Narrow house, Tufnell Park, London

At the Narrow House in Tufnell Park VELFAC slim framed windows, together with a bi-fold patio door, bring light and air into an innovative re-modelling of a former Victorian coach house.

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‘Although officially a renovation project, the Narrow House is really a new build,’ says Jeremy Foster, of J Foster Architects. ‘The only original feature is the brickwork street façade, retained because the project is built within a Conservation Area. Concealed behind is a brand new three storey contemporary home, designed to maximise the limited available space (the building is only 3m wide) and to emphasise natural light, sustainable design and low energy performance.’

The rear façade at the Narrow House is dominated by the bi-fold door, opening onto a patio, balanced by two pairs of large VELFAC window units in the upper storeys. The windows flood the open plan interior with light, enhanced by an actuator-operated VELUX integra rooflight.

As the rear of the Narrow House faces north it was vital to maximise natural light but this is just one reason why Jeremy specified VELFAC: ‘We wanted glazing which was high quality and durable, and having specified VELFAC for other projects I knew that the system could meet the brief. Composite frames deliver much better performance than many alternative widow designs, and the VELFAC system also offers slim frames, uniform sightlines, low U-values, and sustainable construction.’ Narrow House was also Jeremy’s first project to feature the bi-fold door: ‘I really like the design,’ he comments, ‘and will definitely specify the door in future projects.’

The double glazed VELFAC units deliver U-values of 1.15 W/m2K – greatly improving thermal performance - with integral trickle vents providing ventilation when windows and doors are closed. To meet fire safety regulations, VELFAC windows feature lockable restrictors and the VELUX integra rooflight is operated by a wall mounted control on the stair, with another by the front door. ‘These features allowed us to create a safe, compliant open plan interior with standard VELFAC and VELUX units,’ says Jeremy.

Inner VELFAC timber frames, finished in a clear water-based lacquer, actively complement white walls, concrete and wooden floors, and generous use of oiled oak. Each  window has also been set into a timber reveal limewashed to match the VELFAC frame. ‘External aluminium frames are finished in dark grey,’ adds Jeremy. ‘Our options were partly controlled by planning restrictions but the finish enables the window frames to complement the slate tile roof, and the colours of the neighbouring Victorian houses.’

Jeremy’s client moved into the Narrow House in early 2020 and is delighted with the end result, commenting: ‘JFA has created something wonderful from my narrow little house: generous spaces with natural light and finished to a very high standard.’



Sector: Renovation / new build

Architect: J Foster Architects ,

Photographs: © Agnese Sanvito

Specified for:

  • Slim frames for maximum daylight
  • Contemporary design
  • Low energy performance
  • Sustainable frame construction
  • Flexibility - different frame finishes, inside and out