This house in Brook Green was a wreck when bought by our clients in 2011. Empty for some years, it was the last on the street to be modernised. Both creative people and experienced in renovating houses together, they had taken it on as an investment with a view to capturing the high-end rental market.
For this development, they chose to work with The Vawdrey House to ensure the property got, not only the benefit of their own practical experience, but also a bit of extra sparkle - something they felt had been lacking in some of their previous developments. 'People always said "Oh this is lovely", but they never said "WOW"!’ recalls the owner, of some properties they had renovated in the past.
We felt it was important to retain the traditional feel of the rooms at the front of the house and to hang on to as many period features as we could, in order to ensure the finished spaces did not lose their character. However, the overall feel was always going to be contemporary, and at the back, the house opens up onto crisply detailed architectural spaces.
The whole house has been reconfigured, with the addition of a new basement; a ground-floor rear extension; plus a mansard roof conversion with Juliet balcony. It now offers six bedrooms, four bathrooms and a flexible layout, which is perfect for today's discerning London family.
The ground floor now features a dramatic central lobby, created within the darker internal room, which is often the product of a rear extension in these London terraces. Entered through elegant double doors, this book-lined haven acts as entrance hall, library and additional living space, with potential as a study area, music room or den - whatever the family needs.
Square-cut dark timber reveals lead through to the formal lounge at the front of the house and the family kitchen-dining space at the rear. The period features are offset by raft ceilings with concealed lighting, and the library and timber panelling provide a modern take on the traditional.
Light floods into the rear kitchen extension via an oversized rooflight, while tall glazed doors lead to the garden.
The garden has been landscaped with oak sleepers, and softened with classic English border planting with a swing seat looking back at the house. The rear façade features cedar cladding at ground level, with lead clad dormers in the new mansard roof and a frameless glass balcony.
Below ground, the basement excavation forms a flexible 9m x 5.5m reception room with fantastic natural light and high ceilings. This large room is softened by bespoke linen wall panelling and features a built-in projection system for film nights.
The luxurious master suite offsets the period features of the bedroom at the front of the house, with a more contemporary dressing room and ensuite bathroom behind. Sliding etched glass doors with leather wrapped handles link the two rooms, and the language of the dark timber door reveals continues at this level.
The variety of tones and textures of white used throughout the house ensures that while the palette is neutral, it is never bland.
The new top floor offers an additional bedroom suite with balcony and rooftop views. A rooflight, coupled with glazed slot windows to the bathroom, brings light into the stairwell and down through the house.
With a clever ground-floor utility/cloakroom arrangement; large storage areas in the roof and basement; bicycle racks in the front garden; plus masses of built-in storage throughout, all the day-to-day practicalities of family life are well covered.
"The creativity which The Vawdrey House has introduced has been invaluable and has significantly increased the value of the property. We found tenants very quickly and the house is achieving a very good rental return for this area."
Photography by Siobhan Doran
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