Harringey, London: Victorian Gatehouse

Penny Talelli has a passion for cutting-edge contemporary architecture, while husband Mark Edwards loves period buildings. Somehow, these two neurologists want to build a family home that satisfies both their tastes. But will it be the best of both worlds or just an appalling mishmash? Taking the plunge, they buy a derelict Victorian gatehouse on a very steep hill in north London, that currently sits abandoned and unloved. The plan is to restore it, paint it white, and then add a giant black zinc-clad box at the back, marrying their love of old and new. But they run into problems. The gatehouse needs knocking down. Excavating the sloping site takes longer than expected. Increasingly struggling to balance their busy working lives with project managing the build, the future of Penny and Mark's unconventional home hangs in the balance.

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