LONDON – Behind a seemingly ordinary Victorian façade in London’s fashionable Islington district, Neil Dusheiko Architects transformed a dilapidated terrace house into a light-filled, fluid living space for a family of five.

‘We had a fantastic working relationship with the client,’ says Neil Dusheiko, the firm’s principal. Having distilled the family’s demand to guiding principles: plenty of natural light, high ceilings, solid materials and making the kitchen the heart of the house, the architects’ subsequent intervention is as straightforward as it is intricate.

The house’s hodgepodge of garden extensions was replaced by a strikingly contemporary addition with a lowered floor level, making this the tallest space in the house, while a carefully folded ceiling ensures spatial continuity. The dining room spills out into the garden, leaving the kitchen to be the centre of the client’s home. Here, generously proportioned skylights not only flood the space with light, but create a direct visual connection with the upper storeys.

Another unique – and unexpected – architectural intervention occurred when a water tank fell through the flat ceiling in the master bedroom, exposing an inverted roof profile. Both the client and architects liked the resulting spatial effect and decided to integrate it into their vision. ‘The curved profile gives the space a soft sensuality,’ Dusheiko explains.

The materials used – a concrete floor that continues from the dining space into the garden, iroko wood for the built-in cupboard, as well Atlantic Lava Stone forming the kitchen counter – provide the necessary solid feel to the light-filled space. ‘I was very fortunate with the client as they had high aspirations for the project. They put the project on hold for almost 2 years while they diligently saved their money so they would not have had to compromise their vision,’ the architect concludes, adding, ‘All in all it was a successful project.’

Photos Dennis Gilbert