Matthew Giles Architects have completed a restorative renovation of a 19th Century Captain’s house in Greenwich

The grade II listed house is located in one of the oldest parts of Blackheath, Shooter’s Hill. Over time some of the house’s original charm had faded – but through sensitive attention to the vital components the designers have given the home a new lease of life. The entrance sequence on the ground floor has been reordered while new floor space has been created for new living spaces and a sweeping open plan kitchen and dining space that unfolds into the garden.

From the street the main elevation remains largely unchanged with prominent Neoclassical elements including a deep entrance canopy, flanked by intricate plasterwork Doric columns and a pointed pediment roof. In place of the former side extension, a new extension has been built in its place that steps forward at ground and basement levels. Featuring white stuccowork and architrave detailing that is sympathetic to the style of the main façade, the new side extension is also positioned so as to give the original structure dominance.

To the rear the changes are more dramatic, full height glazing is capped by zinc profiles to create a highly transparent element at the back of the house. The glazing allows the space to be flooded with natural light despite the north-facing aspect of the rear elevation. A tension cable guarding to the upper terrace and stairs down into the basement are a whimsical nod to the nautical heritage of the area. Natural stone steps spill onto the lower terrace and the planted garden, beyond which, a raised height boundary wall heightens the sense of privacy and enclosure.

Internally, there is a marked contrast to the house’s former condition where a dark internal hallway linked disjointed living spaces. The entrance now features a generous lobby that directs the eye from the front of the property towards the sanctuary of the rear garden. As part of the works, functionality has been improved with new storage and utility rooms.

Matthew Giles Architects have made the most of the voluminous shell of the 1830’s home – above the main stair, light streams in from a high level punched opening. On the upper levels further renovations have been carried out so that these spaces complement the ground floor living spaces. A rich palette of materials has been introduced that creates a lively contrast between rooms. For example one of the ensuites is topped by a large heritage rooflight and features plush pink tiles that reflect the passing motion of the sky.

As well as having improved accessibility, the home has been insulated for improved thermal efficiency and in order to reduce the impact on the environment. Glazing has also been refurbished as part of the designs, with new highly insulated sealed double-glazed units that have solar reflective coatings to help combat overheating issues.

Project Data
Address: Blackheath, Greenwich, London
Start on site: October 2018
Completion date: October 2019
Client: Private
Budget: £1m
Architects: Matthew Giles Architects
Civil/ Structural Engineer: Timothy George
Contractors: Olmek Ltd.
Interior Designer: My-Studio
Glazier:L2i Aluminium Ltd
Photography Credits: Logan Irvine Macdougall