Gus Alexander Architects


Ockendon Road

When I was asked to help sort out this house, it turned out that my prospective client had bought it from to someone I'd known years previously. She was therefore quite surprised when I was able to tell her what she probably didn’t like about her house before she’d finished describing it.

She had already vastly improved the main living rooms but the previous owner had been a bachelor who liked cooking and had chosen to make the kitchen into something reminiscent of Len Deighton's Action Cookbook. Not only was it tiny, but all the walls were made of bare bricks, and there were big black granite slabs and pine shelving everywhere. The floor had the sort of uneven red tiles you’d expect in a agricultural pub urinal. The bathroom above was worse. And both rooms had very low ceilings.

What was needed was something a good deal more feminine, with a much better connection to the rest of the house, and as much additional light as could be had.

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It took almost as long to persuade Islington that what we wanted to do did not require planning consent as it would have done to apply for it.

Having persuaded them that they needn't trouble themselves, we raised the roof by eighteen inches which we might otherwise have had difficulty doing. Needless to say nobody (apart from us) noticed.

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