The renovation projects that were shortlisted for London’s top architecture prize this year showed a combination of playfulness, practicality, and not pretension. Extensions and refits that are up for consideration for the New London Architecture (NLA), Don’t Move, Improving, were filled with backyard pergolas, polished plaster and curved joinery in pastel colours. Awards 2022, where project budgets ranged between GBP121,000 and GBP1,000,000. Lockdowns are still fresh in our minds, as well as ever-rising house prices and rising living expenses, space maximisation was another key theme. A futuristic, stacked sleep pod is among the finalists. There’s also a secret study on a light-filled landing that is separated by a hidden door. One house even has a swing. Each project brings its own unique wit and sensibility, to the perennial problem that old homes can feel larger than they are. “Coffey was joined by Kunle Barker, Sebastian Wood (founder of Whitby Wood engineers) and Amy Chadwick Till (NLA). The four narrowed down 200 submissions to a list of 15, which was published exclusively in H&P today. The block work was inspired by the Italianate style and was made in smooth grey concrete. There are also Romanesque green arched doors that lead into the garden. The original kitchen was dark and narrow, and it was not connected to the garden. It is now the bright and welcoming focal point of the family home. Conversion of Artist Studio KensingtonCost: GBP1,000,000 An artist’s studio was converted into a 4-bedroom house. The basement houses the bedrooms and bathrooms. It is illuminated by a three-storey well. The renovation is dominated by light and raw materials like exposed timber beams and polished plaster bathroom wall walls. The home is owned and maintained by a spiritualist family. The crystals scattered around the property give away this fact. READ MORERIBA London Award 2022: House inspired by Disneyland and neoGothic cottage up to top London architectural awardsHome is the place where the art is: How one vintage poster dealer updated a Sixties wreck at Forest Hill for the 21st Century.Bay Window House HackneyCost : GBP391,850The Victorian house’s basement has been enlarged by adding a taller space to create a dramatic contrast with a semicircular roof lantern. The curves don’t end there. A semi-circular staircase is lined with dark cherry wood and a porthole opens into the stairwell. This low-slung timber-framed house was constructed in 2009 in a back alley. It is surrounded by tall, protected period townhouses and old (protected), oak trees. The plot is semi-sunken, and has been transformed into an urban oasis with steps leading down to a terraced area. The clients refused to remove the old structure and wanted to make it a functional family home. Delivered by RuffArchitects Coffered house Herne hill. This loft conversion was built for an opera singer (the owner). The master bedroom is a generous length for the Victorian house, and has an en-suite bathroom with a dressing room-cum-bathroom. The interior joinery is finished with oak veneer and scalloped oak, with a coffered panel design at the wardrobe doors. The attic addition’s exterior is also coffered, and stands proudly against the rest. Proctor & Shaw Concrete plinthhouse by DGN Studio / Building NarrativesConcrete PlinthhouseHackney Cost: £300,000DGN Studio renovated a Victorian house that had a dark and isolated kitchen. A sunken concrete floor was used to raise the ceiling, creating a feeling of more light and space. A series of modern sash windows runs along the side return, in a nod towards the property’s age. The panelled, glazed doors at the rear lead to an excavated patio and then open onto the lawn. Curve Appeal East DulwichCost : GBP175,572Architects Nimtim looked into how to transform this 1920s house in East Dulwich into a fun family home. The kitchen and living rooms have bespoke wooden joinery. They also feature semi-circular shelving units and curved doors. This gives the home a unique look. Parents can peek through the cylindrical spaces to see little legs climbing up and down the stairs. These shelves are display cabinets for books and collectibles. Forest House by AOC/ David GrandorgeForest House Waltham ForestCost : GBP208,000. The owner-architects of this property renovated and extended this semidetached Victorian home by removing a single storey garage and creating a triple height kitchen, mezzanine workspace, and an attic space on top. The kitchen is decorated in bark features and the back wall is covered with woven hazel, to imitate nearby Epping Forest. The swing is visible in the hallway. Little Brownings Dulwich estate Cost: GBP240,000The bright yellow front door of Little Brownings has a steel pergola that allows her to walk under it. The kitchen replaces the original bin storage area that was typical of houses on the Dulwich Estate, built in the Sixties. While the house retains its original charm, the layout was reworked to make it more practical for family living. Here is where the new dining room table is located before the young owner and her housemate enter the kitchen. It features roof lanterns, and one side is glazed with an open breakfast bar. Fraher & Findlay Pergola House Lewisham cost: GBP160,000The name is clear. This timber-framed, single-storey extension in Lee Manor conservation area, designed by Benjamin Wilkes Architects, includes a series wooden ribs that separate the roof lights from the side extension. These ribs continue to form pergolas outside and are ready for planting. This will create a pleasant, shaded outdoor dining space. The new kitchen will have a warm, homey feel thanks to materials such as clay render and oak. Pink House North KensingtonCost : GBP695,000 A long wooden banister runs from the basement to the fourth level, connecting all spaces in this Victorian home. The basement now houses a kitchenette and guest bedroom, as well as a cinema room. Side and rear extensions offer space for a bright, new kitchen and dining area that are easily connected to the back yard. Materials were left as they were when possible. You’ll see Douglas Fir timber beams, polished concrete, and unfinished plasterwork. Design by Oliver Leech Architects Shoji Apartmentby Proctor and Shaw / Stale EriksenShoji ApartmentBelsizeParkCost: GBP121.498Remember your first London pad? Although it was small, the design was not nearly as impressive. The micro apartment has a kitchen-dining area, a living space with a bay window, and a separate bathroom. It also includes a Japanese-inspired sleep pod. The wooden steps lead up to the suspended bed in the translucent pod that has sides that can slide backwards. It can also be closed off and kept secret from the rest. Proctor & ShawSlide Architects / Andy StaggSlide Architects / Slot HouseEnfield LockCost : GBP201 830This 19th century cottage, which was once a factory worker, was in danger of falling apart. There was no window on its rear facade. Ashton Porter Architects saved the cottage and made it a three-bedroom family home. The dining area can be flipped back completely to create an ultimate inside-outside space. It flows into a lawned backyard backing onto the canal.Transitions Forest HillCost : GBP175,000 Two small extensions at the rear were made and the ground floor was reconfigured to create a lighter, more connected home. An exterior terrace with a landscaped design was also created. In May, the category finalists will be announced and the overall winner will also be announced.