Holland Park conservation architect W14

Villa house extensions and renovation

Project description | Kensington and Chelsea W14 Holland Park conservation architect services and consultation

Single storey rear brick extension at garden level extending 4m from the main rear elevation on the southern half of the property and stepping back to a 2.5m depth on the northern half of the property; associated internal and external alterations to include full renovation and refurbishment works. This is a substantial detached property four storeys plus attic in height, situated on the western side of Holland Villas Road and in use as a single dwelling. The property has an unusual modern full width glazed rear extension within a white rendered surround at raised ground floor level which is not visible from the public realm and barely visible from neighbouring properties. This existing extension projects only 0.5m from the existing rear extension.


In 2019 we were appointed by HWCD as Holland Park conservation architect consultation to provide architectural, planning and conservation area specialist services for the extensive extensions and complete renovation works to a single family detached dwelling at 23 Holland Villas Road, London, W14 8DH.

The property is in the Holland Park Conservation Area and in 2001 it had been extended and renovated by Fiona McLean, McLean Quinlan architects. The project had been featured in a number of architectural publications at the time including in Architectural Review in May 2005 and in House and Garden in May 2007.

The 2001 dramatic redevelopment of this Victorian villa included bespoke interiors, an extensive internal and external renovation programme of works, the creation of a glorious four storey internal hall, and large glazed areas at the rear of the house over two levels.

These glazed areas opened up the full width interiors to the rear landscaped garden, sliver slender birch trees and to a water feature in a way that created a quiet and intimate dialogue between the interiors of the house and the forest-like, carefully curated, mature garden environment outside.
The house was re-designed for a young family however the exact detailing of the interior spaces, the interplay with natural light and the sequencing of spaces created the distinctive feel of a gallery and this was the first thing I took away when I first visited the house.

In fact the house was meant to showcase the previous owners’ collection of Renaissance frames and this was evident even after the collection was removed and the house stood empty for the new owners.


The new home owners in 2019 wanted to put their own stamp on the property in regards to the overall balance and function of the internal spaces and in regards to the overall aesthetic internally and externally.

The challenge here was substantial and something that needed to be very carefully considered.

Fiona McLean had created a singular design for a specific brief and she executed it with great skill and precision. When you deal with a singular vision it is extremely difficult to change it in a way that is both compatible with the true DNA and design intent of the existing house while also satisfying the requirements of the new home owners.

It is an impossible task. The danger, and a real possibility, is that the new design will appear awkward, lacking identity, and carrying design elements that have neither a common rhythm, language or intention.

In addition to these challenges we wanted to extend the property at the rear and to alter the external appearance of the property in certain ways to accommodate the Client brief requirements as best as possible.

And this is when we of course had to consider the original house, its characteristics, language and heritage value.

Very early in the process it became clear the local authority conservation officer had concerns about how the previously renovated property fitted within the terrace and within the Holland Park Conservation Area.

This meant that our proposals would also have to address these concerns. The officer’s view was that the rear elevation appeared unbalanced and that a historic sense of verticality had been removed by the previous alterations to this Victorian villa in the Holland Park Conservation Area.
For this reason our proposals had to carefully remove elements of the previous additions to the building, to restore some of its lost language, to re-introduce materials that were original to the house and that “grounded” the house to its setting, and to do so in a way that fitted the contemporary and precise way the rear elevation had been remodelled.

In design terms we have to find the balance between re-instating a vertical historic orientation to a previously horizontally contemporarily arranged rear elevation. And we also had to add a new extension at the rear with a new landscape scheme to replace the tranquil landscape scheme there at the time.

With collaboration with HWDC, that acted on behalf of the Clients, I prepared a number of proposals to explore options and we obtained pre-application planning advice from Kensington and Chelsea in March 2019.

This was followed by another round of exhaustive pre-application planning discussions with the Kensington and Chelsea conservation officer in May 2019 when we identified the key issues and we agreed to a design in principle that managed to satisfy both the Conservation Officer and our Clients.

With the design pretty much agreed we made the planning submission in August 2019 and it was successfully and efficiently approved in October 2019 with no delay or with no further amendments requested by the planners.


With reference to the Holland Park Conservation Area Appraisal – June 2017

Summary of Character
Holland Park Conservation Area was designated in 1981 when two smaller conservation areas were amalgamated. The area contains many important buildings and groups of buildings of high historic and architectural significance.

The area centres on Holland House (grade I), its parkland (grade II) and the speculative development around it (some of which is also listed). Although now a ruin, the house, dating from c.1605, is of great historical and architectural significance and intrinsically linked to the surrounding housing that was built to fund the extravagant life of the Holland family as well as the upkeep of the house and parkland. Holland House was partially destroyed in World War II but soon after was transferred to council ownership, along with the parkland, via the London County Council. The house is conserved as a romantic ruin and vestige of Victorian aristocratic life and the parkland provides a luxurious, naturalistic setting to the house that includes formal gardens, woodland and playing fields that are open to the public.

