St James' Drive London SW17

  • Loft & Rear Extension
  • Internal refurbishment with staircase adjustments
  • Conservation Area
  • Architecture & Project Management
  • Interior Design, Furniture & Accessories
  • Landscape Design

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.

The new arched front door leads to a new, 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 stair 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 reveals the new extended kitchen and dining room. A wall of crittal 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 black 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 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.

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. Entering a lower ceiling hall and warren of rooms which were originally designed for servants use.

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 within the home. This leads into the stunning central panelled hallway hiding various functions behind concealed doors.

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.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.

Three boys share the top floor and 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 at the same time. 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 doors to offer privacy, two boys can shower simultaneously. No excuses to miss the school bus in this house!

Photography by 82mm Photography

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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
A RIBA Chartered Practice
01444 702094