Teddington Folly

Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor Architects employs classical references for a domestic extension in west London


Ioana Marinescu

Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor Architects refers to its newly complete extension to a house in Teddington, west London, as a ‘folly’. The term seems apt, as the building’s doric facade – replete with two free-standing columns with creasing tile capitals – suggests a classical temple front, while its rugged, rough-textured construction and setting at one end of a long, narrow garden lend a bucolic air.


The ‘folly’ enlarges a Victorian terrace house, replacing an earlier extension. The remodelled ground floor now provides rooms in enfilade with a small library to the front, a pantry, kitchen, internal courtyard and dining room, and finally the new room with views into the south-facing garden.


Ground and first floor plans

The classical garden facade has pilasters suggested by protruding bricks and an entablature formed by precast concrete lintels. Its pyramid roof – intended to suggest a pediment when viewed from a distance – is clad with cedar shingles.

“A classical building is not ‘other’, but is a world within the world, and all classical buildings surely long to be temples”, says the architect. “We enjoy the capacity of classical architecture to have a strong physical presence while also operating on an emotional and suggestive level; the Teddington Folly belongs to the house, the garden and to the continuity of architectural culture in a way which is beyond the pragmatic and quotidian.”


Window and door joinery is of oak, with mirror inlaid into the mullions. Internally, Douglas fir flooring is inlaid with cast iron heating grilles, and the underside of the pyramid roof is of polished plaster, which brings subtle reflections of the garden into the house.


A wood-burning stove set within a brick chimney separates the new garden room from the adjacent dining room. A concrete ædicule, designed to house sculpture, has also been incorporated into the chimney, and was cast by the architects. The material palette is further expanded by natural stone, as honed slate is paired with stainless steel to make work surfaces on free-standing benches in the kitchen, and there is a grey saint laurent marble floor in the first-floor bathroom, which gives a view out over the shingled roof of the folly to the garden beyond.

Additional Images


Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor Architects
Structural engineer
Michael Barclay Partnership


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