It began with a modest plan to build a small balcony – and ended in a spectacular glass extension.
The plan to build a balcony on the back of a traditional Victorian semi overlooking the Firth of Tay in Fife ended up as a $200,000, contemporary reinvention of the entire house, complete with a floating glass bay window.
The evolution of Jon and Zanna Christie’s two-storey, three-bedroom home came about following a chat with architects Wil Tunnell and Susie Moss Langfield of WT Architecture. “Wil pointed out that a cold, north-facing balcony might not be the best way to enjoy the view,” Jon says. “So he went away and came up with the idea of a glass box.”
Tunnell also proposed turning the dark, draughty basement into an additional living area, bedroom and shower room. “The family had to go around the side of the house to get to the garden,” Tunnell says. “So we wanted to create a living area in the basement with direct access to the garden.” The room features a sliding door and bespoke plywood shelving for Jon’s large record collection.
A smart cantilevered desk hovers above the stairs (the blue chair is by Charles and Ray Eames). The cantilevered bay window, with floor-to-ceiling glass, has added considerable extra space to the room, which is now an open-plan living and dining area.
A wall of open bookshelves in the stairwell leads to the floor above. “The renovation has created a much better flow throughout the house,” Jon says.
The house is filled with mid-century design – Jon and Zanna’s passion. Pieces include Hans Wegner’s brown Ox Chair, Wegner’s electric-blue Papa Bear Chair (try the Danish design store), and a glossy yellow coffee table, a one-off by David Restorick.
The 16-week construction took place during 2010’s harsh winter, and the family stayed in the house throughout. “It was actually an enjoyable experience,” Jon says. “And worth it – we love sitting in the bay window when it’s dark outside. We spend more time there than anywhere else.”
Photograph: Matt Laver.
Story: Caroline Ednie / guardian.co.uk
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