Stepped House

A four-bedroom two-storey detached house, developed across the rear of three under-utilised back gardens in North London to create a new low carbon emission home.

The charred timber-clad building sits low into the site, almost invisible from the streets around and the neighbouring conservation area. Two triangular double-height living spaces with stepped, green roofs are lit from above with strip skylights. These spaces flank a two-storey cubic form that contains four bedrooms and three bathrooms.



  • Private client
  • Architects: vPPR Architects
  • Structural Engineer: Engineers HRW
  • Services: Hive Design
  • Quantity Surveyor:  Geoff Beardsley and Partners
  • Party Wall:  Fareed Fetto and Associates
  • Arboricultural:  CBA Trees
  • Approved Inspector: Bureau Veritas
  • Photography © Ioana Marinescu

“Stepped House by vPPR is an imaginative and spacious north London home, carved out of a tricky, urban infill site”

Ellie Stathaki, Wallpaper Magazine


The unusual diamond-shaped plan is generated by extending the existing building lines from the surrounding street pattern. By making use of the building’s geometry, the house is divided into three sections with a varying roof profile that breaks up the mass of the house, whilst providing visual interest for the neighbouring properties in the form of stepped planted roofs.

On each side of the house, doors and windows look onto private sunken gardens with similar stepped landscaping to the green roofs, which slope up from the boundary edges.  The house and gardens were carefully positioned to step over the roots of large protected trees surrounding the site.

The building is clad with charred timber boards, creating a contemporary yet subtle appearance. The pattern is carried through into the concrete formwork, which bears an imprint of the same boards. In contrast to the low visual profile of the external appearance, the internal spaces are striking in their geometry: the visual impact of the two triangular communal rooms is accentuated by exposed zigzag roof beams over the double height spaces.

Site Plan

Exploded Axonometric

Lower Ground Floor Plan
Ground Floor Plan
Roof Plan