Best of est | London Heritage Renovations

  • Powerscroft Road by Daytrip Studio

    Five UK designers, five heritage-listed homes, five new leases on life: here are our favourite London heritage renovations.

    Walking down the streets of present-day London, remnants of the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian eras are impossible to miss. Century-old houses wear their heritage stripes with pride, symbolising what have come to be pivotal moments in architectural history. Renovating these homes demands restraint and stringent consideration; the new must sit within the old; the past must inform the present. In this Best of est feature, Robert London Design, Daytrip Studio, McLaren Excell, Thomas-McBrien Architects and Al-Jawad Pike show us how to do precisely that. 

    Barrowgate Road by Robert London Design

    Located on the highly sought after Barrowgate Road in Chiswick, London, the Robert London Design team have sensitively redesigned a period home through a ground-level extension while restoring its heritage features. The result is a light-filled and elegant family home that reflects the holistic ethos of the design studio: practical, intuitive and honest.

    Steel frame French doors mark the transition from old to new, allowing the new open-plan living space to be closed off from the bedrooms when hosting guests. Stepping into the drop-down kitchen, living and dining room feels akin to a breath of fresh air, greeting you with a full-height garden view. The architects’ bespoke solid ash dining table informs the rear extension’s sober and textural colour palette; Jura Beige limestone, solid ash Dinesen flooring and soft linen sheers.

    Islington House by McLaren Excell

    Islington House cites an extension and refurbishment of a heritage-listed Georgian townhouse in central London. McLaren Excell have approached the home as a case study in blurring the boundary between inside and outside – concrete seamlessly transitions from the monumental rear extension into the interior flooring and joinery, formulating a cohesive, easy-to-digest design narrative.

    The impetus behind the extension was to create a contradiction to the existing townhouse without disrupting spatial hierarchy and flow. Being a heritage-listed site, McLaren Excell had to overcome several structural constraints, the outcome of which was implementing a split-level layout with an upper dining area and a lower kitchen area.

    The concrete framing is not only a practical intervention but a means of connecting both levels visually. Custom timber-framed doors and exposed timber joists offset the harshness of the concrete, forging a material match that feels mutual and implicit. Moving further into the extension, this timber is realised in the dining table and kitchen cabinetry – adhering to the cohesive, easy-to-digest design language.

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    Islington House by McLaren Excell | Photography by Rory Gardiner

    Powerscroft Road by Daytrip Studio

    Daytrip Studio reinvented this five-storey Victorian townhouse in a vibrant corner of east London through a contemporary lens. What was once dark and uninviting is now light and serene, signalling the home’s transition from obsolete to modern. Daytrip Studio’s intelligent use of materials and appreciation for the building’s history is what ensured the result honoured its humble origins. 

    The existing basement of Powerscroft Road was excavated and repurposed into an open-plan kitchen and living area that gracefully spills out onto the garden. Like the rest of the home, the new kitchen is honest and simple, derived from a refined material palette of lime-wash paint, raw Douglas fir and honed Evora marble. Natural light enters through clever openings and carefully positioned skylights, redefining a previously dark, uninhabitable space.

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    Powerscroft Road by Daytrip Studio | Photography by Jake Curtis and Elliot Sheppard

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    Powerscroft Road by Daytrip Studio | Photography by Jake Curtis and Elliot Sheppard

    Elsley Road by Al-Jawad Pike

    Elsley Road by Al-Jawad Pike comprises a complete overhaul and rear extension of a Victorian terraced house in Wandsworth, London. A light-filled, all-grey counterpart has superseded the original ground floor kitchen exuding a distinct contemporary vigour. A linear aperture marks the transition from the new kitchen back into the main house, where a reconfigured first floor and loft bedroom have been introduced.

    The soft greys of the kitchen are set against a striking terracotta facade, which forms a natural digression from the home’s original brick exterior. Continuity of materials counterbalances this colour contrast; concrete floors flow into a dug-out concrete patio that steps up into a garden.

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    Elsley Road by Al-Jawad Pike | Photography by Ståle Eriksen

    Dollis Hill Avenue by Thomas-McBrien Architects

    In Dollis Hill, north-west London, a 1930s heritage home has received a complete refurbishment and extension from Thomas-McBrien Architects. The slight slope of the existing site meant that a single-storey split-level extension was favoured, as it would guarantee the incorporation of the rear garden. This indoor-outdoor vernacular is defined by large sliding doors, high ceilings and full-width concrete steps, providing a sense of ‘everyday grandeur’.

    Inside, a connection with nature is expressed through light wood, muted-grey stone, and mortar washed bricks. Combined, these materials put a warm, understated stamp on the interiors, reflecting the client’s request for a relaxing environment. Adding to this, a sheltered alcove creates a comfortable seat to read, work or simply look out onto the garden. 

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