restora­tion piece

Sal­va­tore Di Marco and David Fitzger­ald cre­ated a con­tem­po­rary ex­ten­sion that re­mains true to the spirit of their pe­riod home

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture KATE JA­COBS | Photography RACHAEL SMITH

A strik­ing ex­ten­sion in this east Lon­don semi has cre­ated a light-filled kitchen-diner

There are many things to love about this east Lon­don home, but the sim­ple fact is that its own­ers, Sal­va­tore Di Marco and David Fitzger­ald moved here for the gar­den. ‘ We liked the area, the street and the house it­self,’ ex­plains Sal­va­tore, ‘ but for us the beau­ti­ful, ma­ture gar­den was al­ways the star of the show. How­ever, there was no view of it from the house and you could only ac­cess it through a maze of rooms.’

Hav­ing fought off com­pe­ti­tion to buy the house, the pair honed their ideas for a few years be­fore start­ing work on the lower-ground floor. Open­ing up the gar­den was key, and they also wanted to con­vert the garage into a guest suite, as they of­ten have peo­ple to stay, in­clud­ing their elderly par­ents. ‘It’s the perfect place for them as ev­ery­thing they need is on one floor,’ says Sal­va­tore.

Sal­va­tore and David se­lected Mar­tyn Clarke Ar­chi­tec­ture for the project be­cause of the com­pany’s ex­pe­ri­ence on sim­i­lar jobs and in deal­ing with the lo­cal plan­ning au­thor­i­ties. Its de­signer Richard Pen­man worked with the cou­ple to de­velop their ideas and draw up plans. ‘We wanted to ex­tend the rear of the prop­erty by four me­tres to cre­ate an open-plan kitchen, din­ing area and reading room,’ ex­plains Sal­va­tore. ‘But we felt that a cav­ernous space would not sit well with this early Vic­to­rian prop­erty and wanted to keep a sense of the pro­por­tions of the orig­i­nal house and give each area a clear func­tion. Steps lead­ing up to the reading room would help de­fine this area – plus save ex­ca­va­tion costs.’ In the kitchen, Car­rara mar­ble work­tops and brass de­tail­ing make the ba­sic Ikea units look ul­tra high-end. The guest suites on the on the up­per and lower-ground floors are de­lib­er­ately tucked away, while the util­ity room and of­fice en­trances are dis­guised be­hind a cup­board door and bookshelf re­spec­tively. This en­sures that Sal­va­tore and David can ac­com­mo­date friends and fam­ily, but avoid the sense that they are rat­tling around a huge house when it is just them and their Vic­to­rian bull­dog, Molly.

‘Am­bi­tious as this project was, ev­ery­thing went in­cred­i­bly smoothly,’ says Sal­va­tore. ‘The ar­chi­tects and their builders, NGS Build­ing Ser­vices, were great to work with and very un­der­stand­ing. We moved out for seven months while the work took place as David pre­ferred not to see the house dur­ing all the up­heaval. But I vis­ited the site ev­ery day – watch­ing the trans­for­ma­tion was amaz­ing.’

With the struc­tural work com­plete, the cou­ple could then fo­cus on re­dec­o­rat­ing the up­per floors. De­cid­ing to go bold, they opted for a dra­matic dark inky-blue shade in the double sit­ting room. But they are most pleased with the new ex­ten­sion. ‘We can fi­nally en­joy the gar­den from the house,’ says Sal­va­tore. They also love the view of the house from the lawn, where they can marvel at what has been achieved and how the builders sen­si­tively matched the new brick­work to the old. ‘It has been won­der­ful to add our stamp,’ con­cludes Sal­va­tore, ‘ but we’ve tried to treat the house with re­spect and are aware that we’re just its cur­rent cus­to­di­ans.’

fut u r e p l a ns ‘We’d like to in­ject more colour into the lower-ground floor start­ing with the TV room, and add more con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture through­out’

KITCHEN- DINER Ju­di­cious spend­ing meant that high-street cup­boards were cou­pled with lux­u­ri­ous de­tail­ing. Fea­ture wall painted in Black Blue mod­ern emul­sion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball. Hee bar stools, £155 each, Twen­tytwen­ty­one. NUD con­crete pen­dant light, £68, SCP

4 bath­room this bright and mod­ern scheme that was once part of an un­sightly 1970s garage now ac­com­mo­dates overnight guests. Mike Pro monobloc tap, £199, Cross­wa­ter. sells coun­ter­top basins, from £65. Ver­mont car­rara white work­top, from £179, Bath­store, would suit this scheme

3 guest bed­room this un­fussy, neu­tral scheme is de­signed to suit all overnight vis­i­tors. Try Homes Di­rect 365 for mir­rored cube stor­age units, £140 each. Light elon­gated cop­per ta­ble lamp with dark grey shade, £129, Lite Craft, will suit this set­ting. West Elm sells a se­lec­tion of decorative bot­tles

1& 2 mas­ter bed­room Painted white, the orig­i­nal Vic­to­rian fire­place takes cen­tre stage. Walls painted in Oval Room Blue es­tate emul­sion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball. An­toinette bed, £1,145, Loaf. Hex side ta­ble, £159, West Elm. De­sign Project No. 46 lamp, £65, John Lewis. Patsy mir­ror, £195, Habi­tat

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