A classic Crouch End family home with a zigzag rear extension

The pleated roof brings a graphic feel to the modern extension

The pleated roof brings a graphic feel to the modern extension - Credit: Archant

As we’re in the grip of awards season, perhaps the award for home extension that shouldn’t work as well as it does could go to the aptly named Folds House in Crouch End.

The house abuts Parkland Walk, the former railway line that runs along the former railway line between Finsbury Park and Muswell Hill, and offers views across to the 30ft poplar trees lining the walk.

Understandably, Alina Karypidou, a linguistics teacher for professional clients, and her husband, a business development director in education, wanted to make the most of this abundant greenery when they were planning the renovation and extension of their “wreck” of a Victorian terraced home.

“We’ve always wanted an interesting design approach, an interesting idea. We didn’t want just a box and a skylight,” she says.

“My husband particularly wanted to be able to have a view of the tall poplar trees at the back, even when we’re in the living room. That’s what got the architects thinking angular.

“The idea itself was something that we were wowed by.”

The unusual zigzag architecture of the rear and side extension was the solution presented by Bureau de Change, the architects the couple engaged for the work, which allowed the trees to be seen even when sitting on the sofa, while retaining privacy when inside.

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As Billy Mavropoulos, co-founder of the practice, explains: “It’s like taking a flat roof surface and squeezing it so it wrinkles. You can see out of the windows but they’re angled so that no-one else can see in.

“We’ve never done anything like it before; it was just us responding to the existing house and the client’s needs.”

The project expanded the existing kitchen, adding a new open plan dining and work area to the house where Karypidou and her husband could spend time with their two daughters aged five and three.

The party wall is also pleated, concealing a home office, which can be opened up when required, and a storage area. The dedicated kitchen space is demarcated by midnight blue paint in bold contrast to the white of the rest of the room.

Katerina Dionysopoulou, the other co-founder, says: “With the pleated roof we wanted to not only bring a graphic feel to the modern extension, but also to create a feeling of motion which would emphasise the meeting of old and new.”

Indeed, while the extension is strikingly contemporary looking, the house itself is very much a period home.

Karypidou describes the renovation as bringing a breath of fresh air to the property, rather than giving it a total overhaul.

“It wasn’t that we were after something unusual per se, we wanted something inspiring that we would be proud of. When we moved in the house was a wreck, it was very difficult living there before. We had to rebuild one section of the house because the floors were literally falling in,” she says.

“It still feels very much like a period property when you look at it from outside. There’s only so much you can do with a Victorian terrace.”

With a budget of £250,000 and taking about eight months from planning to completion, the architects were able to undertake a sensitive restoration using an interesting mixture of materials, colours and textures.

“We tend to reuse as much of the original floor as we can but it was in such a bad state that we had to start from scratch,” says Mavropoulos. “We went for new textured and rich materials in the rest of the house.”

Terrazzo slabs were used in the extension, with encaustic tiles harking back to the Victorian ceramic patterns found in many of the neighbouring properties, whilst bringing a modern, Mediterranean feel to the typical London house.

Solid wood herringbone parquet also complements the original building while echoing the graphic impact of the angular extension.

As Karypidou says: “Our dream was to move to something with character and give new life to a period property. We tried very hard to show respect to the period features, the transition had to flow throughout the modern extension.

“We used to go to Open House London and we were very inspired by other people’s homes and the fact that they had done projects like this. We want to show people what they can do and say they should go for it.”