Our clients bought a grand Victorian semi-detached house in the Castelnau Conservation Area in Barnes, right next to the London Wetland Centre. They had ambitious development plans, but getting approval in this highly protected area would be impossible without an experienced architect on their side.
Luckily, they came to us, and through close collaboration with our clients we had plans approved which managed to keep the planning department happy without compromising on our clients’ vision for this fantastically well-located family home.
With a full renovation, extension, interior design service and front and rear landscaping, the house would be entirely transformed to take full advantage of the site’s bountiful potential.
Unfortunately, the house had fallen into a state of disrepair, with peeling wallpaper, chipped wood and cracking plaster. Whatever details hadn’t been damaged were terribly out of date, and the cellar wasn’t worth mentioning.
The garden fared no better. This luxuriously long stretch of land – longer than the house itself – was entirely neglected; just a muddled stretch full of patchy weeds bounded by brick walls. Its only “feature” was a shabby metal framed conservatory which stuck out awkwardly from the rear of the house.
While the house being in such a state made initial visits unpleasant, in development terms in was a blessing. Such significant dilapidation meant that the planning department was eager to see us make better use of the site, and neighbours were happy to no longer share their road with an eyesore.
Not only were we bringing the existing space into the 21st century, we were adding more – a lot more. A new rear extension would share a wall with the neighbouring property’s extension (making planning precedent easy to prove) with a contemporary, glass-backed design opening cleanly into the garden.
More impressive is the basement, which completely fills the space beneath the house while extending out into the garden as well. Front and rear light wells keep it bright and airy, with the rear light well formed by a glass bridge that you walk over when exiting the house into the garden.
This basement will house a new gym with shower room (hidden entirely beneath the garden), a play room, cinema room, an office with ensuite and a wine rack beneath the stairs up into the floor above. Beside the gym, a stairwell leads directly up into the garden, which doubles as a light well.
On the ground floor, the new extension provides room for an open plan kitchen and living space which now takes up most of the floor, while the dimensions of the old living room with its bay window have been maintained for the option of a smaller, more intimate, snug-style space.
A master bedroom – with a walk-in dressing room, ensuite and new double doors with a Julien balcony overlooking the much-improved garden – dominates the first floor, along with a second ensuite bedroom.
New front and rear dormer windows have made the roof space brighter and more spacious, allowing us to fit two more bedrooms and a bathroom into the second floor. Now instead of an abandoned shell of a home, this Victorian house is once again fit for a family who are able to live in luxury.