Client of the Month: Tristan Almost Left Fulham – Instead, He Built a Home for Life
With its full plan basement and rear wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing, Fulham House is a modern mansion hidden in plain sight in an Edwardian terrace.
Now that Tristan and his family have moved in, we sat down with him to ask about his thoughts on this transformational project.
How did you find this property and why did you buy it?
My wife and I have lived in Fulham for a good ten years now, but we started to think we might have to leave because we wanted to have a bigger garden for our two young children.
But then we saw this property on the market which, thanks to its end-of-terrace location, had an enormous garden for the area, while also being on the quieter side of Fulham towards the river and parks.
It was originally a maisonette, divided between lived in upper floors and a derelict ground floor, all being sold as one property. We saw great potential for putting it back together as one large house, and expanding it even further with extensions.
What were your main objectives for the design?
As the garden was the main selling point for us, we didn’t want to extend too far into the rear. Instead, we wanted to build a full plan basement to maximise our usage of the plot without reducing the size of the garden.
We hadn’t moved much before buying this house, and we don’t plan on moving again, so we wanted it to be a very fun house with a cinema, pool table, gym, wine cellar, play room.
Without the basement, it still would have been a big house, but we wouldn’t have had the space for everything we wanted.
What challenges did you encounter during the project?
Thanks to working with DGA, it’s actually been a relatively stress-free process. When there were things that we wanted to change, they just dealt with it, and I felt like they enjoyed the challenge.
I’m sure Philip and the rest of the team faced many difficult situations, but as DGA were the buffer between us and the local authorities and the contractors, we were kept out of it.
The only headache was discovering that the recently renovated loft had to be condemned and rebuilt, but other than some added costs it really didn’t add to the stress of the project.
In the end, it turned out to be a good thing as we have a higher quality house than we would have had we kept the original loft.
Do you think you would have been able to find anything like this house if you had gone down the traditional route of buying a property?
In Fulham, it’s a unique property. It was already special for the plot itself, but building a house pretty much from the bottom up meant that we could create a home around our needs.
There’s plenty of large properties in Fulham, but I think no matter what we bought we would have had to compromise with a house which wouldn’t entirely fit what were were looking for. Instead, we’ve got the perfect house for us.
What have you enjoyed most about your new home since moving in?
Seeing the children have so much space to run around, it’s just not a luxury they had in our last house. The open plan kitchen and living space opens right out into the garden, so we can sit inside while the kids play outdoors and it still feels like we’re together.
What I like is that if you look from the street, it looks like a traditional house like the rest of the terrace. But when you come inside and see it from the back, it becomes a very modern house, and the contrast between the two has a real wow factor.
After living in a fairly dark house for so many years, it really lifts our moods to be in such a bright and airy space which gets so much natural light.
Finally, what advice do you have for anyone else considering a similar project?
I would definitely use an architecture studio like DGA . It’s such a big undertaking and without them I don’t think I would have done it. They completely de-stressed the process and project managed it really well.
You completely underestimate the amount of decisions you have to make in a project like this, and you have to make them early on. DGA helped us through all of that without us ever feeling like we lost creative control.
If you have the resources to be able to do a big project like this once in your life, you absolutely should. It’s quite exciting and good fun, and I’m glad we’ve done it.
And the end result is so fulfilling, I don’t think we’ll ever need to move again.