Architect Patrick Michell and his partner, Claire McKeown, bought a three-bed house in Hackney, east London. The area boasts handsome terraces, but this house, a boarded-up former crack den, was in a sorry state. Fires had ripped through two rooms and there was a shabbily psychedelic paint scheme. Bailiffs had removed any character features that were left.
But to an architect wanting to make a property his own, it was perfect. "If there had been period features, we'd have worked more sensitively with them, but because it had all gone, we were free to give it a modernist slant," says Michell, 32.
He opened up the two front receptions, and transformed and expanded the narrow kitchen space at the back with a glass roof across the side return. The glass is one huge single piece, appearing to balance unaided on a wall of stone. The back wall is largely glass, too, with a ceiling-high, pivoting glass door to the garden and a glass box punched into the wall to create an appealing window seat. In summer, sunlight streams in, while at night trees tower in silhouette above your head. With a concrete floor inside extending out to the patio, the design aims to merge the two spaces.