The Vawdrey House

Canfield Gardens London NW6

Within the red-brick walls of this handsome West Hampstead townhouse every square foot is precious. Home to a bestselling author, who writes from the kitchen table, her work-from-home husband and teenage daughters, plus a dog, two guinea pigs and two cats, the challenge was to find cohesion, flexibility and functionality, all within a calm and contemporary styled interior.

The couple had bought the Victorian property in stages: the lower floor maisonette nearly twenty years ago and the upper floor flat several years later. The two maisonettes had been put back together and DIY interior design experiments followed the building work. The results had fallen flat and the house felt cluttered.

Initially the project was to renovate the ground floor but, impressed by our designs, the whole house was restructured over an eight-month period. 

Across the four floors of the house, we have carefully remodelled and fully refurbished, and by removing partitions, adding large sliding doors and creating additional bathrooms, we have provided a flexible and personal home for modern family living. 

  

The ground floor has been completely re-planned, with the main partition wall re-positioned to create a cosier living room to the rear, with a larger kitchen and dining area at the front of the house.

The functions of these areas have been flipped: dining now takes place in the bay window, and the kitchen is positioned in the centre.

By opening up the wall to the hallway the full width of the house is brought in to the kitchen, enabling space for a central island, which would otherwise not have been possible.

A wall-sized sliding door means late-night parties need not disturb sleeping children (or indeed sleeping parents!) This provides the perfect panelled backdrop to the dining area when standing open, and slides closed on an exposed ‘barn door’ runner as needed. 

The bespoke kitchen has subtle shaker styling and is painted a rich blue to complement the deep tone of the hardwood parquet ( first installed when the owners moved in and now carefully restored).

Brass accents here, and throughout the house, give warmth and a relaxed vibe.

The island is raised off  the floor on delicate legs, giving it the feel of a kitchen table – despite it housing ovens and hob. The black and white tiled extractor hood drops down over the island, hinting more towards Soho tapas bar than suburban kitchen.

The window seat features sumptuous patterned velvet cushions which pick up on the original stained glass above. The extendable oval table allows family dining to turn to full-scale entertaining with minimal effort. 


To the now more intimate living room, we added a recessed fireplace and more hidden doors. The doors give the option of closing the living room from the rest of the house when necessary, while retaining the open-plan lifestyle and front-to-back view. 

A collection of carefully selected furnishings blend with the eclectic items gathered by the clients over the years, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere. 

The newly black-painted staircase leads down to more geometric cement tiles and ochre walls. Clever layout adjustments on this floor have transformed it from an abandoned storage area into daily use.

The utility room, created from a small store area, is entirely new. The original stained glass adds a jewelled reflection on the ceiling. 

Two central bathrooms, left over from the house’s previous incarnation as two flats, have been transformed and reconfigured. They now form a stunning cloakroom off the hall and an ensuite for the refurbished guest room.

The room at the rear was an indistinct TV room. This is now the principal home office with direct garden access and exposed painted brick wall, a move that has freed up bedroom space on the first floor. 

Upstairs the first floor now features two large bedroom suites each with their own shower room. By sacrificing a small amount of space from the large rear room we have added a new en-suite shower room, tucked under the stairs and accessed from a dressing room lobby. 

In the bedrooms bespoke built-in wardrobes and book-shelves, each with their own distinct style, maximise space. 

Distinct tiling schemes in each of the five bathrooms bring personality and richness, while the simple and consistent sanitaryware ties them together. Un-lacquered brass taps continues the informal warmth within the house.

On the top floor a dividing partition has been removed to create one large bedroom from two small rooms, restoring the proportions of the original window and lofty ceilings.

The top floor bathroom has also been extended to provide space for a walk-in shower and full-size bath-tub. Crisp geometric tiles are offset by a wall of bronzed antique mirror that conceals storage cupboards. 

"From the moment I saw their work, by chance in an interiors magazine, I knew I wanted The Vawdrey House to design my home, and every moment of working with them has been a joy. We now have a home that meets our family’s varied needs and wants – whether working, socialising or relaxing. It’s a constant delight."

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More about us

Established by Jennifer Hamilton in 2012, The Vawdrey House is an award winning RIBA Chartered Practice which offers a unique combination of bespoke design, strategic thinking and creative flair. We bring both 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 60 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!