Spitalfields House updated to create a minimalist haven

Minimalist revamp breathes new life into Spitalfields House

Form, function and flush details combine in a minimalist East London terrace by Common Ground Workshop

A terraced house in a quiet cul-de-sac in east London has been transformed into a haven of minimalism by emerging architecture studio Common Ground Workshop. Practice directors Mark Sciberras and Jack Pannell undertook the project in 2019. The brief described the refresh and extension of the property to suit the needs and tastes of its owner, who lived across the street – mixing an industrial aesthetic with the calming, streamlined down volumes of minimalist architecture and 21st century modern conveniences.

When Common Ground Workshop took over, the worksite included the original structure, as well as initial fit-up work and partial construction of the building’s superstructure at all levels, undertaken by Studio Idealyc. The brief called for the architects to work with the concrete superstructure walls, concrete stairs and floors in the living areas, and the construction of roof dormers with a pocket balcony concept, and to develop a complete package interior and exterior design proposals that met the needs of the owner, both spatially and stylistically.

The house extends over four levels; two floors of living spaces that connect to a suntrap of a garden at the rear of the plot (the ground floor and the basements); and two levels of bedrooms upstairs, including a master bedroom inside the roof extension, with generous adjacent storage space and an en-suite bathroom. Large openings and clean surfaces in light, neutral colors allow natural light to bounce off the walls and reach every corner of the home.

The materials – a combination of concrete, microcement, blackened steel, ash cladding, siding block, Accoya windows and exterior zinc cladding – are mostly left exposed and dominant throughout, in a design that hardly any other decoration. Smooth, neat joinery cladding walls hide clever storage, while flush details ensure nothing detracts from the overall uncluttered feel of this peaceful interior. A calculated roughness offered by some of the materials is offset by the buttery soft feel of others, in a refined balance of utilitarian and warm residential design.

Spitalfields House is the latest in a series of homes from the dynamic east London architecture firm, which champions collaboration across its operations and work. His other output includes The Common – a London architectural café, arts centre, architecture studio and co-working center owned by the firm. §

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