Points of difference

Arts & Crafts architecture is given a dynamic, contemporary twist with this new-build family home that takes inspiration from local surroundings

Designed by Robert Hirschfield Architects

From the architects:

Robert Hirschfield Architects has designed an elegant new-build family home in Mill Hill, North London, offering a dynamic and contemporary take on the classic Arts & Crafts style.

The architectural language and spatial configuration of the home takes inspiration from the local surroundings, where a complex topography provided a strong position from which to start designing. 

The intricate detailing and geometry of the exterior take inspiration from several Arts and Crafts houses which surround the site, translating this classic style in contemporary fashion through the use of vertical hanging tiles, roofs with low eaves, dormer windows, gable roofs and part-rendered elevations.

Detailing is purposefully minimal and clinical, using a handmade linear brick at the base of the building to not only provide a more contemporary interpretation of brickwork, but to also bring a higher element of craft and quality to the project. 

A central gable provides a clear way-finding to the front door and, at either side, the building line is then set back, responding to the existing footprint and neighbouring buildings. 

“One of the biggest challenges of the project was rationalising the significant change in level from the street to the rear garden,” says practice director Robert Hirschfield. 

“A key design decision made early on was to partially excavate the front section of the site, so that the entrance point was lowered to alleviate the access problems created by the existing steep driveway," he says. 

"This also allowed the building itself to be stepped in section, responding to the topography of the site without increasing the height of the roof-line.”

The sloping nature of the site also facilitated the decision to split the home into half stories, connected by a helical staircase and series of bridge links. 

At the centre of the home is a unique triple height entrance hall, with a six-metre tall angular window that sits within a splayed opening, providing a theatrical connection between inside and out and flooding the interior with natural light. 

The front door sits within a recessed entrance porch, wrapped in the same dark linear brick as the front elevation, which allows for a classic ‘compression-and-release’ effect as guests pass through into the entrance hall and first experience the triple height void.

The large central core also allows for vertical circulation through the building, linking the front and back levels at various half landings. 

The bridges offer dynamic views through the house, and within this arrangement the property has achieved an outstanding level of spatial variety and sequence. 

The contrast between these spaces and their material finishing adds visual interest and engagement while moving through the house, animating the movement of light throughout the day.

The interior palette utilises a mix of whites, greys and softer tones, with textures chosen to contrast with the external roughness of dark brick against white render, and offset with brighter tones in the form of various light fittings and paint finishes in several rooms, including the entrance hall, WC and master ensuite. 

The newly configured property provides the family with an arrangement suited to open plan living, while still offering key spaces that can be closed off for privacy. 

The house has been described by the owner as being “a comfortable, luxury family home while accomplishing the brief in an elegant, mature and intelligent way".

Credit list

Structural engineer
Quantity surveyor
Marstan BDB
AV consultant
Thinking Bricks
Vande Moortel
Front door
RK Door Systems
Internal floors
Selo Doors
Kitchen handles
Dowsing & Reynolds
Electric blinds
Grants Blinds
Lighting pendants
Curiousa & Curiousa
Handles in study/TV room /living room
Turnstyle Designs
Interior designer
Studio Suss
Services engineer
Carnell Warren
Lighting consultant
London Lightworks
External windows and doors
External paving
Timber floors
Kitchen benchtop
Ensuite stone work
Artisans of Devizes
Stair handrail
Handrail Creations
Cloakroom/stairwell lighting
J Adams & Co

Designed by: Robert Hirschfield Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Philip Vile

13 Nov, 2022

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