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Don’t Move Improve 2016, Part 4 – House of Trace

By March 28, 2016June 7th, 2017Events and News

33 projects were shortlisted for the Don’t Move Improve award; we recently attended the Winners Breakfast Talk, where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place contestants presented their work.  Here’s Liz’s ‘Absolute’ favourite…

1st Place- Tsuruta Architects


Also won- NLA Don’t Move Improve- Most Innovative Award

Also won- BDA Brick Award 2015- Best Refurbishment Project.

Speaker- Taro Tsuruta

Projects- The House of Trace- Lewisham

Short Description- Double storey extension to rear of Victorian end of terrace house, incorporating an old structurally unsound extension into the new fabric of the building.

Liz’s winner- The main focus of this project was to extend whilst proudly displaying the journey of the house’s form.  The very old existing double extension was typical of the area but was small and structurally unsound.  Happily, the house is end of terrace allowing a double extension across the whole width of its rear whilst intelligent use of a side/ roof window provides light to the now middle bedroom – through its old rear window.

Tsuruta Architects took the care to incorporate the old into the new era for the house; showing its construction wherever possible with steel beams and new contrasting brickwork as well as plastered but not painted walls and fixing structurally, but leaving visually, the large crack in the old brickwork of the house.

But what sold the house to me was the architect’s innovative approach to budget and interior design.  The clients needed furnishings and finishes which look beautiful, work well and fit within their budget.  Taro initially designed a new compact stairway; CNC cut out of inexpensive ply wood and slotted together with minimal effort, wastage and space.  The design was so good that it fitted onto 4 sheets of plywood and cost less than £1,000.

Inspired by this, Taro designed a shelving system for the clients’ large record collection; using the same method of slotted together ply boards but using a mix of expensive and more standard board finishes to achieve a contrasting finish.  He went on to make a dining table, chairs, bench and bed which can be increased and decreased depending on the size req.

The finished result is spellbinding, as is the amount of effort, care and resolve that obviously went into the design and assembly of these wonderful flat pack ply furnishings.


My favourite part of the project- To keep the old rear bedroom window, a glass window and roof light was designed to fill the gap between the old house and the new main bedroom extension.  This space provided light and further elaborated the story separating visually old and new parts of the building.  Also this was designed to be an ideal way for the parents to call up from the kitchen to their son’s room above; ‘Food is ready!”

At Absolute Project Management we have provided detailed joinery designs using similar cut outs and specific measurements to fit the client’s needs; such as these cupboards and drawers which were designed to fit lots of CD’s.

For more information on this and the other projects featured in the Don’t move improve blog series; visit the NLA website.

We undertake projects similar to those featured in this blog series and are skilled at putting together and managing the necessary teams of specialists.  We make renovation projects as seamless, efficient and stress-free as possible.

For help/ advice with your project; get in touch

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