Pocket House is an award-winning family house, distinguished by its character, the quality of its detailing – much of it in timber
– and by the skill with which the architect has made use of a dauntingly restricted site.
Pocket House is an award-winning family house, distinguished by its character, the quality of its detailing – much of it in timber – and by the skill with which the architect has made use of a dauntingly restricted site. It is the first building completed by Tikari Works, a young practice established in 2014 by Nicola and Ty Tikari, and it is also their family home. They were not only client and architect but also acted as main contractor, directly employing a team of craftsmen and subcontractors for the building works. The site itself, in a residential street in London, was only 80 square metres in plan and was additionally limited by planning restrictions, existing building lines and by a need to maintain a neighbour’s privacy, resulting in a ground footprint of only 35 square metres. To avoid overlooking neighbours at the rear and sides, all windows had to face west towards the street. The challenge for the architects was to create a house which would not feel compromised by these limitations. The solution was to locate part of the house below ground in a basement, with a large courtyard cut into the corner of the basement plan to bring natural light into the lower rooms. The ground and first floors of the house step back from the street to align with neighbouring building lines and at the rear the first floor is also set back to limit impact to adjoining gardens. To make most effective use of this arrangement, the more private spaces – two bedrooms and bathroom – are placed below ground and orientated around the sunken courtyard. A timber pod placed in the darkest corner of this floor contains a family bathroom. The thick ‘poche walls of the pod create spaces for desks and storage. The kitchen and dining areas are at ground level and are separated from the entrance sequence to the house by another timber pod which contains a WC, coat cupboard and kitchen storage. A timber staircase at the rear of the house connects the floors and leads to an open plan living space on the first floor. The unique character and quality of the house is imparted by the use of timber, both externally and internally. Facing the street, the main elevation is clad with a screen of vertical cedar slats. Internal surfaces are lined with spruce plywood panels, conveying a warm and hand crafted feel.