The Secret Garden Flat

Nic Howett Architect

Southwark, 2023

Home of the Year

Needing more space for a family, with unaffordable property prices, and a reluctance to relocate, The Secret Garden Flat was self built by the architect and his partner to extend their home on a limited budget. Located behind a shop in a Victorian terrace on Camberwell Road, they have remodelled a small awkward flat, moving the emphasis of living away from a busy main road to the garden behind. Self building with a palette of simple and modest materials that could be crafted with their own hands, they have added a new bedroom and a secluded garden studio where both can work from home. These new additions now sit comfortably amongst the palimpsest of alterations and development to neighbouring buildings. The end result is a flexible home that the whole family can enjoy for years to come.

“Both the bedroom extension and garden studio are enveloped by the garden which was an important outcome for us. The garden is large for our inner city location, and one of the reasons we were drawn to the flat initially. We have cultivated it over the decade we have lived here and created an oasis from the busy urban thoroughfare our home is located on; we grow flowers for pollinators (and pleasure) and food for ourselves. Before the build our garden and basement flat were disconnected, now indoors and outdoors interact in a way that makes them inseparable, providing outdoor family living space in the summer, a quiet and serene work space sheltered by neighbouring trees, and immersion in the changing seasons from the comfort and warmth of our bed.”