Forest Hill home goes from “damp, mouldy structure” to award-winning “jewellery box” of design

Forest Hill home goes from "damp, mouldy structure" to award-winning "jewellery box" of design

The award recognises innovative home improvement projects that retain buildings’ original architectural character.

A Forest Hill home once dubbed “a damp, mouldy structure” has won a London-wide architectural competition.

The three-story 1960s terraced house on Little Brownings, Dulwich Estate, scooped New London Architecture’s (NLA’s) ‘Home of the Year’ prize on Thursday May 19.

Part of the ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ competition, the award recognises innovative home improvement projects that retain buildings’ original architectural character.

Margaret Bursa Founding Partner at Archmongers, the architectural firm behind the project said: “The client came from a Victorian house and wanted the opposite and mid-century homes have got really good volumes, spaces and amounts of light.

“The house was definitely in need of renovation. All the plumbing and electrics needed refitting and the area to the front of the house was a very damp mouldy structure” 

Credit: French + Tye

Archmongers designed the front extension to maintain “the rhythm of the terrace” by complimenting the original terracotta brickwork with a blue brick facade and paving.

Described by judges as a “jewellery box of design features”, the home kept its original white metal railings and gate posts, which helped inspire the structure of the new roof extension. 

The kitchen features Carrara marble worktops and a bespoke, pink semi-circular concrete counter with steel frame legs.

Credit: French + Tye

The new staircase has a balustrade design of vertical columns, and solid panels, that nod to the original. An ash handrail with brass connectors give it a contemporary twist.

The first floor bedroom, now a study, has been fitted with a large folding door, operated using the brass handle’s discreet mechanism, which allows the room to be either an open or private space. 

The bathroom and second floor areas have been adapted to fit the slope of the roof, creating more air and light. 

Credit: French + Tye

With the property located on the Dulwich Estate conservation area, Archmongers were restricted by strict rules defining the scope of house alterations.

Margaret said: “It was quit challenging in that the unusual thing was that the extension was at the front whereas they’re normally at the back. So the space was quite tight and there were lots of constraints.”

The Dulwich Estate charity, which manages Dulwich Estate, has a scheme of management which ensures changes to original plans “protect the character of the area”.

In 2019 Archmongers, who specialise in mid-century building refurbishment, claimed second prize in an NLA competition for a garage extension on Cooks Road, Kennington.