The site was unconventional: a long, skinny lot wedged between back gardens and a 16-car garage in West London. Zoning prevented anything taller than a single story, and it wouldn’t be possible to have windows on the long sides of the building. But the clients wanted a two-bedroom home filled with light and air. And the architects at local firm De Rosee Sa figured out how to give it to them.
The 1,184-square-foot Courtyard House is an elegant study in workarounds. The problem of bringing in light without windows on the boundary walls was solved with ample skylights and three courtyard spaces bordered by walls of paned glass. The almost industrial feel of the black mullions is balanced with the warm natural hue of vertical cedar slats both inside and out.
The front gate opens onto the first courtyard, which also has space for bike storage, trash, and the air source heat pump. A cedar-clad front door and two Crittall window doors open onto the main living room, which is also topped with skylights. A hallway leads to the kitchen and dining space, or you could pass through the second courtyard, which separates the two.
The kitchen looks over the third courtyard, sunken down to the basement level. A hall off the kitchen leads to the first bedroom with the second bedroom in the basement floor below.
For a structure replacing what was once an old garage, the home looks surprisingly airy. It’s a space where the attention to detail is evident and eminently successful.