Knox Bhavan transforms Victorian villa in London into "low-energy forever home"

Love Walk II is a Victorian villa in London that has been retrofitted and extended by architecture studio Knox Bhavan to create a home in which its owners can comfortably grow older.

Located in the conservation area of Camberwell Grove, Love Walk II was updated to improve both the habitability and energy efficiency of its “uninsulated and uneven” interiors, Knox Bhavan said.

Exterior view of Love Walk II in London
Love Walk II by Knox Bhavan improves the home’s habitability and energy efficiency

“The brief was clear – to bring the Victorian Villa up to modern building standards, with light, space and functionality in abundance,” Knox Bhavan told Dezeen.

“We set out to deliver a scheme that balanced a contemporary extension with a retrofitted historic building, realising a low-energy forever home.”

View from hallway within Love Walk II in LondonView from hallway within Love Walk II in London
The studio created a continuous level across the ground floor for accessibility

The studio’s main interventions involved creating continuous level access across the ground floor’s living space to improve accessibility and circulation while adding an extension that opens to the garden.

A stair to the upper level has been moved back by two metres, allowing the existing hallway, study and living room to be connected in an open arrangement. They are separated by flush-mounted doors that allow them to be folded back when needed.

View of study within home renovation by Knox Bhavan ArchitectsView of study within home renovation by Knox Bhavan Architects
Flush-mounted doors can be folded back

This design ensures “clear access for wheelchair users, with comfortable clearance to move about the ground floor” in the future as the owners grow older, the studio explained.

Linked to these spaces is a kitchen in the single-storey modern extension, which features a green roof, striking red-steel columns, timber joists and a sliding glass wall that opens into the garden.

“To the rear of the building there is a clear delineation between new and old,” Knox Bhavan said.

“The long-room extension with exposed steel and Douglas fir beams is unashamedly contemporary, whilst respectful of the main house it serves.”

Living space within home extension by Knox Bhavan ArchitectsLiving space within home extension by Knox Bhavan Architects
Red-steel columns and timber joists feature in the home’s extension

A roof light brings natural light into the space and a copper-clad brise soleil is cantilevered off the green roof to provide shade below and protect the extension from overheating.

As part of the project, the upstairs bedroom and bathrooms have also been remodelled. Three bedrooms, an en-suite dressing room, a family bathroom and a reading landing now sit alongside each other.

Love Walk II by Knox Bhavan ArchitectsLove Walk II by Knox Bhavan Architects
A new extension opens onto the garden

These are “all looking down into the garden and onto the planted roof that has become a haven for bees and bugs,” the studio said.

A former breezeblock garage has been replaced with a two-storey side extension that is finished in brick and set back from the main elevation.

View into London home extension by Knox Bhavan ArchitectsView into London home extension by Knox Bhavan Architects
A copper-clad brise soleil provides shade on the interior

The roof and existing floors and walls were reinsulated as part of a wider strategy to reduce the home’s energy consumption.

The studio also installed double-glazed sash windows alongside solar panels that help power an air-source heat pump that provides heating and hot water.

In addition, Knox Bhavan re-used existing elements to minimise the project’s embodied carbon, including bricks taken from the demolished rear section of the building that were cleaned and reused in the garden wall.

Exterior view of Love Walk II extension in LondonExterior view of Love Walk II extension in London
Red and green hues were used to striking effect

Knox Bhavan is a London studio founded in 1995 led by Simon Knox and Sasha Bhavan.

Its other recent projects include an apartment in a converted London School and a concealed pool house in a grassy mound in Kent.

The photography is by Edmund Sumner.

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