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

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