The house that cork built: is this the ultimate eco-friendly material?

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Using cork to clad an extension – inside and out – was a speedy, sustainable and affordable choice for this family home

When Dan Barber and Hat Margolies bought a two-bed Victorian terrace house in 2013, the entire building needed an overhaul. It had leaky pipes, asbestos and rattling windows; and it needed rewiring, new radiators and a new boiler. Wind whistled through the front room floorboards. “The light and proportions made it really special but there were no original features – the fireplaces had long gone,” says Margolies, a photographic agent with an eye for vintage furniture.

But the couple saw it as a chance to make their new home, in south London, as eco-friendly as they could: to conserve energy, and recycle and reuse as much as possible. They lived with the house as it was for five years, during which time their second daughter was born, and then employed NimTim architects to transform it on a tight budget.

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