The project comprised the renovation and extension to a Georgian Villa in Sciennes Gardens in Edinburgh. The late Katie Horseman, a noted sculptress, had previously occupied the house. In Victorian times the house had been occupied by a minister, who had added bay windows to the front and a small chapel to the north.
The clients had purchased the house in 1999 attracted by the large walled garden and the location of the house within walking distance of the centre of Edinburgh. The house was in a state of near dilapidation and many of the original features had been removed.
The house is unique in Sciennes Gardens in that rather than address the street, it faces west into the large walled garden. The house was dark had a breeze block extension and the south elevation was a blank gable wall.
Malcolm Fraser Architects were chosen to both restore and extend the house, after the clients had visited the Poetry Library in Edinburgh and admired the Architects work there, particularly the expansive glass panels and the use of untreated oak cladding.
The existing house was sympathetically restored and repaired - work included reslating the roof, clearing out the solum and relaying floor joists on the ground floor, reconfiguring the layout of the rooms on the ground floor, the replacement of the existing stair, repair and replacement of the windows and earlier structural faults brought about when the bay windows were added were also corrected.. The house was reserviced including under-floor heating throughout the ground floor, a sophisticated condensing boiler runs the system and thinks for itself.
The clients were keen to extend the house in a modern way incorporating a room that could open up to the garden in contrast with the house. In addition the clients required a shower room suitable for use by a disabled friend, a utility room, a wine store, and a large kitchen.
The existing extension was demolished and replaced with a long service block containing the utility room, the shower room, wine store and the kitchen, which opens onto a small herb garden to the south. The new garden room was placed on the south elevation of the house. This room opens up to the west and south and is hidden from the street by the existing house. A dramatic projecting roof allows the large sliding door to be opened in all weathers, protecting the room from the elements.
Materials used externally are untreated oak, stainless steel roof and flashings, and glass. Internally a similarly limited palette of slate to the floor, rotary cut birch veneered plywood kitchen doors and shelves, and lacquered ply to doors and wall panels in the service corridor, was used.