Fresh outlook for Bearsden extension

An extension didn’t just give this house more space, it added grace, balance and harmony – and some stunning new views

On my tour of the Kennedy family’s home, there’s one recurring phrase that I note. “It’s a quiet extension,” repeats Lynn, as we move from room to room. This was the way that architect Chris Platt from studioKAP described the addition to the Victorian blond sand­stone villa in Bearsden, in one of Glasgow’s most coveted conser­va­tion areas. At first, it seems odd to assign human qualities to a building but, now that I’ve witnessed the transformation, it is a fitting description of the understated elegance of this simple family home.
The Kennedys – Lynn, Gary and their three sons – have lived here for 18 years and, while the property was great when the boys were young, these days they need a lot more space. Initially, they thought they would move: they even put in a bid on another property. But, when their offer was unsuccessful, they decided to stay put and alter their existing home.
“We started the process with a different architect and got quite far, to the point where we were ready to submit the plans to the council,” says Lynn. “But we felt that the architect was not very enthusiastic about what we were looking for.”
Meanwhile, they’d spotted another extension project taking place along the road; admiring from a distance the work that was under way there, Lynn began making enquiries and soon set up a meeting with the practice in question, studioKAP. “Chris Platt was immediately enthusiastic,” she recalls. “We spent a lot of time talking, and a model was made of our planned extension to illustrate why it wouldn’t work. Chris helped us to envisage things we hadn’t been able to see ourselves.”
This is the cornerstone of studioKAP’s ethos: its methods necessitate a close working relationship with clients. It is an approach that has produced a portfolio of award-winning projects. “We listened carefully to what Gary and Lynn said and how they said it,” explains Chris, director of studioKAP and professor at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow. “This is not a passive process; it involves a lot of concentration, reading between the lines and asking questions.”

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 96-104, issue 95.

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Words Catherine Coyle
Photography Keith Hunter
What A restored and extended five-bedroom Victorian villa
Where Bearsden, Glasgow
Architect Christopher Platt and Paul Mann, studioKAP
Contractor Standard Construction
Timescale Initial meeting, July 2010; completed, spring 2013