House of Books: A modern home in Hampstead, London
London-based architectural practice SHH has completed the House of Books project. Completed in 2015, the property’s name derives from its previous owner, Labour leader Michael Foot, who was known as ‘the old bibliophile’ because of his enormous library of books. The luxury home is located in Hampstead, London, England.
On purchasing the property after Foot’s death, the new owners commissioned SHH to gut and remodel the house entirely, but in a way that was very much in keeping with the spirit of the previous owner. The new interior design is formed therefore around a stunning library structure that runs through all five floors of the property – as the new owners also happened to be complete bibliophiles, with over 100 linear metres of books of their own.
Stuart McLauchlan, SHH associate director, said: “Both the bookcase and the new stair which wraps around it were absolutely central to the new design for the house, forming a top-to-bottom spine, off which all other spaces were then arranged. The property was completely gutted and then re-created behind its traditional frontage to achieve this radical new interior structure, together with a new cedar and zinc side and rear extension to increase floor space. Whilst the house was not listed, it is situated in a conservation area and the retention of the existing façade was a requirement of planning permission terms.
He adds: “We ripped the whole house out behind the façade’ explained Stuart McLauchlan, ‘and built a new steel and timber-frame to sit within the old brick skin and connect it to the existing structure. The space configuration and resulting floors, walls and stair are all new, with the new stair more linear than its predecessor and set to one side in order to create more floor space. The house was extended not only to the rear but also to the side in order to house the ambitious new stair and bookcase concept.”
Images courtesy of SHH / Alastair Lever
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