a “secret dwelling”, screened from the outside world. Much of it is single storey, in sharp contrast to typical, vertically stacked 4 or 5 storey London houses. Its flank to the outside world is formed by the rebuilt, single storey boundary wall. Above, a clerestorey glazed strip and zinc vault form the garden wing over a toplit, subterranean swimming pool. The much smaller upper portions of the house are formed of simple blank façades deployed along the top of the wall echoing the volumes of the earlier buildings. Facing the garden, the elevations open out in a freer and more transparent way, beginning to dissolve the relationship between inside and out. The form of the long house has been determined by careful integration of the new masses with the scale and form of the existing adjoining houses. The 49m long house comprises living and dining spaces, a subterranean lap pool, 4 main bedrooms, and guest and maid’s wing and garaging for 2 cars.
The radical build 720m2 house for a private family client is located in St Johns Wood, a conservation area in London. The house replaces two former 19th century terraced dwellings, which were originally built to service the grand villas on Hamilton Terrace immediately to the west. The triangular land parcel on which the new house sits forms the north side of the close and is in marked contrast to the rectangular street and plot division which is typical of this neighbourhood. The triangular nature of the site is the result of a “fault line” of land ownership between two large London estates, namely the Eyre Estate and the Harrow, which make up the historic land and building ownership of this part of St. Johns Wood. This area of St John’s Wood was largely developed during the 19th century and, although there has been some post-war development and repair of bomb damaged buildings, this is a mature conservation area and therefore a new build contemporary house is a very rare event.