The houses that were built to fund the estate have also become important examples of mid Victorian speculative development of various types. To the north, Holland Park contains three streets of highly decorated, stuccoed houses with a mews running between them, all of which are listed at grade II for their significance as an important group in an exuberant Italianate style. To the west are three streets of large detached villas of which so many other examples have been lost. These Classically designed houses – stucco fronted with parapet roofs in Addison Road and stock brick with hipped roofs in Holland Park Road – form an important group that are enhanced by their attractive settings of large gardens with mature trees.

The area also contains an extremely significant collection of purpose-designed artists’ studio-houses towards the south. Many artists’ studios are present in the borough, but Melbury Road and Holland Park Road form one of the enclaves where there is an important concentration of studio-houses.

These were commissioned by successful artists from renowned architects who designed buildings in avant-garde styles where the artists could live, work and hold salons. Renowned architects, Philip Webb, Richard Norman Shaw, Halsey Ricardo and George Aitchison designed studios here; and the home that Gothic architect, William Burgess, built for himself, The Tower House, is also in this area.

All these are listed for their importance not just to the area, but to the nation as a whole.

The area continued to be developed in the 1960s with several high flat blocks being built. The core of the conservation area was redeveloped with a swathe of inward-looking 1960s housing and there was regrettably some loss from the Melbury area too. The jewel from this period, however, was the Commonwealth Institute (now the Design Museum) designed by Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners to emulate a tent with enormous sweeping roofs seemingly held down by giant tent pegs.

Holland Park Conservation Area is an area of great heritage significance, and is generally well maintained and fully justifies its status as well as all efforts to conserve its special character for future generations.”

HOLLAND VILLAS ROAD - Conservation area and street appraisal

The character of Holland Villas Road is very similar and has the added appeal that the villas line both sides of the street, but the front elevations of the houses have been treated differently to those in Addison Road. Nos. 1-37 (consec) were commenced by Hall between 1857-58 but in fact very few were actually completed by 1860. They are built of stock brick with simple stucco dressings such as the architraves to the first floor windows, ground floor bays and doorcases with engaged square section pilasters. The sash windows are divided by one vertical glazing bar to all windows (except the side lights to the tripartite upper storey ones) and original doors have four panels. Some houses have an extra storey which copies the detailing of the storeys below. The houses all have hipped slate roofs with deep eaves and chimney stacks to both flanks, but many dormers have been added. To the rear, the houses have a distinctive centralised closet wing with a gabled roof. The gardens of the houses are again large and contain many mature trees giving the effect of an avenue in places.

The boundaries are formed of stock brick walls with cast iron railings planted into stone copings, but these often have varying designs. Modern railings with undersized mild steel bars and sometimes gold painted tips fail to reflect the high quality of the houses and an agreed scheme of uniform design would enhance the character of the conservation area. Similarly, excessive paving and lack of substantial planting in many places are harmful. Visually intrusive security bars have been added to all windows at several houses and these have a highly detrimental effect, both on the appearance of the area and by creating a an unfriendly and fearful environment.”

DESIGN AND HERITAGE ASSESSMENT – Holland Park conservation architect appraisal

In design and heritage terms the proposed alterations aim to achieve a fine balance between the character of the original building and the contemporary later additions that occurred in the past; the form and scale of the rear extension responds to the imposing form, typology and scale of the original building. The vast majority of the materials and detailing responds to the character of the original building and aims to preserve it.

At the same time the proposals also need to signal the fact this is a new addition that is of its time, and it aims to both enhance the character of the existing property and make it clear to the informed observer this is a carefully considered addition to the original property.

This intention is also expressed through the landscaping scheme that largely preserves the identity of the existing landscaping scheme while at the same time it also responds to the proposed extension in terms of design and function.

At an earlier design stage initial proposals were submitted to the Council for pre-application advice and revised proposals were prepared for follow up advice by Mrs S. Malik, Senior Planning Officer (PRE/AR/19 /02084/LEV 3 and PRE/AR/19 /03449/L3FU).

The current proposals benefit from this advice and they are in accordance to this advice; as part of this submission we have included reports and additional information as requested during the preapplication advice stage.

The rear extension will be clad in matching brick that includes a projecting brickwork bond while the rest of the brickwork detailing matches the detailing of the existing property. At the front and side the new extensions follow the type and bonding detailing of the existing brickwork.
Our proposals were in-keeping with the character of the host building and of the immediate area as well. They did not affect the amenity of the adjacent properties and we did not propose to alter the access around the front of the building or the access to the property in general.


