Designed by London-based RIBA chartered architecture practice Archer + Braun, Picture Frame House is a ground floor extension and full internal refurbishment of a terraced house in the Albert Gardens Conservation Area of Stepney Green, East London.

Bought by the project architect Stuart Archer in 2014, the house had not been updated since the 1970’s and required a full refurbishment to bring it into the 21st Century.

Key to the brief was to open up the main living spaces, bring in more natural light and if possible, create additional living space at the back of the building to connect with the garden.

The picture frame window provides a connection to the outside space

After planning was approved, a new 10m2 side infill extension was built, which allowed for the internal rearrangement of the ground floor and creation of a larger flexible kitchen featuring a glass door and large rooflight.

The resulting spaces were further enhanced through collaboration with a local picture framer who fabricated bespoke American black walnut and oak ‘picture frames’, which were used to frame different window-sized openings. 

The purposely crafted openings allow for the individual areas of kitchen, lounge and dining room to be defined without merging into one another, and to allow for unexpected interactions to naturally occur.

Working with Solus, the designers chose light grey concrete effect porcelain tiles from the Concretus range in the kitchen, perfectly complementing the natural palette of materials used throughout the property.

Parallel to the extension, the rest of the house was also transformed. This included the demolition of a bathroom and storage space to create a bigger, good sized bathroom. Once again Solus tiles were used, including beautifully simple white hexagon mosaics in the shower suite and vanity splashback.

The kitchen features the same white hexagon mosaic tiles as seen in the bathroom