The Vawdrey House

Addison Gardens London W14

Formerly divided into bedsits and used to house nuns from a local convent, this property was in much need of work when Isobel and Zac Nicholson bought it in 2010. Both busy with careers in film and television - Isobel as a producer, and Zac as a director of photography - they enlisted our help to transform the house.

'I couldn't bear even coming here when we bought it, and wasn't convinced it would ever feel like home.' recalls Isobel.

Having a quirky layout, which saw every room a few steps up from the last, it required some clever shuffles throughout to make the best use of every inch and build storage into every nook and cranny. The house was gutted from top to bottom, and a new side return extension with glass roof added to create a fabulous family entertaining space opening onto the garden.

The house now offers five bedrooms, two with ensuite showers, plus a family bathroom. Downstairs forms one open-plan living space and below is a basement utility, boot room and WC.

The front room is the more 'grown up' sitting room, accessed from the hallway by new double doors - these centre on the marble fireplace, enhancing the proportions of the original house. Previously a closed-off room on a separate level, a frameless glass balustrade now divides this living room from the lower kitchen and dining level below - allowing light to flood in from both sides.

Limed oak flooring runs throughout the ground floor, with a mainly neutral palette, accented by antiques and beautiful photography taken by Zac over the years.

The kitchen is a contemporary take on the farmhouse kitchen, complete with Aga and butler’s sink, but with a subdued palette and elegant honed Carrara marble surfaces. A large island and tall bi-fold doors make it a perfect space for entertaining.

With a carefully planned utility room in the formerly underused basement space, plus several storage areas fitted into the eaves and less useable areas of the basement, together with bike and bin storage in the front garden, the house neatly caters for the practicalities of family life. This is complemented by a perfect courtyard garden at the rear, complete with log store, herb garden and a built-in climbing frame and swing.

The master suite includes a dressing area and ensuite shower room, making clever use of the space with built-in wardrobes, recesses either side of the bed (instead of bedside tables), a large window seat in the box bay with drawers underneath, and display shelving around the recessed TV.

Decorative patterns and a rich palette of finishes have been used throughout, lending an individual elegance to each space.

Four new rooflights have transformed the stairwell and landings all the way down the house, and glazed slot windows throughout bring daylight into the deeper spaces. These are illuminated at night by concealed lighting for added effect. The previously gloomy top floor now provides a light-filled guest suite or apartment for a nanny, with flexible concealed storage.

The children's bedrooms include all the necessary storage for toys and clothes paired with fun wallpapers and flashes of colour, which can easily be updated as the children grow.

"Jennifer has impeccable taste, is an inspiration to work with and thinks of every detail."

Photography by Zac Nicholson

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More about us

Established by Jennifer Hamilton in 2012, The Vawdrey House offers a unique combination of bespoke design, strategic thinking and creative flair.

Now a RIBA Chartered Practice, we bring architecture and interior design together to create spaces which work for you from the inside out.

Jennifer Hamilton and Graeme Montague, two thirds of The Vawdrey House trio, have a shared history as Directors of award winning design consultancy MoreySmith, working with clients such as Sony Music, EMI Music, Cadbury and Channel 4 as well as on high end residential refurbishments.

Third partner Ian Chapman, a RIBA Chartered Architect, adds his expertise in contemporary architecture for exciting educational and public spaces.

Their combined experience of 55 years in the industry brings a level of professionalism and creativity to the design and management of your project which is invaluable.

Working across London and the South of England we have a growing portfolio of happy clients and inspiring spaces.

With a small, select team of designers and architects, The Vawdrey House is passionate about what we do and most of all, want you to love it too.

Whether for your home, or a public space, we take the time to get to know you, understand your requirements and find exciting design solutions for your project. Our 'top to toe' design approach involves bringing the client into the process, designing a space for you, with you.

Close affiliations with brand consultants plus graphic and web design teams mean we can also provide a fully coordinated scheme for your retail or business space, down to website, menus or signage, whatever is required.

We work closely with you throughout, following everything through to the smallest detail, and helping you through the process.
That is what we believe makes a great design, even better.

We are design-led, and like to review the way the whole building works, understanding how you use the spaces and suggesting functional and layout changes to improve the way the spaces work together. We design the exterior architecture, the internal layouts and all the interior design and fittings, right down to furniture and accessories. 

We progress the design in stages, working up the outline usually with a multitude of options in the first instance, then gradually firm up the scheme as you clarify which direction you want to go in. Once we have the overall scheme in place we work into the detail and start to specify every element, ending in a production package incorporating everything you need to tender and construct the project.

We can also manage the entire process for you, putting together the project team, gaining planning consent and party wall awards, finding contractors, tendering the works, managing the building contract and monitoring the works on site.

We stick with you to the end, ensuring all snagging is resolved, and produce a completion pack with all necessary certificates, guarantees, maintenance and supplier contact info so you have everything in one place.

Have a browse through our latest projects and see the end results!