The family moved into this fabulous Edwardian terrace in west London in 2015 and turned it from a two-storey wreck into a four-storey triumph – and doubled its volume in the process.
We stripped out the entire house, removed every chimney breast, extended the ground floor, built into the loft and dug out the basement, says the owner, who runs a house design business. When we started the house was 130 square metres. Now its 285!’
The project took almost a year. I found it much scarier than when I work for someone else, says the owner. When it is your entire life and work at the same time its hard not to become obsessive about it.
I wanted the basement to feel part of the house, she says. Basement access is often from the front, so you have stairs under stairs, she points out. But here the stairs are in the middle of the ground floor and sit on dainty legs with glass balustrades. This was crucial in order to bring in lots of light, she says.
The family uses every scrap of this house, with the generous basement the perfect venue for entertaining. We had lots of friends over for my husband’s 40th birthday, says the owner. The sunken area was transformed into a club and the bar was very busy!
The generous six-metre width of the house was a huge draw for the owner. She has made the most of it by using elegant,clean-lined sofas and fresh colours. I wanted colours that were a bit different from the 1950s greys that are so popular these days, she says. Indigo is my favourite, but to have a room painted all over with it would be too heavy. The owner escapes from work and family life once a week to attend sculpture classes. This white dog is a favourite piece – and less hassle than a real-life pet!
The owner designed the coffee tables with her brother who is a furniture maker in India. He shipped a container with 18 pieces over to London, she says. We decided to go for blue and yellow coffee tables and when I saw the yellow pendant lights, I thought they would be perfect.
These chairs were from the restaurant Sketch in Mayfair and I was lucky to get them in a sale when they were redesigning the restaurant, says the owner. I wasnt sure how they would mix with the table I designed with my brother but they look great with anything! The table is made from 300-year-old teak from Burma.
Hudson Living at John Lewis
The owner had the kitchen made bespoke by her builder. It is painted a deep greyish black and treated with a matt varnish. The tiles have the look of old cement tiles but are actually porcelain. ‘The kitchen isn’t particularly large, but I love it because I can see the living room this way, then when I turn around I have a view of the garden. Very useful when I usually have four children running riot!’
The kids sit at the breakfast bar and talk to me while I am cooking, says the owner. We also sit here when we are baking together. The family uses the kitchen table and bench for everyday breakfast, lunch and dinner. The owner designed the bench as space-efficient seating. ‘We didn’t have enough space to allow for extra chairs, so it’s a very practical solution.’
The basement bar gets plenty of action. ‘It would be rude not to use it,’ says the owner. Originally the basement was going to be two rooms, but we decided to keep it as one and so we had to be able to tell different stories within that, she says. Adding the bar became the logical thing to do as we love entertaining.
The Sofa & Chair Co.
Our bedroom is quite small as we wanted to have a bedroom for each child,’ says the owner. ‘But in the future the girls will share a room and we will extend our bedroom. In keeping with the rest of the house, the bedroom is designed with plenty of storage. Wall-to-floor cupboards run the length of one wall. ‘When we extend the room maybe we’ll add a walk in wardrobe,’ says the owner.
The owner’s creative use of glazing can be seen best here, with floor-to-ceiling doors opening to the garden and a toughened-glass patio floor allowing light to flood into the basement below. Her clever design is illustrated by the sight line from the front door to the rear of the house. It gives a sense of flow to the house and makes the different spaces feel connected.