Isobel Diamond
Editorial writing for Guardian magazine.jpg

Guardian magazine feature: Fraher Architects' home

Editorial writing for Guardian magazine.jpg

My feature written about the home of architects, Lizzie and Joe Fraher, was published in the Guardian Saturday magazine and online. It’s available to read, in full here or there’s a sample below. Happy reading!

Guardian Saturday Magazine 18.02.18

Open house: how two architects let their imagination run wild

Wrapped around the internal walls of this London house, like high-water marks, are painted grey lines indicating where the original floors, ceilings and skirting boards were. “We wanted visitors to understand the changes we’ve made,” explains owner Lizzie Webster.

These changes are substantial. Instead of a long hallway, you are greeted head-on by a storage seat and a mustard yellow pegboard for coats and bags. To the right is a door to a large open-plan living space and kitchen, with a concrete floor. The stairs – made of Douglas fir – now sit diagonally in the centre of this space, twisting up the house. Dark corridors that led off the old staircase have been opened up into usable living spaces. An outline of the previous stairs is now picked out in yellow on floor-to-ceiling cupboard doors. Webster and her husband Joe Fraher, both architects, dropped the ground floor level by 60cm (2ft), which allowed them to increase the ceiling heights throughout the house, including in a converted loft.

The original two-up two-down layout now has four bedrooms (they live here with their daughters Claudia, five, and Orla, three). The first-floor landing is a study for Webster, and the second floor – the former loft – is a play area.

“I love being at the centre of the house when I’m at my desk,” says Webster. “I get to hear all the goings-on in the kitchen, when Joe is looking after the girls, and to look out over the garden. We wanted to challenge the traditional Victorian terrace layout and adapt it for modern family life. We were more experimental than we would be for clients – it was our test bed for new ideas.”