New London Architecture

Live / work balance: Terrazzo Studio

Thursday 20 May 2021

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly

‘This was a case where it really came to life as he was explaining the scheme and showing us around. The back story is the important part’ – Karen Stylianides, Editor, Grand Designs and Don’t Move, Improve! Judge.

Terrazzo Studio by Sonn Studio has won the Working From Home Design of the Year prize, sponsored by Day True. The scheme is a striking end of garden studio and workshop in Hackney that was designed and self-built by the architect. The project aimed to add an additional area of work, living and creative space to a one-bedroom garden flat.

The build resulted in a tropical oasis within a Victorian terrace street, consisting of a studio space that doubles as a guest bedroom and a hidden functional workshop to the rear. Bespoke forest green terrazzo cladding wraps around the building, grey micro-cement flooring, dark stained cork and dense tropical landscaping result in an urban tropical haven.

The Terrazzo Studio is a project designed by architect and owner of Sonn Studio Tim Robinson for himself at the end of his garden in Hackney.

This would provide both a place in which to work, but also extra space and potentially sleeping space for guests to add to his small, one-bed flat in a Victorian terrace. Since he designed and built it himself (‘a lot of YouTube’), all the costs were down to materials used, save for a little help on plastering and electrics. 

A polished concrete floor runs from inside to the outside of the main, underfloor-heated space, with a small seating and drinks area at the front, and the main working space and ‘floating’ desk directly behind fully openable glazed doors. To the rear is a slot window and mirror with planting to create an illusion of depth, while a pull-down bed emerges from the rear wall to turn it into a spare room and guest space, complete with storage space and curtains in a recessed track that push back into a slot. A concealed workshop space for the owner’s business sits to the side, bathed in light from a rooflight, while the forest green, ridged and flat cladding panels for the entire structure were made on-site from a water-based resin called Jesmonite to give a flecked, terrazzo-look to the building.

Homeowner Emma Foreman and architect and homeowner Tim Robinson from Sonn Studio


We are really chuffed to congratulate Sonn Studio with their Terrazzo Studio project on winning the WFH Design of the Year award 2021,
As true believers in creating better lives, this end of garden space has been transformed into a tropical oasis offering functional solutions- a perfect space for living, working, and socialising. Located on a victorian terraced street, the design contrasts against the nature of the environment, offering a sense of escapism and release from London life (let’s face it, we all know how busy and overwhelming this can feel).
A massive well done to Sonn Studio, we love the design! From all the Day True team. 

Comments from the Architect/Homeowner

‘A lot of the inspiration for myself was around Mayan/Mexican-type architecture and also with the Terrazzo an Italian-type Monayism. They were the key inspirations for me when I was producing it’.
‘I wanted to test and experiment and try out different ideas. I think that was key for me to do this.’
‘We spent just under £25,000. What do I think I spent in ‘sweat equity’? Double! Easy’


Sonn Studio

Tim Robinson

Sarah Burton Fielding

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly


Day True




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