As you pass numerous identical well-appointed red brick homes in this upmarket part of Barnes Village, there is no clue that behind this refreshed façade, a bright, modern spacious home belies its relatively modest square footage.
This unusual and highly successful side return extension and refurbishment was possible, in no small part, due to our open-minded clients who had the confidence to allow us to create something exciting and unexpected.
Having witnessed The Vawdrey House renovate and redesign their sisters home the previous year, our client gave us a blank canvas to transform their relatively standard 256 sq m London Victorian terrace house into something truly special. It was clear that for this home to work well for the family, space had to be re-imagined in a clever and purposeful way to ensure that every square inch of the home was made to work hard for the homeowners.
Rear & side return extension
Before - 245 sq m
After - 256 sq m
Furniture & accessories
'What made The Vawdrey House standout was their ability to combine high quality design with the practicalities of a family home.'
One of the key issues in terraced homes is not having suitable storage for coats, shoes and bags as you enter the house.
To address this, we repurposed space from the lounge to create a coat and bag nook by the front door.
Now as you step over the threshold everything is neat and tidy and one gains a true sense of arrival.
The hallway further benefited from the addition of a pair of glazed steel doors which provide access to the formal lounge as well as offer a view onto the internal atrium.
Replacing an existing rear lean-to kitchen extension to accommodate a new full-width open plan kitchen, diner and living space was key to adding value to the living experience. We were keen to ensure that this new space would feel bright, open and spacious in a way that we’d not seen done before.
The clients both grew up in temperate climates, all be it on different sides of the equator, so when we proposed an internal glazed atrium that could be opened to allow the house to ventilate and draw a breeze through the building, they were receptive.
The internal courtyard brings a refreshing and unusual design element into the heart of the home, allowing fresh air, light and the natural environment to infuse the centre of the building.
With no need for air conditioning in the summer months, this low maintenance zen garden creates a bright office zone on one side, an enviable dining backdrop on the other.
In order to create an impactful rear extension with grand proportions and high ceilings we gained planning permission for a split height roof along the side return.
This, combined with dropping the floor by a couple of steps in the entire rear area enabled us to gain a celling height of 3.8m in the main part of the extension and 3.2m in the middle area, dropping to 2.3m in lower part of the room on the boundary.
This also brought us level with the garden instead of a few steps above it.
On the opposite side of the room, a bespoke timber and white reeded kitchen sits peacefully underneath lime-washed oak beams offering a sense of warmth to counteract the drama of the 3.2m high ceilings.
The joinery extends along to the living end of the space, morphing into a bookcase and media wall. Sitting here looking out at the garden through a 4m square glass opening provides a rare London moment.
A wild meadow roof has been planted on top of the side return extension beneath which the lower celling height is put to good use creating a cozy and relaxed banquette dining area.
At the rear of the property, a large low profile pivot door provides day-to-day access to the new decked patio and landscaped garden beyond.
The decked area sits diagonally to the stepped linear back of the building drawing the eye to the sides of the garden and thereby creating a sense of breadth to what is a long narrow garden.
Astroturf grass covers most of the garden, ideal for the three young children, however, the transition between decking and artificial grass was softened with duckweed planted to grow uninhibited over stepping stones.
The rear façade was clad in a combination of bespoke formed concrete panels and glazed green tiles, a homage to those used in the local village shopfronts which provided local architectural context that pleased the planning officers.
A point of significant discussion was the layout of the upper floors which now house the three children’s bedrooms on the 1st floor, and a master ensuite with dressing room in the converted loft dormer.
We sold the clients on this layout by carving out space for a walk-in dressing space in the eves of the loft. This has proven to be an excellent use of this reduced height space.
The childrens' floor now features a different feel for each bedroom, with a girls ensuite and family bathroom for the boys to share.
Somewhat unbelievably, this client enjoyed the process of developing the home so much, that within a year of moving back they had started looking around for a new project in the Cotswolds!
Suffice to say, we are delighted by the prospect of working once again with this wonderfully open and optimistic family to create a less urban but equally sophisticated country home.