Architect Hugh:  “We are known for our colourful work, and so working with these clients – a Personal Colour consultant and graphic designer – was a dream come true!”


Back in 2018, clients, Alan and Keiko, posted their project to Design for Me, looking for a talented architect to extend and renovate their terraced house.

Clients Alan and Keiko on finding an architect: This was one of the more difficult parts of the process. We contacted a couple of companies we found through internet searches, but didn’t really like the approach. We then heard about designfor-me.com, put up a design brief, and spoke with several architects. 

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They registered their project with just a few key details and we instantly matched them up with some fantastic designers:


Alan and Keiko’s project description

“We want to build a single-storey side-return and also extend within permitted development rights to the rear. It’s a north-facing space, and we would like to use it as a kitchen and diner. We would also like to add a downstairs toilet.”



Through Design for Me, the clients narrowed down their search by speaking to three architecture studios and ultimately found the perfect fit for their project in Hugh and Catrina’s practice:

“[They] were the ones we felt the most immediate connection with, both in terms of their striking prior work, but also in the interest and enthusiasm they showed from our first in person meeting.”



Architect Hugh on the brief:




You can see Hugh and Catrina’s profile below and shortlist them for your home building or renovation project:



“We were approached by a Personal Colour consultant and her husband to enlarge the kitchen at the rear of their property in Haringey and make it suitable for use as a studio space for her consultancy. Her existing studio space at the front of the house was south facing and the changing sunlight throughout the day and year made it hard to maintain colour consistency when she met her clients. As such, the brief emerged for the new kitchen to have no direct sunlight throughout the whole year, while still being an enjoyable space to entertain in.




Client: “It was a typical layout from the period with a dank and gloomy side return, a long, narrow kitchen-diner with units down both sides and  a small door to the garden at the far end. We entertain pretty often and there wasn’t enough space to put a larger table or to move around. The lack of visibility of the garden from the house was another issue.”


Architect Hugh: “Creating a space that was well lit but shielded from direct sunlight was an unusual challenge. The narrow house also needed to accommodate a table of 10 people for consultations, as well as a downstairs shower, to futureproof the house.” 



Hugh on the solution:


“Our response made use of north light in the new extension, through carefully shaped rooflights which shield the windows from direct sun, while a flat rooflight deeper in plan is protected by the existing house.

The material palette for Overcast House was also developed in response to the client’s wish for there to be no direct sunlight in the new extension. Gold leaf evens out and warms up the north light and sky light that enters the extension from numerous shaped windows and skylights. Meanwhile, the soft green beams hover above the space to support the numerous openings. Finally, the small bathroom uses colour blocking and vertical patterns in pink tiles to enlarge the space.

Meanwhile on the exterior, the absence of direct sunlight is investigated through ‘shadow catchers’ which we designed to be cast from pigmented concrete by Mortise Concrete. These are bespoke scalloped blocks that form a self-supporting skin for the new extension.  Starting from the profile of an extruded clay drainage channel, the new blocks create modelling on the rear facade even though there is no direct sun, and continue the investigation of indirect lighting which is being tested inside the extension. Cast from a bright red cement, the relief brings the highly articulated detail from the front of the Victorian terrace through to the rear elevation in a contemporary manner. While the external skin is concrete, the rest of the wall and roof structure is timber, in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the build and create the thinnest structure possible.


We are known for our colourful work and so working with a Personal Colour consultant and graphic designer was a dream come true! Of course, discussions about colour were key to the project, and elements of the house are picked out in ‘trending’ colours. For example, the steel is Neo-Mint, the colour of 2020, and Millennial Pink, the colour of 2018, is used in the bathroom.” 






Photography by Megan Taylor






“Hugh and his team were really amazing to work with. They really understood what we were trying to do (even when we didn’t!), and came to each meeting with a tonne of creative and innovative ideas for the structure, materials, and the overall feel of the project. They were extremely responsive throughout, offering clear and sensible advice for each step of the process.

My wife and I were totally newbies to the whole enterprise of designing and building something like this, but Hugh remained entirely unflappable, patient, and good-humoured. He and his team were an utter joy to work with and the end results are just fantastic. Couldn’t be happier.”




If you’re looking for the right architect for your home building or renovation project, we’re here to help. Simply post your project below and we’ll match you up with the best architects for your requirements. And it’s completely free!

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Emily  Design for Me


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