To enlarge and modernise the house we introduced a pair of copper mansard roofs that blend into the leafy suburban setting. The strong character and neat proportion of the original building has been retained, though the floor area is nearly doubled, by these additions that are unexpected yet strangely familiar.
The facetted mansards flank the central body to maintain the formal symmetry, like unusual wings to a Classical English country house. Their irregular shape was carefully developed to appear low and unobtrusive from the front, yet more expressive when viewed obliquely or from the private rear garden. The roofs have a dark copper cladding that naturally merges into the tree-line behind the house: allowing the original white facade to stand forth. The diamond-shaped copper shingles have subtly varied colours and a beautiful patina, which catches the light and shimmers like leaves. The malleability of the metal has been exploited to fold the material around every angle of the complex geometry with crisp edges and junctions. Inside, seeming much larger than the external form, there are dramatic tent-like bedrooms with a rooflight at the peak.
The ground floor has also been remodelled and extended, using the language of the existing building, to create an enfilade of living rooms centred on a new double-height hall and stair. These spaces connect directly to terraces and gardens at the rear through a colonnade of openings, which form a plinth to the mansards above.
Initially, the Local Authority refused planning permission at a Committee hearing. However, using our well-reasoned Design Statement, assistance from an experienced planning consultant, and with client support, a successful appeal was lodged. The scheme was built by an excellent local contractor, with details conveyed to their team through traditional drawings but also physical models of the mansards. The copper elements and junctions were made and refined on site with Leicester based metalworkers who have an international reputation.