The Vawdrey House

Sterndale Road London, W14

Our clients originally approached us to help them with a basement project, wishing to add additional bedroom and living space to their Victorian terrace with much needed utility and storage space included. As the design developed the brief grew with it to encompass the entire house - refurbishing the existing bedroom levels and completely remodelling the ground floor and rear facade too.

The house now provides 7 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 4 reception rooms, a study, a wine room plus lots of clever storage and utility spaces.

The design of the house almost has two faces - smart period rooms at the front with their expansive bay windows flooding the spaces with light, featuring traditional proportions and deep and enveloping colour schemes - linking through to striking new contemporary areas in the ground floor rear kitchen, garden and newly excavated basement.

Strong black textures and highlights run throughout the house, and delicate accents of metallic copper and brass run from area to area - linking the house together as a complete composition such as the ironmongery on the rear glazing to the light fittings in the front reception room.

Our clients, from the fashion and financial industries, were already design savvy and wanted the best of contemporary style and quality for their new spaces. They were keen to remain involved throughout the design process and ensure they were making the right choices and spending their money in the right places.

'From the start, the decision-making was made easy - funnelled from broad to detailed, and there was always room for personal input and preferences. The Vawdrey House's professional insight has been a great asset throughout the process.’ says Helene.

By closing off the original living room door from the hall, and adding pocket sliding doors to the dining room, we have opened up the space, and provided a more coherent flow to the house.

The old living room door alcove as been utilised for clever hallway storage and a recessed radiator - ensuring the full width of the hall can be enjoyed on entering.

We were keen to retain the original panelling under the staircase, but wanted to introduce more light to the new basement stair - so have infilled the panels with fire rated glass. This, coupled with a hidden pocket door, ensures the fire strategy for the building is met, while maintaining the most light and open plan feel.

At the rear of the ground floor the feel changes as you step down onto polished concrete and enter the sleek, monochrome kitchen.

Bespoke Corian cabinetry is set against sandblasted black stained timber cladding and a pale limed oak joinery box acts as the centre point to the space. Black polished plaster forms the splashback and light fittings by Moooi, Flos and Gubi punctuate the space.

The courtyard garden is a perfect example of what is possible to achieve within a tight urban space. The sweet chestnut cladding of the rear facade continues round to become the fence - making a sleek outdoor room. The industrial style glazing enhances the urban feel, and offsets the sleek white Corian and polished concrete within.

The landscaping of the garden itself was designed by the client, and softens the architectural elements beautifully.

Down the bespoke oak staircase into the new basement, a back-lit handrail promises something special.

These bold and monochromatic spaces are complete with polished concrete flooring, sandblasted black stained oak panelling, white Corian, white walls and clever lighting features throughout.

The stairs open out into the sleek lobby area - which conceals a multitude of storage and utilities for family life.

Every convenience is included in the new utility and basement storage area - but all cleverly concealed behind flush spray finish cupboards, and within the central island unit - so guests are not privy to the inner workings of the household.

Beyond a flush hidden door lies a separate suite for a nanny or guests - complete with dressing room and ensuite, coupled with full height bay windows into a tiled and decked light well.

The striking charcoal timber lined corridor links the utility lobby and the main basement reception room - adding to the drama as you journey from one brightly lit space to another - flooding with daylight from the full width rooflight at the end of the basement.

The corridor panelling conceals a glamorous guest shower room, a sumptuous red and black wine rooms and yet more storage offering the equivalent of the loft and garden sheds you are so often left without in these urban terraces.

The main reception room offers both guest accommodation and a family home cinema room - and of course offering the eponymous teenage hang out according to need.

The master suite has been given a luxe upgrade and the palette of black timbers carried on with a bespoke headboard and glamorous master bathroom. A dressing area has been created within the previous bathroom space and a mix of vintage tiles and textures combine with crisp clean lines to ensure a relaxed but high end feel.

A well planned study has been created within one of the upper floors for Helene to run her own landscape design business, offering felt pin up wall, and bespoke shelving with access out onto a decked roof terrace for inspiration.

On the higher levels of the house the quirky loft spaces have been maximised, and plenty of clever, compact bathrooms fitted in - to accommodate the family, and their three children. A simple palette of polished Mortex plaster and vintage style Belgian tiles runs through all the bathrooms, reflecting the crisp concrete floors of the ground floor and basement.

Built in storage and fun design touches ensure the bedrooms will grow with the children for years to come.

"Building our home with The Vawdrey House has been an extremely pleasant experience. Their positive spirit and ‘can do’ attitude is very precious and means we have never felt overwhelmed by the project."

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!