Makers House, a personally crafted home designed by architects Liddicoat & Goldhill in London, has earned itself a place on the RIBA House of the Year shortlist. 

As well as designers, the architects played the role of entrepreneurs – nurturing the house from its birth as a speculative development within a terrace of semi-detached villas, to securing finance, and then appreciating the cheerful character and texture they spent so long working on over four years by spending a spell there as residents, before finally selling.

There’s nothing conventional about this house – set across four levels that segue and split, dividing up activity organically, with new materials and colours in every space – yet it still has all the characteristics of a good home – warmth, expression and, it’s one of a kind.

Makers House facade

The Makers House exterior. Photography: Simon Watson

Each architectural element reflects the inventive nature of its makers, from reveal treatments, to exposed joists and unique handrail treatments. Creating their own brief allowed the house to become a canvas for the architects to explore their own ideas of what domestic architecture should be. 

The plan is unconventional, yet intuitive. The street-level entry opens up into a living space, with steps leading down to the kitchen and dining space and garden beyond. Below ground, there’s a basement den and utility room. Meanwhile, the top two levels hold bedroooms and bathrooms.

The house fits comfortably with its neighbours, yet also stands out as a maverick on the street. The overhanging roofs match the surrounding domestic architecture, and while the sloping roof meets planning rules, it also rises to the same surprising, yet high quality approach seen across the whole house. §

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