First Avenue London, W5

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.

How it looked before expand_more expand_less

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