Back in 1981, our clients created a modest self-built house called Willowbrook named after the plot's surrounding trees and brook. They commissioned Paul Archer Design to extend and rejuvenate the house after many years as a rental property.
Architect: Paul Archer Design Location: Hertfordshire, UK Year: 2017 Photography: Nick Guttridge, Matt Chisnall
From the architect: Rebuilt, Willowbrook is a spacious and light filled house, offering wide views connected to the garden. The interiors now offer flexible living arrangements, with additional floor space added to the side wing. The tall spaces have been designed to allow adaption for future use; in the main double height space, the sliding partitions close to form new private areas to accommodate guests. Roof lights and double height glazing make the most of the added volumes, flooding the tall internal spaces with natural light.
A sculptural red steel bridge leads into the house, spanning across a lower courtyard under the driveway. On entrance, glimpses of the surrounding greenery can be seen through the large windows at the rear. The front hallway has been relocated to form a central spine to the house, allowing all the rooms on the upper floors to be accessed more readily.
Rebuilding Willowbrook corrected existing failing elements discovered on site, improving the structure and upgrading its sustainable value. Original and reclaimed bricks were reused with a mixture of new bricks added into the mix. It preserves memories of the earlier self-build, while delivering modern spaces that exceed the client's expectations.