Kylie and Neil dreamed of owning a fabulous period family home with a strikingly modern kitchen and family room in the heart of Kingston. The challenge was how to achieve this by extending and restoring a tiny derelict 18th century cottage, including its built-in bomb shelter, within the strict confines of a Conservation Area and on a limited budget.
The answer was to demolish the existing property and build in its place an exact replica of the beautiful Victorian house next door, complementing the matching pairs of houses found elsewhere on the road and completely negating any arguments about suitability to the streetscape.
Dyer Grimes Architects designed a scheme with formal reception rooms at the ground floor and a master suite across the whole of the first floor. We skilfully incorporated an abundance of period details including facing brickwork with elegant architraves and mouldings to create the sense of grandeur that our clients desired. In contrast, the basement would provide a highly contemporary kitchen/family room with large glass doors leading onto the garden.
Kingston Conservation and Archaeological Society had objected in principal to any demolition of the original property and would not allow the roof to be raised. There was also a neighbour who objected to the build, as neighbours are expected to.
We were prepared for a tough battle, and entered into the appeal process armed with extensive 3D visual modelling to demonstrate with photo-realistic detail how the new build would not only benefit our clients but the street as a whole.
It wouldn’t be until midnight that we would face the planning committee alongside Kylie and Neil, and the result was a firm split down the middle, with intense opinions on both sides: one that saw the project as a risky but ingenious use of the site, and the other that believed it would be impossible to faithfully recreate the ornate Victorian architecture of the neighbouring property.
In the end, the deciding vote came down in our favour. We successfully demonstrated how the new design would dramatically improve the look of the street and increase surrounding property values. Even the neighbour was happy, as the larger but shorter new structure meant they would enjoy more sunlight.
In the words of the Chair of Morden Planning Committee: “Despite this being the oldest building in the road, the new house designed by Dyer Grimes Architects is of such a high design quality that it will make a bold replacement that will benefit the area as a whole.”
But there was more to the house than just a pretty face, the finished product is a true reflection of Kylie and Neil’s relationship. Kylie’s Australian sensibilities are reflected in a bright, glassy, modern open plan kitchen and living space that opens directly out into a generous patio and garden.
Neil – whose tastes are quintessentially British – prefers the faithfully recreated period-style rooms above, including a dark wood panelled library packed with box leather furniture that could be straight out of Victorian England.
Their two children, meanwhile, get to enjoy their own bedrooms, with two more rooms spare for visiting friends and family, finally providing enough space in the house for the family to grow happily, all hidden away inside an authentic Victorian-looking home that no one can believe was built just recently.
The end result was the house our clients had dreamed about, built within budget, celebrated by the local area and promising a great return on investment in the future.
2017 Kingston Upon Thames Society Awards – Tony Leitch Landscape Award.