Addison Gardens London W4

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

Who we are expand_more expand_less

The Vawdrey House is a multi-award winning RIBA Chartered Practice which offers a dynamic combination of bespoke design, strategic thinking and creative flair. We bring both architecture and interior design together to create unique, beautiful spaces which work for you from the inside out.

Our clients are always at the heart of our ‘top to toe’ design approach.

We work closely with you from the outset, leading you through the design stages, providing support at each stage and following everything through so that even the smallest details are considered and refined.

This is what we believe makes a great design even better.

Whether for a refurbishment or new build; a residential or commercial space, we take the time to get to know you, understand your requirements, and find clever, exciting solutions to your brief.

Our design-led, holistic approach means we always asses how the whole building works and how it is used. We explore functional and layout changes to improve the way the spaces work together. We design the exterior architecture, internal layouts and all the interior design right down to the lighting, fittings, furniture and accessories.

Working across London, the South East and beyond, we have a wealth of experience working with complex sites and period buildings with heritage protection. We approach each project with a combination of creative vision and sensitive pragmatism; always searching to get the very best from a building.

Directors Jennifer Hamilton, Graeme Montague and Ian Chapman have a combined experience in the industry of nearly 70 years. Together with our strong, enthusiastic team of architects and designers, we bring an invaluable level of professionalism and creativity to the design and management of your project.

The Vawdrey House has an exciting portfolio of inspiring spaces and happy clients. We are passionate about what we do and most of all, want you to love it too.

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.

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!

Contact us

The Vawdrey House Ltd Freshmill, 16 Bridge Rd Haywards Heath, RH16 1UA studio@thevawdreyhouse.com
A RIBA Chartered Practice
Jennifer Hamilton: 07884 366206 Graeme Montague: 07721 844 602 Ian Chapman: 07973 422428