Having spent a year viewing houses, first-time buyers Roya and Mike Harris were keen to swap their rented flat in Mayfair, London, for a bigger period home where they could unleash all their design ideas. The couple wanted to find a long-term home they could add value to, and focused their search on Herne Hill, between Brixton and Dulwich in south London.
After an intensive period of back-to-back property viewings, they found this house. ‘We saw so many horrible places beforehand that this didn’t look bad in comparison,’ says Roya. ‘Even though the décor was dated, with lots of yellow walls, and the kitchen felt dark, with one small door to a concreted rear garden, we could see it had potential.’
Having stretched themselves financially to buy the house, the couple saved up for three years before starting the renovation. ‘We felt it was important to live in the house for a few years first anyway,’ says Roya. ‘It soon became clear that we needed a much more sociable kitchen-diner with a better flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces.’
The couple hired architect Frederik Rissom, who was recommended by a neighbour, and together they came up with plans to extend two metres into the garden to create the new dining area. They would also section off 1.5m at the other end of the room to create a utility and ground-floor WC. To add to the feeling of space, Frederik suggested they lower the floor by half a metre, creating more head height. As the extension was within permitted development rights, the couple didn’t need to apply for planning permission.
At the same time as extending the kitchen, the couple took the opportunity to renovate the rest of the house.
The owners: Roya Harris, a homemaker, and husband Mike, who runs an asset management company, live here with their English springer spaniels, Brian and Beryl
The property: A five-bedroom Edwardian terraced house in Herne Hill, London
The project: The couple added an extension and renovated the property. The project cost was £420,000
With just one door leading from the old kitchen to a concreted rear garden, the house and garden felt disconnected, while inside the space was dark with low ceilings.
An extension with Crittall-style metal-framed glazing has transformed the rear of the period house, linking together the kitchen-diner and landscaped garden to create a sociable hub for entertaining.
While the extension work on the ground floor got under way, Roya and Mike created a ‘mini flat’ on the top floor to avoid the expense of moving out. It also meant they were able to oversee the project, with the help of Frederik.
The island is the perfect spot for the couple to enjoy views of the newly landscaped garden while cooking at the Neff hob. The wood door and drawer fronts were made by F&F Installations from scaffolding boards, with a wraparound concrete worktop supplied by Mortise Concrete. Pistachio Artisan stand mixer, Kitchenaid.
Features like the exposed brick wall, painted steel pillar and riveted extending dining table from Barak 7, all add to the reclaimed factory feel of the new kitchen.
For similar units, try the Suffolk range by Neptune. Door fronts painted in RAL Ocean Blue. Embossed leather chairs, Barak 7. Cage lights, Mullan Lighting
Chinese slate floor tiles from Fired Earth continue from the extension onto the patio area to create a sense of flow.
For similar doors, try Steel Window Service & Supplies
Having the original floorboards stripped and varnished has created a stylish backdrop to the space.
Mikado acrylic dining chairs, Furniture Village. Monkey lamp, Seletti. For a similar rug, try JW Jennings, and for a chandelier, try The French Bedroom Company
The original fireplace was freshened up with white paint. Roya’s mum made the curtains from Morris & Co’s Pimpernel fabric.
Walls painted in Cooking Apple Green, Farrow & Ball. Ghats blue velvet chair, Graham & Green. Sofa, Multiyork
Beryl’s litter of English springer spaniel puppies have found a spot in front of the original fireplace, which has an antique fire guard and gilt-edged antique overmantel mirror.
Secondhand oak sleigh bed (in the gallery above) painted in Ammonite; walls and cupboard painted in Blackened, both Farrow & Ball. Mink sheepskin rug, Oliver Bonas. Dog basket, Mungo & Maud. Grosvenor armchair, Multiyork; covered in Kelmscott Tree fabric, William Morris
During the extension process space was taken from the old kitchen to create a downstairs WC.
Walls painted in Lead, Little Greene. Metropolitan wall tiles in Euston, Fired Earth. High-level cistern and pan and cloakroom basin, Thomas Crapper
- Wrong for HAY Neu13 chair, H82xW45xD54cm, £159, Amara
- Look Chocolate metallic-effect gloss floor tile, W45xL45cm, £10 per m², Tile Mountain
- Heston chest of drawers, H85xW95xD50cm, £549, Swoon Editions
- Smeg SMF01 aluminium and stainless-steel stand mixer, £350, Euronics
- Status natural oak veneer table with grey metal base, H75xW200xD105cm, £2,136, Calligaris
- Stelton vacuum jug in plastic, £60, Skandium
- Herve glass and steel cluster light, H106xDia.29cm, £180, BHS
- Architect: Frederik Rissom, 020 8766 6116, r2studio.co.uk
- Construction: F&F Installations, 07896 209024
- Landscaping: Chauncey Gardens, 07966 375496
- The full feature appears in the April 2016 issue of Real Homes. For back issues, call 01527 834435. Subscribe today to take advantage of our money-saving subscription offers.