Charred Timber Self Build

This project provides a new light and airy extension to an existing building, future proofing the layout for later life and adding to a collection of garden structures. Our clients chose a self build route to deliver the scheme and reduce costs. Having a first hand experience of the building process, and adding plenty of sweat equity!

The elongated addition slips past the existing house like a train pulling alongside a platform. The simple profile repeats the pitch of the house and forms a new private courtyard overlooking the garden.

Client: Private
Construction Value: £120K
Completion: 2017
Location: London

Simplicity and Buildability

Alongside remodeling the existing ground floor, we helped our client gain planning consent for a barn-like timber extension that they have since gone on to build. Using physical models to develop the design, we kept simplicity and buildability at the heart.


SWA produced a set of layout drawings which the contractor developed in detail with the clients; who acted as a laborer and clerk of works through the process.

Charred timber cladding creates a contrast to the existing house and sets the new extension apart, forming a family of garden buildings. The new, open plan annexe has a pitched ceiling, allowing roof lights to shed light into a generous interior.


A large bay window makes a comfortable corner to sit, read and admire the garden, this is picked out as an angular feature of the facade in a pale timber cladding, and cantilevers over the pond.

Design for Later Life

A key ambition of the design was to future proof it for old age. SWA reconfigured the existing plan layout to incorporate a WC and bed-space on the ground floor, with a possible link to the living space.


Level thresholds and a key connection to the outdoors enable the extension to be both accessible and adaptable.