When John and Kate Cameron had been seeking to downsize from their Victorian household house in a suburb of Edinburgh after their youngsters left house, they determined to go for an actual change: a Eighties brutalist-style brick home in a suburb near the town centre.
The couple knew and liked the home – in-built 1982 by Scottish architect Douglas Abrahams for his circle of relatives, and set inside a walled backyard in one of many metropolis’s most picturesque suburbs – because the earlier homeowners had been members of the family who had lived in it for the reason that mid-80s. However for all its character and attraction, it didn’t swimsuit the way in which they lived.
The format, significantly ground-floor residing areas, was warren-like, with compartmentalised rooms (such because the eating room and kitchen, which had been separated by a serving hatch), convoluted corridors and strange stage modifications. And with few home windows to the south the home felt darkish and smaller than it was. The bogs had been additionally dated and there was an extended, slim sunroom on the primary flooring that wasn’t actually used.
In order that they determined to radically rework it. “The principle concept was to modernise and adapt it with out shedding the texture of the unique home,” says Kate. “The proportions had been designed round a smaller individual than John, so we eliminated among the uncommon stage modifications and stair heights. And we wished to maximise gentle and views to the backyard.”
They enlisted Edinburgh-based architect Jens Bergmark, with whom they’d labored on their earlier home. “The problem was to take care to protect and refine the character of the home whereas reworking it in fairly a radical approach,” says Bergmark. “So, rationalising the areas, eliminating all of the passages, corridors and cabinets, and enhancing the format.
Bergmark’s answer was principally to make the home extra open plan, to create a smoother movement. He lifted or lowered the flooring in sure areas in order that the extent modifications disappeared, and added an extension with an open-plan eating/kitchen space: this overlooks and encloses a part of the south-facing backyard, forming a sheltered L-shaped courtyard with a slabbed patio space, edge planting and a much-used pizza oven. On the primary flooring, the previous sunroom was transformed into an en suite toilet and dressing space for the main bedroom.
Inspiration for the interiors got here from the unique home, with an emphasis on uncovered brick. The brick that got here down within the demolition was reused to clad the brand new timber-frame backyard extension.
Bergmark added gentle oak flooring, changing the previous brick flooring of the lounge to melt the house, and moved authentic bespoke cupboards and shelving to new areas of the home, primarily the eating room, to swimsuit the brand new format. Inherited furnishings, equivalent to a set of Georgian eating chairs, mix fortunately with fashionable designer items together with a classic Ikea desk and lightweight fittings from Catalog Interiors. In addition they discovered room for upcycled armchairs and eating chairs reupholstered by Kate.
One of many key options of the unique home was a two-storey self-contained flat to the left of the principle entrance. Though related to the principle home, the small, one-bedroom pad might perform as separate residing quarters, with its personal kitchen, residing space and loo.
“Its front room missed the principle entrance to the home,” says Kate. This created privateness points, so Bergmark flipped the entire granny flat the other way up, with the kitchen and front room upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs, looking of the home within the different route, away from the principle entrance. “There’s much more privateness now,” she says.
The flat proved extraordinarily helpful through the pandemic, when it grew to become John’s workplace. “He can lock the door to it on the weekend and never return in till Monday,” says Kate. “We additionally stayed in it whereas work was happening in the principle home.” The granny flat is now self-contained lodging for guests.
As a part of the renovation, the power effectivity of the home has been vastly improved, with extra insulation and triple-glazed home windows. “Opening the home up extra to the south has additionally elevated its photo voltaic achieve,” says Bergmark. “The home is so heat and environment friendly, gentle and vibrant,” provides Kate. “We sit outdoors far more than we might have imagined.”
Not solely is the home ideally suited for post-pandemic working, it’s additionally a canny instance of updating and refurbishment, in the end preserving a captivating architectural curio. “This mission is a couple of light contact,” says Bergmark. “It’s about modifying what you’ve acquired and never making an enormous assertion. It’s not grandiose. If it seems seamless, that’s a praise.”