This four bedroom, end of terrace house in Central North Oxford was extensively refurbished between Aug 2012 to Apr 2013. The design evolved to accommodate the property’s restrictive covenant that gave the neighbours the power to object to any external alterations. Tim and Joanne would have preferred external wall insulation with wood fibre and lime render but this was vetoed by the neighbours. The built solution was a new skin of brick (to match the existing) with insulation in the new cavity formed between the new and old wall to the side and rear of the property. Internal insulation was used on the front elevation returning on the sides to overlap with the new brick skin.. At first glance visitors won’t be able to see the difference between the existing 1967 terrace houses and the refurbished one. There are, however, a few very subtle pointers: the junction between the original wall and the new wall is barely visible; triple glazed windows have thicker glass and the thickness of insulation added to the walls does add thickness to the window reveals creating useful shelves of the window sills. At the rear, there is a step from the new wall to the line of the older unrefurbished properties.
Seven years in, the house remains comfortable, the internal atmosphere with natural finishing materials and continuous mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, feels fresh and airy. Joanne tells me they don’t use the upper story radiators at all as the house warms up as a whole when they use the wood burner boiler (with underfloor heating). If anything it gets hot in the summer and they have to watch the sun coming in, keeping the curtains and windows closed in the sunny side. There is a photovoltaic array that Tim wishes he had linked to an air source heat pump to make full use of the energy they generate.
But all in all the house feels normal, Benjamin and Sam tell me, while I draw them and they enjoy playing outside on the trampoline and keeping an eye on the chickens, or playing games in the front yard.
The build was more expensive than initially expected but worth the effort and the great feeling of using energy wisely and not adding a burden to the environment.
If you are interested in the project full detail visit Tim’s project website: http://oxfordgreenhouse.co.uk/
This other link also shows construction process: https://www.houseplanninghelp.com/hph072-a-radical-retrofit-of-an-end-of-terrace-house-with-tim-nicholson/
I’d like to thank Tim, Joanne, Benjamin and Sam for welcoming into their home and showing me all the things they are passionate about. Their house is beautiful.