Covert House

A new family home for architects Deborah Saunt and David Hills of DSDHA. We worked with DSDHA on the early concept design stages of the project and then with Knox Bhavan to deliver the details for construction. The site, within a conservation area in Clapham Old Town, was subject to strict planning constraints, limiting the new house to a single storey above ground. The existing trees and planning constraints also limited the location on site, so to create the required space a full basement was needed. 

Access was shared with the existing house on the site and passed under a narrow porte cochere so delivery of large items or use of large machines was not possible. The contractor was selected based on their ability to deal with the restricted site and experience in concrete construction. 

The basement was formed with piles and a concrete lining wall to the perimeter of the building and adjoining lightwells. The structure, including the roof is carefully detailed concrete; internally, many of the high quality polished concrete finishes remain exposed, including on the bespoke white concrete cantilevered staircase. Heat recovery systems, rainwater harvesting and solar panels give an environmental performance in line with Passivhaus standards.

Completed 2014.

Project Information


Deborah Saunt and David Hills



Enabling Architect (Construction)

Knox Bhavan


Hélène Binet

Charles Hosea


RIBA London Award 2016