A striking new build home in Plaistow, East London has been designed by architects Office S&M. Completed in just six months for £205,000, the young architects worked in conjunction with an equally young developer, Isla Kennedy of My property and Home, to create Salmen House, a rental home at low-cost that favours generosity of space, light and personality.
Architect: Office S&M
Client: My Property and Home
Location: Newham, London
Completion: December 2017
Area: 87 sqm
Contractor: Catalin London Ltd
Structural Engineer: Structuremode
Photography: French + Tye
From the architect: The three bed, three bath 87sqm house sits on an unassuming mid-century terrace and immediately catches the eye due to it’s colourful millennial pink and lush green exterior. This use of colour is key to Office S&M’s ethos as a practice to create individual architecture that stands out from the everyday, and challenges preconceptions of London’s typically dire rental market.
Breaking further away from the biscuit-brickwork of contemporary London design trends, Office S&M chose a stippled render and textured terrazzo for the facade. The materials have a characterful and textural richness to them, that also provide practical benefits such as the polished terrazzo bouncing additional light inside.
Unlike most of London’s property market, quality in design has not come at an exorbitant price. The client’s brief was to produce a low-cost house, which was to be her first new build development after having previously focused on refurbishing flats. Isla Kennedy, Director of My Property & Home started her development career after a serious skiing accident put her in a coma for five weeks, and she used compensation from this to get on the property ladder and into development. During the process of design, Office S&M used cost effective, but high quality materials and design techniques to propose something special on a budget.
The house was built for £205,000 and to a lasting specification where effective choice of materials made for quick construction time. Using a solid wall with a single skin of blockwork meant that the superstructure was erected rapidly, and the entire project took just over six months to complete. By working closely with the structural engineer, Structuremode, to take structure away, rather than adding it in, space was maximised to create four-meter-tall bedrooms, exposed beam ceilings, and a triple height staircase.
Sitting on the end of the street, the acute angle of the corner site is celebrated throughout the design, in both plan and section, to give spaces that accentuate their volume, while disguising the constrained footprint. Each interior space has natural light and views from two directions, and views from, into, and through these corners create multiple outlooks within each room. The horizontal circulation is one continuous view from the cranked front door through to the rear garden, while the staircase opens into a generous triple height space that pulls your gaze upwards.
From the front door, a ground floor bedroom and accessible shower room occupy the front of the house, with an open plan kitchen, living and dining room facing the rear garden. On the first floor are two more bedrooms, one with an en suite, and one next to the main family bathroom. This flexible layout, with an ample bathroom for each bedroom, was designed purposefully to accommodate different types of occupants from young professionals to a nuclear or intergenerational family.
Hugh McEwen, partner at Office S&M, and project architect, commented “We don’t produce quiet architecture, and this house revels in colour and materiality. Salmen House is a study in generosity for its inhabitants and context. and with our background in social and private housing, we brought the best of both worlds to the project. We were able to make the most of the space through careful planning of how the house could be used in the future and want this to be a benchmark for quality rented property in London.”
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