‘It always makes people’s jaws drop’
Tall, Victorian terrace houses are notoriously dark. But step inside Colin and Karen Currie’s home in north-west London and you are transported into an exotic space, where light streams in from multiple sources, and where a huge palm fern reaches for the sky from an internal courtyard. So successful is this recent transformation that it is one of the 20 properties that have made it on to the coveted longlist for this year’s RIBA House of the Year award.
Karen and Colin had been living on the upper two floors of the four-storey house, while the lower levels were let as offices. The ground floor had once been a shop, but the store front was bricked up, leaving only small windows. When the office floors became vacant they decided to make use of the whole house, talking to architects about the possibilities for the space.
“It started off as quite a modest project. We just wanted to get rid of the wall between the hall and the ground floor front room, and get some light in,” says Karen.
Most of the architects they consulted suggested turning it back into a Victorian house with the top two floors as
Colin Currie’s decks and record collection, which leads to the internal courtyard with a tree, main