Portfolio project
Walker House remodel

Thibaut Devulder

The existing house

Our clients are now finalising the site work on our remodel of their home in Eidsvoll, Norway.

We were originally approached by the clients in 2011, to reorganise a family house that has become overcrowded for their family of five and — more importantly — to create a modern comfortable home they would be proud of.

The clients' brief

The model of the surveyed house

Already extended once, this house was in fact spacious enough for the family. Yet the existing layout made poor use of the internal space: stiffly compartmenting into disconnected rooms, the floor plans created several "dead areas" on key locations of the three levels, which were mostly left unused by its inoccupants or barely used for storage.

The existing services were obsolete and poorly placed — with no bathroom on the ground floor for instance — and the clients were eager to upgrade the building fabric and technical installations as part of the remodelling exercise. Summer overheating and noise from the increasing overhead airport traffic were particularly problematic.

Conscious that their three teenage sons would be soon leaving the family home, the parents were also willing to remodel the house so that the upper floor could easily be isolated from their accessible quarters on the ground floor in the coming years, to be rented out to tenants with minimum additional work.

All these had to be address with minimum alterations to the exterior of the building, to fit the budget and the local planning rules.

Unlocking the flow

After a detailed survey of the existing house, we identified key factors breaking the flow through the house. These were tackled by a series of strategic moves that could unlock the potential of the space in a cost effective way. At the core of the approach was to clarify the organisation of public and private spaces, and how these flowed into one another.

A few key changes to the internal building fabric allowed us to both connect the spaces for greater flexibility in use (to host large family events, for instance) and respond to the need for privacy between the different parts of the house.

 Creating an experience

Altering the floor plans was the first move to transform this home. We extended this approach to carefully select interior materials and light fittings, to suggest and emphasize the new relationships between the spaces.

Entering the house, the visitor is drawn further into the spaces by a series of focal points revealing themselves progressively from different viewpoints as the house is explored, linking the social spaces and the large garden outdoors.

Improving comfort

The timber structure was fully re-insulated internally, using high density natural wood fibre insulation to improve all year round thermal comfort and dampen external noise. Comfort was further improved by replacing the existing windows with hi-spec new low-energy and noise reduction glazing.

With minimal changes to the existing drainage system, two new family bathrooms and a guest toilet were added to the ground and first floors. Connected to a new centralised ventilation system, they dramatically improve indoor air quality in a quiet and energy efficient way.

Working in close collaboration with the clients, with their in-depth knowledge of every corner of the house and the way it was constructed, allowed very detailed design and planning of all the alterations, while keeping building costs low.