Ursula Street, Battersea, SW11, £1,875,000, John D Wood

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Gutted and Made New

Encased in a period shell, this Victorian family house is actually brand new and comes with the promise that unless the buyer wants to change the colour scheme probably nothing will need doing for the next 20 years.

Developer Stephen Brisby, a retired investment banker, who does a couple of projects a year, says: “It has been completely rebuilt with only two original walls remaining intact – the front elevation and the party wall.”

Ursula Street Battersea reception room

The semi-detached house is remarkable in that before Stephen bought it, the home had remained in the same hands for 85 years.  The previous owner was born in the house, married and brought up her children there before retiring to the country.

“It is very rare to find a house that is completely unchanged. It was an opportunity to thoroughly modernise,” says Stephen.

All the internal walls were replaced, along with the roof , all floors and all the electrics and plumbing. The side rear elevation was widened, the loft converted to living space and all windows replaced.”

Stephen adds: “A great deal of steel was put in to make it very solid. The house is newly engineered and insulated with the newest techniques. It is sound proofed and has underfloor heating throughout the ground floor and in the bathrooms, so that it meets all the tests of a modern ecologically sustainable house.”

Ursula Street Battersea Bedroom

The house now has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, with a downstairs WC, a kitchen/dining room, a utility room and a double reception room at the front of the house. At the back there is a charming patio garden. 

As the agents, John D Wood, explain: “Of particular note is the wonderful width throughout all the rooms which give a very good feeling of space. A further benefit is a Sonos sound system on the ground floor as well as in the master bedroom and the en suite bathroom.”

 Battersea Reception Room

Stephen adds: “We put in bifold doors at the back to maximise light and effectively, when open, extend the living space into the garden. The house has been furnished as a show house. Sometimes people like this so much that they want to buy the furnishings and  treat it as a complete turn key purchase and just move in with their personal belongings. The project took six and a half months to complete. I visit most days and am very hands on, although obviously I don’t do any of the actual building work. I design and supervise and am effectively the architect, working with structural engineers and the same building team I always use.

“I’ve been doing this for 15 years now and I do it for fun. Seeing how a house or flat can be improved and made into something wonderful is an activity I enjoy.”

Top Tips

  • Don’t overspend, control your costs and make the finished product appropriate for the area
  • Don’t assume the market will go up
  • Don’t be greedy. Ensure you can make a profit on a reasonable sale not necessarily a top-price one
  • Ensure that value is added
  • Try to visualise the way to appeal to your customer
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