Architect: Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop
Monnery Road, London N19
Occupying the top two floors of a Victorian terraced house in Tufnell Park, this magical maisonette has been reimagined by the architect Simon Astridge.
The project is named Clay House due to the many layers of natural clay plaster that have been applied to the walls and ceilings, a Japanese technique called Arakabe. The result is a beautifully textured and atmospheric interior.
The first floor contains the sleeping accommodation. The two bedrooms are carpeted with jute, with reddened plywood used for the skirting boards and doorways. The main bedroom has built-in wardrobes, and a flush plywood panel above the door emphasises the verticality of the space. The design of the space incorporates useful storage areas, including wardrobes in both bedrooms, a laundry cupboard positioned in the hallway, and eaves storage in the main living room.
Astridge was inspired by Japanese ritual bathing when creating the bathroom, which is marked by tatami-mat flooring and divided into two spaces by a tempered glass screen. Heated for comfort while undressing, the first area is lined with smoked-oak panels. The steel washbasin is intended to patina over time and the brass taps are reclaimed from a plumber’s merchants in Lisbon. Behind the glass doors is the wet room for showering and bathing. Plants trail from the ceiling joists and receive their water through the steam evaporated following showering or bathing.
Accessed off the half landing is a private terrace, with distant views towards the City. A steel staircase leads to the upper level. As part of the renovation, Astridge turned the roof space into a single reception room, kitchen and dining room, with the original brick outside walls left exposed.
The dining area is located in front of the rear dormer window with south-facing views over the City skyline. The top leaf of the tripartite sash windows can be opened to allow breeze into the space.
A stainless-steel cooking island by Bulthaup has been placed beneath the highest point of the eaves, with a sitting area in front of it. There are plywood boards on the floor and a black stove helps to heat the space.
The clay used in the apartment was dug by hand in north Cornwall. Aside from the aesthetic benefits, it controls the humidity below 70% and promotes a healthy living environment with less bacteria.
Monnery Road is well placed for access to the wonderful mix of independent retailers on Fortess Road, the popular Soho House restaurants on Highgate Road, and the weekly farmer’s market at Parliament Hill. Nearby Tufnell Park station (Northern Line) and numerous local buses (numbers 134, 390 and 4) provide easy access to the City and the West End. Hampstead Heath is within walking distance, with its undulating walks, bathing ponds and tennis courts.
Tenure: Leasehold with Share of Freehold
Lease: approx. 999 years remaining
Service charge: none
Ground rent: none
Read our recent interview:Open House: Architect Simon Astridge breaks the mould with Clay House in Tufnell Park
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop
The Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop is an assemblage of skilled architects, designers and crafts-people, who contribute through a collaborative process in the delivery of its projects. It is far more than an award-winning architecture practice. Directed by Simon, Ruta and Beth lead the two Workshop project teams, Roger is the mentor, Sam supplies the porcelain, Luke manages the construction sites, Colin designs the kitchens, Emma makes the ceramics, Martin makes the metalwork, Nicholas records the projects, Guy renders the surfaces, Bill is the embroider, Patrick supplies the plants, Mark makes the joinery and so on.
The portfolio and skills of the practice extend across many scales and sectors, from residential, retail, education, restaurants and office design, to furniture and product design. It is the wisdom, material knowledge, working processes and dedication of the team that define the Workshop.