Unknown Works brightens Pigment House with dusty pink extension

A terraced landscape and dusty pink surfaces help to brighten Pigment House, a north London residence that has been renovated by local studio Unknown Works.

Located in Hampstead, the four-storey residence sits on a steep hillside with a garden that originally sloped up on all sides, which Unknown Works said left the interior dark and damp.

To brighten the home, the studio excavated a portion of the back garden and replaced it with a multi-level landscape that lets in more light and enhances its connection to the ground floor.

Rear of Victorian home with pink extensions
Unknown Works has renovated Pigment House in London

“The concept originated from the practical need for a more open day-lit living space that connects fluidly to the garden,” studio director Ben Hayes told Dezeen.

“The transformation of the landscape was essential to unlock this.”

Arranged across multiple levels and stepped down from the top of the garden, the new terraced patio area is covered in textured, pink-toned surfaces chosen to reflect the colors of the surrounding plants.

Pink stairs outside of Pigment House by Unknown Works
It has a terraced landscape with dusty pink surfaces

“The choice of tones for pigments responds to the existing planting, the giant mimosa tree to the rear and red ivy all along the street,” said Hayes.

It is also a nod to the colorful buildings of Mexican architect Luiz Barragan, which the studio said was informed by the homeowner’s holidays to Mexico.

Interior of Pigment House by Unknown Works
The renovation enhances the garden’s connection to the ground floor

Pink concrete retaining walls surround the new levels of the garden, including the lowest courtyard, which features a built-in outdoor kitchen and a barbecue.

Down one side, a series of steps finished in the same pigment offer outdoor seating and lead to open spaces at the top of the garden, where softer landscaping accommodates safer play for the client’s children.

Wooden kitchen with pink-concrete floor
The studio aims to open up the interior

“As retaining walls were required to stabilize the excavated ground, we expanded on the idea of ​​a retaining wall becoming a more creative architectural element, embedding programs into walls and exploring variations in the making process, playing with tone, casting, textures and forms, Hayes explained.

Inside Pigment House, the studio aims to open up the interior by joining the kitchen and living room, moving away from its original separated Victorian layout.

A glass roof stretches above the dining area and kitchen, letting more light into the previously dark interior.

The open living space extends towards the front of the house, where a bay window frames views of the front garden.

Interior of Pigment House by Unknown Works
A bay window overlooks the front garden

The pink-toned concrete floor is continued from the back courtyard into the home’s interior to blur the boundary between the interior and exterior spaces.

Across the other three floors of the home are four bedrooms and three bathrooms that were lightly renovated, alongside a study, additional living spaces and hallways.

Floating stair over pink-concrete floor
The pink-toned concrete floor extends inside

Founded in 2017, Unknown Works also recently completed a bright yellow cross-laminated timber (CLT) house extension, which was shortlisted for this year’s Don’t Move, Improve! awards.

Other new London home renovations featured on Dezeen include a cross-laminated-timber home built between terraced houses and an Edwardian home renovated with mid-century features.

The photography is by Lorenzo Zandri.

Project credits:

Architects: Unknown Works
design team:
Ben Hayes, Kaowen Ho and Theo Games Petrohilos
Structural engineers:
Bull & Bates
interior designers: Unknown Works
Approved building inspectors:
Camden Building Control
main contractor:
Francisco Checa Romero/Grace & Wren
Alistair Fleming
Joe Pipal

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