‘Tower House’ Extension By Dominic McKenzie Architects

Dominic McKenzie Architects have brought some rural Italian design philosophy to the streets of London via their recent extension on a Grade II-listed property. For the uninitiated, the U.K. grants Grade II listings to important historical buildings of particular interest. Therefore, the architects had to be especially careful when complimenting this boutique home with ‘Tower House.’

tower house 1

As a home built in the 1830s, it’s self-evident as to why the local government had a vested interest in its aesthetic conservation. However, the professionals from Dominic McKenzie have expertly blended the old-brick style of London with the rustic and earthy minimalism of country Italy to create the Tower House extension. The designers had this say in reference to their addition:

‘This vertical element was inspired by the towers constructed by competing merchants in the Italian hill town of San Gimignano.’

The new extension replaces an older, poorly designed addition that was built in the 1980s. This prior extension was insufficiently insulated and couldn’t be avoided by occupants due to its housing the only bathroom on the property. In opposition to this, Tower House is now a welcoming, heavily sunlit section of beauty.

The new structure is three storeys high and includes a spacious dining area, ideal for lazy Sunday breakfasts or moments of isolated contemplation. The herringbone-pattern wooden flooring is a compliment to the more traditional floorboards found throughout the rest of the home.

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Black timber French doors accentuate the freely-flowing natural daylight while also inviting occupants to the beautifully kept garden – a rarity in the Islington area of London. What used to be a less-than-pleasing space used solely for drainage, the garden has now become a gentle collection of stony steps and vivid greenery.

The once-dull bathroom has also been fully replaced and is now easily accessible via the main area. Only subtle changes were made to rest of the home, as the building had maintained a sense of classical beauty throughout its centuries. But an olden-time home is not complete with a marble fireplace, so this addition was duly attended to. The living room walls were painted a deep, near-navy blue, which is reflected by the accenting of the kitchen’s cupboards and draws.

The merging of Italian and British aesthetic history has proven a success for Dominic McKenzie Architects and will be a design decision that undoubtedly continues to add value to the old home.


Jay is a writer and content producer for The Versatile Gent.