RISE Design Studio have completed a striking new family home in North West London, comprised of staggered brick cubes arranged around a central, ten meter tall atrium.
The architects rose to the challenge of designing a home that is spacious and open, while creating separate zones and pockets of privacy for the family members. Featuring four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a home office, gym, open living and kitchen, and large front and rear gardens, RISE Design Studio have balanced modern living with the traditional idea of a home.
Architecture: RISE Design Studio
Design principal: Sean Ronnie Hill
Project architect: María Lopez Mata
Contractor: GEB London Ltd
Structural Engineer: Tyrone Bowen, CAR Ltd Sustainability
Party Wall Surveyor: Osprey Building Consultancy Polished
Concrete: Midland Flooring
Steel Doors + Windows: Steel WIndow Service & Suppliers Limited Atrium
rooflight: Roofmaker Pro
Opening rooflight: The Rooflight Company
Timber floor, stair threads and risers: Finewood Flooring Limited
Landscape architect: Daniel Shea Garden Design
Lighting design: Kreon Belux Sustainability
Zinc roof specialist: RAC Roofing & Cladding Specialist
Kitchen: RISE Design Studio + Liam Dryden
Photographer: Edmund Sumner
“Our clients wanted something that looked like an iconic drawing of a house from the outside, but felt bright, modern, and entirely their own inside.” – Sean Ronnie Hill, Director, RISE Design Studio.
The tricky slope and expansive size of the site heavily influenced the design of Mill hill House. On entry to the property, the pre-existing and in Winter, precariously steep driveway has been levelled off, instead welcoming visitors to the house through a series of long, flat steps edged with leafy garden beds.
RISE Design Studio cleverly mitigated any potential darkness owing to the depth of the home by branching rooms and levels off a full-height atrium. Inside, sunlight refracts through a large central window, bouncing down to illuminate the bespoke steel staircase that leads down through crittall-style doors to the open kitchen and living area, and upwards to bedrooms and bathrooms. Inspired by Narnia’s wardrobe, a private reading nook for the children overlooks the atrium, and is accessed through secret doors and ladders in their adjacent bedrooms.
The architects worked very collaboratively with the clients throughout the build, and together they chose a mix of vintage and new materials with varying textures to soften the clean, angular lines of the steel staircase and cool colour palette throughout.
In the kitchen, a custom-designed steel storage cage with space for cookbooks and plants hangs above reclaimed and restored Iroko chemistry lab worktops. RISE designed the suspended steel cage and kitchen island which a local joiner fabricated after learning special techniques to craft the pieces to the highest standard, highlighting just how much care and attention was paid in building the new home.
A stepped, paved patio extends from the kitchen and living room onto a sloping lawn, where the staggered shapes of the brick cube form is best enjoyed. RISE Design Studio arranged the home in three sweeping, angular boxes to cleverly open the home to the views of the garden and sky and invite light in. The arrangement also sensitively respects the neighbours, and allows all a sense of privacy and unimpeded views.
The Mill Hill House draws on several Passivhaus principles, and features mechanical ventilation heat recovery system, airtightness, high-performance glazing, green roofs, and solar panels in an effort to minimise its environmental impact and energy consumption. Like the other services of the house, these systems are ultimately integrated with the design in order to blend flawlessly with the whole of the building.
“This project is not only an excellent example of sustainable architecture that responds directly to the needs of our clients, but it was a joy to work on. We assembled a team of skilled contractors, makers, and craftspeople and we worked seamlessly and collaboratively together. “ – María Lopez Mata, Project Architect, RISE Design Studio.