We did it our way
Husband-and-wife architects David Liddicoat and Sophie Goldhill, 35, are seen here in their minimalist kitchen with statement pendant light, built their home on a long-neglected little plot in a street behind King’s Cross station, buying the land for £95,000.
Images: Francesco Guidicini, Tom Gildon and Keith Collie
The award-winning architects were broke after buying the land and had to count every last black brick before they began their boxy home. “We worked out how we could do it with one truckload - 30,000 bricks. We couldn’t afford two truckloads,” says David. The decorative slab of veined white-and-grey marble is an extravagance that pays off in style terms.
Light's just right
Because the walls are exposed brick, the electrics are surface-mounted for an industrial look, as here in the master bedroom, where a big picture window makes the very most of available natural light.
The kitchen units were made on site by the joiner, and light bulbs on coloured flexes dangle down over the sink. This is part of one big, main lower-floor room, with a fabulous picture window at the end and another window on the side. Exposed deep ceiling joists enhance the sense of height and the floor is polished poured concrete with underfloor heating.
The site had a rotting single garage on it when the couple bought it and two applications to build a house had already been rejected, as planners considered the plot too small. A neighbour offered Sophie and David an extra slice of land for £20,000 - just enough to make a difference. Now the house sits well in the space.
A real-life glass ceiling
The main bathroom, upstairs, has a small Japanese soak bath, and a striking ribbed glass wall. Light floods in from a wide band of glass, pictured, that spans the roof. It’s a lovely, bold touch in a house where the owners can take great pride in having done much of the work themselves.
Carefully chosen planting lends the entrance a splash of colour. The build budget was so tight that the house is made largely of brick and timber, but with plenty of glass and unusual detailing in marble and granite, ensuring a high-quality look that is in keeping with the nearby houses.
The couple came up with the idea of a semi-basement, plus an upper floor, in a boxy, flat-roofed house that was modest in height. “The planners liked the fact that we wanted to do something special,” says David. The house is fairly straightforward: a double skin of black, glazed Dutch bricks, with insulation inside.
A house of contrasts
The stark white concrete stairs work strikingly well against the black brick walls, with a splash of wonderful, vivid blue to tie it all in. This stylish, brilliant little house is a lesson in what can be achieved with ingenuity, guts and dedication - even when the planners think it can't be done.