Roof Development in Chiswick: the Transformation of a Victorian Property in the Bedford Park Conservation Area
For this project we built an extra storey on top of a Victorian mansion block. The building is located within the Bedford Park conservation area. The new floor was added to a flat on the 4th floor of the mansion block.
The original property is a top floor flat in a four-storey residential block which is part of a residential estate developed in the late 1870s and 1880s. This building is a later addition to the several buildings in the area in the Queen Anne style.
The project required a very involved planning permission process, where the local authorities required, amongst other things, very detailed heritage reports and specific evidence on the impact of the alterations on the appearance of the building.
A house in the countryside on top of a Victorian mansion block
Our client is a professional who spends most of the year abroad, and wanted the comfort of a house with a green outdoor space, combined with the security of the penthouse in a mansion block. With this extension, we added a large sitting room, a shower room with a sauna and a large green outdoor space as a terrace at the back of the building.
The outcome of the project: a suspended garden overlooking the rooftops of Chiswick, with ultra realistic artificial glass, a special corner for BBQ, glass for both the balustrade and the doors that occupy the whole wall with a levelled perfectly flat threshold.
It’s like lounging in the back garden of a house in the countryside.
houseUP performed the design and build, specifically designing the structural alterations, which are a very sensitive factor in the refurbishment of period buildings.
After the design, the implementation of the alterations was a very delicate matter.
Often in a building like that everything seems ok until you open up and start moving things around. A crucial piece of work was for houseUP to apply further reinforcements to the structure, according to what we found while the work progressed, with the formal approval of our structural engineer.
In the process, our in-house structural engineer was always on site and building control officers approved the work in progress.
Access and other project management challenges
There are 16 flats in the mansion block. A residents association makes sure that rigorous methods drive the management of the works. We followed a strict method statement to minimise the impact of the works. houseUP was in constant communication with all the residents. This way we made sure they were always up to date with the progress. Direct communications allowed the residents to share any concern in real time.
The access to the top floor was particularly difficult because the residents required that the main stairwell could not be used at any time by the construction team, apart from the personnel accessing and leaving the site.
All materials were lifted to the top floor using hoists from the scaffoldings at the rear of the building. A very narrow access to the rear made it impossible for larger vans and lorries to reach the area.
Craning was also necessary during the project. In fact we used a crane to lift heavy and fragile items, like the large glass doors for the grass terrace. The permeable resin bound paving, installed recently, could be damaged by heavy machinery. Plus, the operations were difficult because of the narrow access to the rear of the building.
The project included also the refurbishment of the whole flat, and in particular the following:
- new sash windows in line with the requirements in the conservation area
- installation of a new timber flooring throughout
- a new kitchen
- 4 new bathrooms
- a sauna
- integrated speakers
- voice controlled heating, lights, sound systems and blinds
We loved working with Andrew, the owner, because he gave us the opportunity to use so much of our expertise in property refurbishments and even do some new things for the first time.
What Andrew says about us and his roof conversion
Vincenzo and the team were enthusiastic, creative and engaged. They brought the project in on budget and I’m happy to recommend them. Their approach of having in-house structural engineering really helped make savings by integrating the disciplines involved with design and construction.
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Gen is managing director and chief of digital strategy at houseUP. She has a background in information security and product management in tech startups.
houseUP is a construction company in London, specialised in high end residential and commercial projects.