Rather than attach a standard boxy addition to the back, though, Kaneko designed a thrilling angled space. It’s a neighbor-friendly design too.
Addition at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their baby
Location: Wanstead, east London
Size: The space is 33 by 14 feet (10 by 4.2 meters); the extended part is 19 feet (5.7 meters) long.
Designers: Tom Kaneko and Pippa Murray Design
This addition’s slanting roof design is a clever solution to a handful of issues. “People want plenty of light and space in their extension,” Kaneko says, “but that comes at the expense of having a massive wall for the neighbors to look at.”
Kaneko’s solution is the best of both worlds. “By having lower eaves on the boundary wall and a pitched roof, you have that feeling of space inside, but to your neighbors, the extension is only about [7 feet] high,” he says.
In addition, the pitched roof looks a lot less harsh than a flat-roofed addition. “The original idea was to be neighborly while also achieving more space, but it looks quite gentle, too, so there are other bonuses,” he says.
Oak flooring: Wood and Beyond
Kaneko looked into installing the large steel beam, seen here, within the roof, but it wasn’t feasible. “There are so many funny lines going on here,” he says, laughing. “There isn’t a single right angle in this project. That’s not something you get very often. It’s because the house is on a bend in the road.” Using a post support here would have been an alternative to the exposed roof steel, but the owners wanted a clear view through to the garden.
In terms of aesthetics for the addition, the owners wanted to incorporate lots of wood. Interior designer Pippa Murray then suggested a dark color scheme as a nice contrast to the natural materials. “The owners went for it!” she says. Now, the colors change beautifully, looking bold by day and cozy at night.
“There’s a lot of [glass],” Murray says. “I like the idea of the glass disappearing at night.” Mood lighting is integrated in the paneled wall and the shelving to create a soft, ambient glow.
Paint on plastered walls (left-hand side): Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball
Due to the pitched roof, the interior height at the lowest point of the eaves is lower than typical head height. “This was another restriction, so we fitted units along that external wall where head height isn’t an issue,” Kaneko says.
The cabinets have oak veneer fronts that are dyed black. “The wood has an open grain, which you can see even when it’s treated with a black stain,” Murray says. As a contrast, the countertop is polished granite.
Kitchen construction: Peter Martin
A clever cantilevered shelf system runs the length of this wall; shelves are simply inserted into the slots. “We added a few posh bits, such as the knife block, but the rest is just simple oak boards in different sizes,” Kaneko says. “You can move them or add more shelves if you like.”
“The owners mentioned [furniture designer and a father of the American craft movement] George Nakashima as a style reference — and he happens to be my design hero!” Murray says. “I designed the sofas as two-pieces, and they were handmade from native elm by Alex White in Clapton [east London] from four massive slabs joined in a simple, Japanese-inspired construction. The cushions were specially made by Jess Tiller.”
Remnants of the elm were used to create the two stools at the breakfast bar (shown in the first photo).
“It was quite a dark space, and if we’d carried the black and blue colors into here, it would have felt a bit closed in,” Murray says. “So we used white as a contrast and to bring the light levels right up.”
Bookcase construction: Peter Martin
He replaced the existing red tiles with dark slate, using it on the loft and the addition roof below. “I just tried to keep it as discreet as possible,” he says.