St James' Drive

Our clients, a busy international family of 5, owned an imposing Victorian townhouse on a leafy crescent in South-West London. They came to us initially to help them extend the top floor with a loft conversion.

On working closely with the client to understand their lifestyles and how they used their home, it soon became clear that by improving the approach and impact to the ‘everyday’ entrance on the side, we could transform the lower ground floor of the home into a family kitchen and living space that would become the heart of the house. Creating a more harmonious and practical flow throughout the home.


British Homes Awards 2023


Conservation area

Ground floor extension

Loft conversion

Roof terrace & landscaping

Internal refurbishment of two floors


362 sq m

6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms



Interior design

Furniture & accessories

Project management

Landscape design

'Working with The Vawdrey House was a real joy for my wife and I. Jenny was able to really understand the way our house worked and what we could change to improve its functionality to ensure it worked for all of our family.'

Like many properties of this period, nobody really used the grand front steps to the front door on the upper ground floor anymore, instead family and guests alike came in via a smaller tradesman’s entrance to the side of the building at ground level. Previously entering a lower ceilinged hall and warren of rooms which were originally designed for servants use.

It was this problem we decided we needed to solve to make the most of the new lower ground floor area.

Now you enter the lower ground floor entrance to the home via a beautiful bespoke decorative steel gate, offering privacy and security to the entrance and rear garden, but also an expectation as to the level of design that one will experience inside.

The new arched 'side' front door leads to an enlarged entrance hall, which compounds that sense of arrival with dark moody panelled walls that hide doors to a laundry room, a boot room, and a snug.

The monochrome theme extends to the striped detailing on tiled mosaic flooring that runs through the hallway into the ancillary rooms adding a contemporary twist to the hallway. A new staircase curls down from the upper ground floor, continuing the period feel of the main stair to this level too, and banishing the sense of this area being ‘below stairs’.

The big reveal, however, is via an oversized sliding panelled door that leads into the new extended kitchen and dining room.

A wall of steel framed doors and timber framed window seats offers views onto the large garden and outdoor seating area.

In addition to a large contemporary green panelled rough sawn timber kitchen, with large 4m island, we also designed a bar and study area within the room.

The family can now spend time together engaged in different activities be that relaxing, working or socialising.

Outside, the new engineering brick extension features exposed joists internally and urban 'bullnose brick' detailing around the windows.

By incorporating a large bespoke moulded concrete planter into the design for the outdoor seating area, we were able to bring a mature olive tree close to the building incorporated into the level change between the garden and terrace. In doing so we have created a strong visual moment within the home where the tree is perfectly framed within the timber window seat.

'The quality of their designs were also matched by the quality of their detailed construction information. Having undertaken a number of house renovations the importance of being able to select the right contracting team is essential and Jenny and Ian were with us all the way to ensure that their design ideas were fully realised on site.'

The central hall conceals doors to several everyday functions, the lavish boot room, utility room and a cosy snug at the front of the house.

Carefully selected accessories and styling complement the client's own collection of furniture in the formal living rooms on the upper ground floor.

The guest bathroom has been refurbished with a combination of modest V-groove panelling coupled with glamorous large scale marble. A bathroom of two halves.

The rest of the first floor houses the master suite, study and a guest bedroom.

The addition of a tall arched window on the side wall, and adjustments to the previous landing arrangement have opened up a fabulous double height stairwell and brought light into the first floor too, improving the master suite landing at the same time.

At the top of the house, we replaced the previous ‘eaves rooms’ at the rear with soaring 2.8m high bedrooms by adding the new zinc clad dormer within the roof space.

These bedrooms have a striking warehouse feel with industrial windows and V-groove cladding to all walls.

Three boys share the top floor with a single bathroom. To ease tension when time is limited, we designed a bathroom that would allow multiple users to make use of the space.

A large trough sink means that the boys can use the sink at the same time, but the really unique element within this bathroom is two luxury shower cubicles. Set behind reeded Crittal screens to offer privacy, two boys can shower simultaneously.

No excuses to miss the school bus in this house!

'Finally their in house interior design expertise led by Sophie ensured that the finished product exceeded our expectations.  We cannot thank The Vawdrey House enough and look forward to doing our next project with them.'

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