Adding a contemporary extension to this retro house designed by XUL Architecture


retro house with contemporary extension by xul architecture

North London architects XUL Architecture were tasked with renovating this three-story family home to completely enlarge the rear of the house while still allowing for plenty of natural light. The homeowners of this Hampstead retro house had a clear vision for the design of their interiors and commissioned XUL Architecture to design a space that could bring these ideas to fruition.

By removing the existing conservatory, a new rear contemporary extension could be added that extended to replace the conservatory footprint and adjacent to it where a bay window protruded into the garden. XUL wanted to create a contemporary intervention, respecting the age of the existing home, so they integrated a strip of glass that separated the original building from the contemporary extension. This had an added benefit of allowing natural light to flow into the main living areas while also providing a clear visual separation between the old and new.

The black steel frame contrasted against the colour of the red clay brick façade and glass sliding doors create a frame around the new living space as it leads seamlessly into the garden. The house wraps around an outside dining space which then leads up a few steps into the landscaped garden with evergreen plants softening the bold black and red from the house. The furthest corner of the contemporary extension opens completely with sliding glass doors, allowing the family to move from inside to outside during the warm summer months, and framing the greenery from inside during the colder winter days.

A clever tip from XUL is to make use of darker areas in the home for rooms that do not need, or would benefit, from being away from natural light. An important aspect of the renovation was the addition of a scullery leading from the kitchen. This space serves as a second kitchen, allowing the homeowners to hide messy cooking and prep work from the main living areas.

The boot room also did not require natural light and provides a space to decompress, unload shopping, disrobe coats and shoes before entering the main living space, ideal when entertaining guests! This room is used for storing outdoor gear and footwear and is a useful space to have near the entrance of the house.

The gym was moved to the front of the house, which can double as an office space for those ‘working-from-home’ moments. This space is not connected to the other rooms in the house, providing a sense of privacy and separation for those who use it.

Upstairs, the master bedroom was moved to the back of the house, with a large walk-in wardrobe and ensuite. The previous study was taken over by the gym, so this space was converted into a guest room with a shower room.

For the twin girls, two en-suite bedrooms with exactly the same layout were added on the second floor, with roof light bathrooms as well. Additionally, a dormer was added to the second floor to mirror the existing window balance the front elevation, creating more harmony from the front aspect of the house.

The previous owners had already completed a loft conversion, which was not altered as part of this renovation. The sumptuous and retro-inspired interiors were the vision of the homeowner who utilised every surface and area to create a family home that the family can enjoy for many generations to come.


For more information, to view XUL Architecture’s portfolio or to make an enquiry please visit



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