 The site and its surroundings
Number 23 is a substantial detached property four storeys plus attic in height, situated on the western side of Holland Villas Road and in use as a single dwelling. The property has an unusual modern full width glazed rear extension within a white rendered surround at raised ground floor level which is not visible from the public realm and barely visible from neighbouring properties. This existing extension projects only 0.5m from the existing rear extension.

The site lies within the Holland Park Conservation Area and the Holland Park Critical Drainage Area. The building is not listed.

The proposal and any relevant planning history
Planning permission is sought for a single storey rear brick extension at garden level extending 4m from the main rear elevation on the southern half of the property and stepping back to a 2.5m depth on the northern half of the property. The extension would also be set in 1m from the northern side elevation of the property.

It is proposed to use the roof of the rear extension as a terrace, accessed from the glazed doors within the existing raised ground floor extension. 1m wide fixed planters would be situated on the north and south terrace edges and the proposed balustrade would be metal railings to replace the existing glazed balustrade.

It is also proposed to extend the existing single storey northern side extension to the front, setting it back 0.3m from the main front elevation. This single storey side infill would have vertical wood panelled bi-fold door entrance, similar to the existing and in keeping with its proposed use as a bike store. To the rear it would have a single glazed door to allow garden access.

To the southern side passage it is proposed to introduce a two storey largely brick extension. This would have a smaller vertical wood panelled door than that on the northern infill at ground floor level and a sash window above.

It is also proposed to introduce new planters to the front lightwells and above the existing single storey extension in the mid area of the side passageway. The proposed rear extension would have a new Crittall side window on its northern 4m deep elevation.

Planning approval
Subject to the recommended conditions the proposal would preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area and the appearance of the individual building with no adverse impacts on the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers, trees or sustainable urban drainage.

Considerable importance and weight has been attached to and special attention has been paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area, under s.72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, as amended.

Recommendation: Grant Planning Permission

CONSTRUCTION STAGE - Holland Park conservation architect and project management services

We were involved with this project until the completion of the first construction phase During this time we prepared the required technical drawings for the Building Regulations submission, we liaised and co-ordinated the project with the project management team, carried out site visits and liaised with the Client appointed Contractor, and resolved issued after with co-ordination with the Building Regulations Inspectors.

During this time the focus was on the installation of the lift and the complex setting out of the steelwork across all floors. GOAStudio London residential architecture also dealt with the discharging of a number of planning conditions and with the co-ordination of the relevant information that was prepared by other consultants and the design team.

The main part of the project was completed in 2021 following revisions and additions to the design by Hugh Tuffley Architects.

Project type | Villa house extension and renovation to a detached single family dwelling

Client | Private

Location | Holland Park conservation area, W14 Kensington and Chelsea

Previous renovation and extensions by | Fiona McLean, McLean Quinlan architects

Architecture and planning | GOAStudio London residential architecture limited

Interiors, project management and CGI images |  HWCD

Structural engineer | Axiom Structures

Landscape Design | Miles Dennison Landscape Architect

Currently | Completed, Summer 2022

Architectural services we provided for this Holland Park conservation architect consultation

Initial home consultation, pre-application stage feasibility proposals, pre-application consultation with the Kensington and Chelsea conservation officer, planning stage design and submission, obtaining local authority approvals, and liaising with other consultants and the main contractor during the first stage of the construction period.

Click to read our Kensington and Chelsea Conservation architect and planning guide that includes detailed planning and design advice for your home project. For inspiration and ideas see below some of our other residential projects in Kensington and Chelsea.

Kensington Chelsea SW5 Philbeach Conservation area architect services Window replacement and external alterations by GOAStudio London architects 03 Section scaled Holland Park conservation architect | Villa house extensions and renovation


Your local Council will have in place design and planning requirements for your home project and you will need to obtain planning approval for a wide range of extensions and alterations to your property.

When you get in touch we will offer you detailed advice about what is likely that your Council will approve and in the meantime we have prepared the following architectural and planning guides that include extracts of the relevant planning policy and examples of our projects in our Borough.

Barnet residential architect and planning guide, Camden residential architect and planning guide, Enfield residential architect and planning guide, Hackney residential architect and planning guide, Hammersmith Fulham residential architect and planning guide, Haringey residential architect and planning guide, Hounslow residential architect and planning guide, Islington residential architect and planning guide, Kensington and Chelsea Conservation architects, residential and planning guide,  Lambeth residential architect and planning guide, Lewisham residential architect and planning guide, Newham residential architect and planning guide, Redbridge residential architect and planning guide, Richmond residential architect and planning guide, Tower Hamlets residential architect and planning guide, Waltham Forest residential architect and planning guide, Wandsworth residential architect and planning guide, Westminster residential architect and planning guide

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We are creative problem solvers who will deal with any construction, planning, and design issue relevant to your home project.

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GOAStudio London residential architecture limited, Chestnut Avenue South, E17 9EJ, Waltham Forest

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