A Sublime Renovation Fills a London Terrace House With Sunlight and Garden Views

Alan Macdonald (42) and his wife, Joia de Sa (40), bought their Victorian terrace property in Stroud Green, North London, in early 2018, with the intention of transforming it into a welcoming, family home with a contemporary and streamlined interior for them and their two children, Elsa (4) and Theo (1). 

Two years after the sale went through, and with planning permission in place for a rear extension, they got in touch with Joe Magri and Alice Williams at Magri Williams design studio to take a fresh look at the plans. The design duo began by discussing the different options with Alan and Joia. After a thorough design period, they drew up a new concept and submitted minor amendments to the planning department, which were approved in the autumn of 2020, with building work starting early January 2021.

Contractor JK Construction began by extending the rear of the property to create space for a large kitchen/dining area. The extension takes the form of two pitched blocks whose angled roofs match those of the original Victorian building. The exterior is clad in handmade Petersen Tegl bricks that offer tonal variations in color as a nod to the existing London stock. Internally, an angled roof light runs the length of the extension, mirroring the same angle and flooding the space with sunshine. A large, square window frames views out to the garden, and a large pivot door provides access to the patio.

The design team gave careful consideration to the material palette in this new space. Insulation and underfloor heating is topped with a warm-beige concrete floor, which reflects the hues of the external brick. Bespoke oak kitchen cabinetry by Tim Gaudin, which incorporates plenty of hidden storage, adds warmth and character, alongside an oak-clad timber portal that signifies the junction between the old and new parts of the house. “It’s a really cool and interesting feature,” says Alan. “I love being able to look at the view from the old part of the house through the new extension, and out into the garden beyond.”

The design team removed the wooden floor boards in the living room, fitted insulation and underfloor heating, and then replaced the boards. A white primer tops all the wood flooring in the home, and the walls are painted in Paper Library Clean White throughout.

A new WC is located under the staircase, and each of the home’s existing bathrooms has been given a fresh lease of life. “We wanted them to have a more grown-up feel,” says Alan. Both bathrooms are finished in limestone floor tiles, and handmade square tiles are fitted around the bathroom sinks and the bath surround. Sleek, white tapware finishes off the contemporary, minimalist scheme.

Reflecting on the property since wrapping up construction in May 2021, the family is really happy with the finished design. “We love living in it, and we feel we achieved a perfectly balanced, contemporary house which is both peaceful and minimalist, as well as warm and inviting,” says Alan. “Joe and Alice really stretched our thinking in terms of design, coming up with ideas we would never have previously considered.”

Floor Plan of Albert Road by Magri Williams