Look around this replanned Victorian home

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  • This semi-detached four-bedroom Victorian town house in south London was bought by its current owners in 2013. Back then they must have needed a good dose of imagination to envisage the inviting home that they have created. ‘The house had been a squat for 12 years yet it was the first place I could really see us living in,’ says the owner.

    While the couple waited for planning permission to extend the basement – a project that involved excavating four feet down to level the floor – the builders worked through the ground, first and second floors of the building, removing rotten boards and ceilings and knocking back to the stud walls.

    Although most of the original features couldn’t be saved, the owners were keen to salvage anything they could, such as the fireplaces in the ground-floor rooms. ‘They were going to be thrown in the skip, but I asked the builders to see what was underneath and we discovered the beautiful marble surrounds.’ Details that couldn’t be rescued, including the cornicing and doors, were painstakingly resourced.

    During the works the owners compiled a scrapbook of ideas to provide inspiration for the decorating schemes, including glittering chandeliers, striking wallpapers, a velvet sofa and gleaming bateau bath. ‘It was very indulgent to turn the entire first floor into a master suite,’ say the owners, ‘but we both love the space with its hotel feel.’

    The couple hunted high and low for bargains and interesting finds, picking up vintage maps in the flea markets of Paris and buying a pair of second-hand silk curtains for a song on Columbia Road in East London. When they found that some Venetian mirrors they wanted were prohibitively expensive, they bagged a pair at auction for just £120.

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