When Glasgow-based lawyer Marion Venman decided to improve her architect-designed Sixties villa, the brief she gave Cameron Webster Architects was simply to explore the art of the possible. She gave no spatial or style prescriptions, or even budget parameters, offering the team a rare chance for creative freedom.
The radical reinvention had humble beginnings. ‘I wanted a nicer kitchen,’ Marion explains. ‘When I bought the house it wasn’t the kind of property that I had in mind, but the site itself and the back garden were lovely. I decided to rennovate the kitchen first of all, but I knew the house had potential for some serious changes. Finally, I just took the plunge and remodelled everything.’
Marion spotted a project by Cameron Webster Architects in a local newspaper, and organised a meeting at her house. ‘I wanted a forever home; I didn’t want to have to move again,’ she says. However, rather than present the architect with a cast-iron budget, Marion instead chose to give them scope to come up with something exciting. ‘I didn’t want to give the architect a budget as I was keen to see what ideas they could come up with. I wanted to be wowed.’
‘The existing house was built at a time when space standards were rather mean, and none of the rooms were large enough or ideally suited to Marion’s lifestyle,’ explains architect Louise McGinlay. ‘There was also a lack of relationship between the spaces.’ The solution was to create an extension across the entire width of the building, and replace the south-facing rear wall with frameless glazing to provide uninterrupted outdoor views. ‘I had spent a lot of time and effort on the garden,' says Marion, 'so it was just as important as the house. I didn’t want any trees or shrubs to be destroyed during construction.'
The outcome is a seamless combination of the original house and a new, bronze-clad extension – in all, this bold addition has increased the size of the property by more than 100 square metres. The open-plan arrangement of the extension flows from the living room through the dining area into a new kitchen. ‘The new living spaces have really changed the way I live,’ says Marion. ‘I never really cooked before, but I’ve now started baking and I enjoy it. How could I not enjoy cooking in my new kitchen? And the living room is a great place to relax with friends and watch the wildlife that comes into the garden.’
Inside, Marion has created a warm, neutral palette with white- and cream-painted walls, oak flooring, an oak staircase and walnut cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms. She’s added splashes of colour with furniture and feature walls – such as the purple paint in the master bedroom and the multicoloured shelving in the living room.
On the outside, TECU copper-bronze cladding, inspired by a copper building Marion saw on a business trip to Spain, beautifully roots the house to its garden setting. ‘It reflects the colours of the treets and plants in the garden and it's really low maintenance,’ she says.
To read the full article, pick up the July/August 2016 issue of The Selfbuilder.