Inside the playful north-east London extension inspired by Epping Forest that’s just won a top renovation award

Geoff Shearcroft and Gillian Lambert have an extra-wide Victorian hallway that is extra wide. A swing is attached to a blue metal ceiling beam, and hangs in front of the kitchen’s entrance. You can’t miss it. Underfoot, light parquet flooring is laid with a long wooden bench to the left for shoes. The Buzz and Woody figurines from Toy Story are carefully placed on top of another piece bespoke cabinetry in this hallway. The Highams Park playhouse for adventure and experimentation is a east London rite-of-passage. Margot, six, and Jackson, 14, moved from Clapton to Walthamstow in 2015. Lambert describes it as a “rite-of-passage” as east London families move to the suburbs in search of more space. They bought a semidetached Victorian home in Highams Park for?620,000. This bogstandard house was transformed into Forest House after a complete renovation that cost in the region?200,000. It was the winner of the Unique Character award in New London Architecture’s “Don’t Move, Improve!” program. After a mid-Covid renovation that cost in the region of?200,000, this bogstandard home was transformed into Forest House. This is the winner of the Unique Character accolade in New London Architecture’s Don’t Move, Improve! Shearcroft is Shearcroft’s next job. They acquired a large garden that was big enough to house the dog, several rabbit runs, hutches, as well as a caravan that needed restoration. They also had Epping Forest right at their doorstep, which inspired their renovation. “We were fascinated with the forest and enjoy spending time there. During lockdowns, we went there every day for space and play as well as immersion in the natural world. Lambert, who co-owns architectural practice AOC with Shearcroft, says that they wanted their home to capture the essence and beauty of the woods. It was submitted to the DMI Awards. The kitchen’s bright green colour is meant to imitate the color of lichen. Juliet Murphy. Inspire by nature. A single-storey garage at the end of the terrace was removed to make way for a three storey stacked wrap-around extension. Lambert says that a variety of greens creates the bustling calm of the forest. The bright green used in the kitchen is intended to imitate the colour of lichen. The rough bark wall and smooth cork ply are made from tiles sourced from Siesta Cork Tiles in Croydon ( She says that cork is definitely in fashion. There are highlights around the house, and then in certain spaces (the kitchen), the volume is turned up as if you are next to a tree. “The rear facade is covered in woven hazel, giving it a wicker basket effect. This frames large, glazed panels over a concrete plinth, which adds texture, variation, and a solid foundation. Lambert gives the impression that they are testing the hazel wood for sustainability and will monitor its weathering. The mezzanine studio has exposed wooden beams, which can be used by any member of your family to create anything, from architectural drawings to LEGO construction. “The Lego and paints have been stored in a separate area from the grown-up stuff so that it doesn’t feel like an offices. Laptops can be quickly thrown away and anyone can take over the space. You can quickly put away laptops and anyone can take over the space. Awards: London’s top 15 renovations and extensions are up for the top architecture award. How YouTube helped a couple renovate their south London home on a budget. How one architect turned a bed-and-breakfast into a sustainable family home. You will walk up the stairs and pass through doors into different rooms and sections. The landing houses a smaller guest room that can be converted into a teenage bedroom if Orla needs to escape her younger siblings. It is painted in Obsidian Green by Little Greene and is where the couple have their morning coffee. The family can gather in the evening to read or listen to music, and it gets the natural light from the morning. The lanterns are placed in the roof’s voids, allowing for glimpses of the sky. The back of the house offers views over the surrounding gardens to Epping Forest. Forest House is not just a tribute to the woods in style and name. The couple also considered the effects of their project on the surrounding natural environment. She explains that the new roof and dormer are well-insulated to provide a warm hat to the house. The extension’s polished concrete floor, which has underfloor heating, has been sufficient to keep the need for radiators in the upper floors to an absolute minimum. The kitchen’s structural totem is covered with art and height markers as the children grow taller. It’s almost like an extra family member. Lambert requested that a smiley face be carved into the handle of the wooden doors to the pantry and bike shop in the old garage. She says, “Even though this house is full of activity, you can always locate your own space.” There are many places to retreat for our family of five and no one goes. How to create a family home that feels welcoming and comfortable. Display children’s toys alongside adult work items, if space allows.