The home’s existing plan prevented McLaren.Excell from opening spaces up vertically – or so they thought. The team improvised in the kitchen by dropping the floor down rather than raising the ceiling, and integrating skylights on either side. Sailing between the skylights is a concrete raft punctuated by bespoke light fittings designed by McLaren.Excell. “The concrete raft was designed to homogenise the many ceilings levels and create a dramatic, textured finish against the soft oak joinery,” associate architect Alexander Streatfeild says. The stair balustrade’s raw, blackened steel diverges from the harshness of the concrete and the softness of the oak, forming a new material entity of its own. Brickwork – both internally and externally – was chosen to reflect the existing Victorian house.