.8 Downs Road, London E5
Being one of the clients, this project offered the perfect opportunity to test some long running ideas, and also seemed to epitomise the fundamental principles which led us to establish Re-form in Spring 2010. The existing property was a typical two bed flat formed from the conversion of a period London townhouse in the 1980’s. We bought the property as a young family of three, at the limit of our financial capabilities, and with it acquired a number of typical limitations: a tiny second bedroom (with boiler), a tiny internal kitchen, a tiny windowless bathroom, very little storage, no external space, zero insulation across all exposed elements and very low fluctuating water pressure. When our family grew from three to four something had to give.
Planning Approval was gained for the conversion of the existing attic to accommodate two new bedrooms (for the boys), a large, light filled family bathroom with separate bath and shower, a purpose built family office together with substantial integrated storage. The reconfiguration of the existing floor included the removal of the existing second bedroom, allowing a much larger open plan kitchen, living and dining space. The removal of the existing internal kitchen enabled a large landing/utility/cloakroom area (which has had a profound impact on time taken to get out of the door with two young boys). The removal of the existing bathroom on this floor made way for the new stair, but also offered a significant amount of additional space to the main bedroom together with an en-suite WC/washroom.
In addition to the spatial remodeling of the spaces, numerous other material improvements have been undertaken: new double glazed timber sash windows in place of existing metal framed top hung casements to front elevation; new double glazed composite windows in place of existing single glazed Crittal windows to rear elevation; insulation to all external walls and roof space; new timber decked roof terrace with glazed balustrade; new isolated pumped water supply; new column radiators throughout.
The development has enabled our family to grow without having to leave our flat, neighbours, school and nursery, and has equipped us to stay exactly where we are for many years to come, something that could prove to be invaluable when it comes to applying for secondary schools for our eldest son (we are in the inner catchment for the Mossbourne Academy). We now have a much better quality of day to day life: routines and programmes now actually work; we have views over the Hackney roofscapes to the Olympic site and Canary Wharf; we have fantastic panoramas of the night sky from both the roof terrace and also the boy's bunk beds. We still don’t have a garden, but with Downs Park just a minute away, together with our roof terrace and wall garden, we can at least justify this fact.