The Vawdrey House

First Avenue London SW14

This interesting terraced 'cottage' in leafy Barnes was looking tired and in serious need of an overhaul when our client bought it in 2012. Occupying a prime spot near the river, and with a south facing garden and a quirky layout, it had great potential to become a contemporary family home.

Various owners had made changes over the years, which were largely unsuccessful. Due to the staggered levels in the house, for example, the existing roof conversion had created only small areas of standing room.

The master bathroom was on a lower level to the master bedroom and uncomfortably linked via a narrow door and three steep steps, while the ground floor layout had been left awkward and disjointed.

Our strategy for the house was to retain the stairwell and the front four rooms addressing the street in their current proportions and with their period details, while reconfiguring and streamlining the rear part of the house around them.

The new areas are fully insulated and double-glazed. Automated lighting, heating and AV control systems operate from a KNX system, with control panels throughout the house.

The entire back wall and most of the upper floors were rebuilt, with a new rear extension creating a family entertaining space, opening onto the garden.

The Corian kitchen conceals all mod cons behind flush, handleless doors, and includes a larder, a motorised curtain that covers the whole rear wall and a walk-in utility and laundry area with downstairs WC.

Slot rooflights in the rear extension, bring in daylight and are illuminated at night, while a glazed pocket sliding door gives access to the garden on one side, with bifold doors opening up on the other.

A large sliding panel with bookshelf print on the reverse can be located to close-off the lounge or hallway, or both. When not in use, it provides a contrasting backdrop for the crisp white kitchen.

The character of the front rooms has been retained, offering a private study or reading room and, opening from the main living area, a 'grown up' lounge to retreat to in the evenings.

Upstairs, the master suite includes a dressing room, bedroom and a newly configured ensuite. Within the ensuite, the floor level has been raised to reduce the step change to the master, and new, shallower Iroko steps now centre on the window.

A poured resin floor and Corian bath surround provide a seamless feel, and a clever layout means a separate bath, a walk-in shower and a large vanity unit are accommodated within a small space. Iroko accents in the shower slats and vanity unit, coupled with LED lighting at low level in the shower, give a spa feel.

The new mansard roof conversion, with lead clad dormers and large contemporary windows, follows the varying ridgeline of the house, gaining a successful 2.7m head height in the main top-floor bedroom. Internally, the staircase has been opened up to form a new second-floor landing with slot roof light - transforming the feel of the house.

The further bathrooms are treated to a similar palette of materials, all with resin floor and Iroko, but with coloured mosaics bringing in a fun element.

The new top-floor bedroom provides a brilliant split-level teenage hangout, with a 1.8m high window looking out over the garden, while the girl's room is a dream bedroom, complete with vintage armoire and fairy lights.

"The Vawdrey House worked closely with me in every detail, including the sourcing of all furniture and art; meaning that the house truly feels like my own."

Photography by Siobhan Doran

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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!