With bedrooms at the bottom of the house and the sizeable open plan reception room incorporating kitchen, dining room and sitting room, at the top, this upside down house has a unique charm.
The building dates back to 1910 when it was used to stable horses for use in nearby Richmond Park. Then it became an office and finally it was bought by niche developers Richmond Park Road Mews Ltd, who divided it into two three-double bedroom mews houses.
The result is a beautiful example of period charm meeting modern design. No 2 Old Church House has been modernised and redeveloped while preserving its origins.
Kurt Little says: “The principles behind the developers are of long standing, doing iconic work, for example the Jam Factory in Southwark, so all of our projects are unique. We also ask ourselves how we would live in the building and what specification we would want to enjoy.
“Dealing with old buildings, you have to be ready to think on your feet when problems arise, but the results are interesting and rewarding.
“With refurbishments, even those which are stripped back to shell like in this project, you risk uncovering worrying stuff where the structural engineer says: ‘Oh dear.’ Fortunately we didn’t find any major issues this time, although we had to cut out and replace some of the floor joists and in order to keep the large original timber lintels over the window space we had to reinforce them with steel plates. Everything has to be brought up to the standards that the structural engineer, building control and Checkmate, the 10-year warranty provider dictates and they are always very cautious in their judgements.”
Outside of the shell structure, everything is new, from the wiring to the plumbing, insulation, fire protection and new sockets.
“After considering the basic building and shape, we decided to do an upside down house with bedrooms on the ground floor because we wanted to make a feature out of the vaulted ceiling in the upstairs that we felt was more appropriate for living space. With the windows, exposed beams and rooflights it is indeed a very light and bright space.
“We also had to deal with a long and narrow building with an L shape at on end, which gave us a lot of windows. It also allowed us to keep to an open plan, yet locate a dining room adjacent to the kitchen area, but out of direct sight of the living area. You can have a dinner party, leave all the mess and go sit in the sitting room to relax without looking at the dirty dishes.
“The house therefore offers superb lateral space. Each of the three double bedrooms has its own luxury en suite. The bathrooms are slightly Bohemian instead of the safe white and chrome that most developers go for. In one of the bathrooms we had the space so we enlarged the shower cubicle to fill the entire width of the room.
The house has been planned to offer what we would like to have in our own homes.
“There is underfloor heating in all rooms with independent zones topped by wide plank engineered wood flooring.
“Storage space in the bedrooms is generous because everyone wants cupboards and shelves and space to tidy things away. Even the stairs have space to display your valued possessions.
“The colour palette throughout is modern with grey tones but flexible enough to accept a personal touch.
“One of the houses has already been sold and the other one is still available.”
Read more about this luxury property on page 30 of London Property South Magazine