In 2017, following a lengthy and seemingly fruitless hunt, architects James and Claire Dowen occurred on a Victorian terraced house in Peckham, south-east London. It was in a sorry condition, with tiny authentic appeal, but they each straight away understood it was the a single. Additional than outfitted for the obstacle – James has considering the fact that co-founded Dowen Farmer Architects, whilst Claire is an Associate at Farrells – they embarked on a yr-extensive renovation.
The challenge was no effortless feat – even for authorities. The few toured their neighbours’ homes so they could recognize their own place’s first capabilities and structure, and drew up what felt like hundreds of designs in the system. But their challenging perform and determination was rewarded when they settled on a light-loaded, characterful style that would really encourage flexible dwelling. Now, as their household will come on the current market, James discusses refurbishing a time period home and why the time has occur for his household to move on to pastures new.
James: “We’d been living in a new-create apartment in Brixton. It was on the top flooring of the setting up, so we had wonderful views and lots of mild, but it was really soulless. We wanted a loved ones household.
“Although we liked Brixton, we had to search more east to discover some thing in just our finances. We looked at hundreds of sites. The look for was turning into all-consuming, so it was crucial that we were being selective with what we considered. Then Claire despatched about this dwelling on Kings Grove. It seemed like a bit of a dump at to start with look from the ad, so I was a very little unwilling to see it, but fortunately she persuaded me to come alongside to the viewing. We walked through the front door and equally quickly realized it was the a person. It looked like the photographs – it was a entire and utter spoil – but the proportions ended up just proper, with higher ceilings, major windows and a beautiful Victorian staircase.
“We drew our strategies based on the thought of reintroducing the richness of the house’s historical past, though at the same time creating a modern-day and versatile relatives property with open living areas and lots of daylight.
“Claire and I made the home alongside one another. We included a a few-storey extension on to the back again of the house, which now contains the eating area on the ground flooring and a bedroom over it. It is an strange extension and ended up environment a precedent for the entire road. It has absolutely improved the layout of our home for the better.
“We stripped out the dwelling ourselves, meticulously peeling back levels of heritage, wanting for primary gems. All that was still left standing was the entrance façade, bash walls and ground joists. The home expected a new roof, but we resolved to expose the spruce ply ceiling in the two bedrooms under, which opened up the vaulted house. We experienced the entire home reinsulated so it is incredibly thermally economical.
“For us, the residence is all about gentle. We sacrificed the sq. footage to make a void higher than the stairs, where we extra a significant skylight. It signifies the centre of the residence is particularly vivid for a Victorian terraced residence. We also moved the kitchen into the center of the household, so it rewards from the sunlight that arrives down the staircase.
“We retained downstairs rather small. The kitchen is white with a quartz worktop but the unique sash home windows and wooden floorboards stop it from emotion sterile. When we moved in, a lot of of the floorboards have been weakened, so we bought some reclaimed kinds from a warehouse in Tower Hamlets. We picked them up ourselves, drove them home across London and then sanded them all down by hand right before possessing them laid. We think they appear wonderful.
“We fought tooth and nail with the builder to maintain the first staircase – although we have included to it, to create a contemporary contrast past the landing. Now there is a shorter operate of floating treads, suspended from the ceiling and manufactured from strong hardwood.
“We set a complete whole lot of enjoy into sourcing items. Considerably of the industrial-style lighting arrived from a salvage lawn up north, although the doorway in the entrance corridor dates to the early 1900s and came from a sweet store. The hand-painted tiles there came from Morocco. We carried all 60kg of them back in our hand baggage.
“The darkish-environmentally friendly dwelling area is a true contrast to the rest of the downstairs rooms. We preferred it to be an intimate and cosy room, with the constructed-in teak joinery and panelling on the walls. There are folding doors among the kitchen area and dwelling space, so you have the adaptability of opening areas up or closing them off.
“We will overlook the move of the area, but I may possibly just skip the back garden far more. It’s an absolute suntrap. You can see straight by means of to it as before long as you wander by the entrance doorway – it gives a lovely green shimmer as you transfer by the dwelling. It is a excellent location for BBQs, but we’ve also obtained a log-fired scorching tub out there, which helps make it a exciting put to be in the winter season and wonderful for parties.
“We’re ready for a new job, but we completely adore the location now we have lived here and ideally will not be going way too much. Masses of excellent eating places have opened at the close of our road, so that’s a major pull.
“I hope the new owners will discover it to be as content a property as we have. We will overlook it. There’s a serious vitality and excitement close to the avenue and there’s an unbelievable sense of community. When we were being accomplishing the strip-out, a girl we’d never ever satisfied turned up with bacon sandwiches and tea! It is a extremely particular put.”