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
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.
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.
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.
- 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. Subscribe today to take advantage of our money-saving subscription offers.