West London House

Retained front façade

SHH has completed a new-build, detached, seven-bed, five-storey house in west London (with retained front façade), which features one of the largest pools of any property in the area (measuring 14m x 4.5m and located behind a sunken rear courtyard).

An original Victorian property on the site had been split into four flats in the post-war period, which the current owner had purchased piecemeal over time, before coming to  SHH with a vision of converting the entire property into a single, luxury family home, based on the principle of lateral living, with high ceilings and extensive living spaces, as well as a very generous pool and leisure complex below ground, to include a spa, sauna, steam room, gym, bar area, changing rooms, toilets, walk-in wine cellar, playroom and cinema/media room.

 Architectural Overview:

“The new house’ commented  Project Leader and  SHH Associate Director Guy Matheson, “has a similar above-ground footprint to the one we replaced. A former 1950s flat-roof extension to the left of the property has been replaced in the same style as the retained façade, with the new roof covering both sections. The brickwork of the retained front façade has also been tuck-pointed, which is something of a lost art-form and gives the building a very crisp aesthetic.”

Pool with bar area at far end


Gardens and External Layout:

To the front of the house is a paved area for parking, with four small sculptural trees in large, offwhite stone pots adding punctuation to the front elevation. Noise from the road has been abated by insulating behind the retained façade and replacing all the windows with acoustic glass double-glazed units without trickle vents, all of which works together to deaden the impact of any external noise almost completely.

As the property is located on a bend in the road, the site naturally fans out to a very generous westfacing garden, which was re-designed by Chelsea Flower Show gold-medallist garden designer Kate Gould.

“A series of tall thin trees at the back of the property has been retained as a privacy screen and reinforced with new additional bamboo planting” commented Guy Matheson. “We’ve also retained a number of protected trees at the garden border. The designated tree protection zone determined the shape and length of the new basement, as it reaches out beneath the garden. The planners also asked for one metre of soil above the basement lid to allow for future flexibility for planting and also to retain rain water.”


Family space opens onto barbecue terrace


Design Principles and Credits:

The unusually extensive garden is a focal point of the new house and much of the space planning was based on maximising and integrating views out onto the garden, with all principal living quarters and bedrooms rear-facing. The designation of a formal front-of-house area for receiving guests and relaxed contemporary living to the rear and in the lower storeys for everyday use for the family occupants is expressed by the use of traditional cornicing and skirtings in the front-of-house area and highly contemporary finishes for the rest of the house.

“There was an existing, low-ceilinged lower ground floor in the original house”  Guy Matheson explained. “We then lowered this level to improve the sense of space and added an entirely new floor below this to house the new pool area, courtyard, plant and associated rooms below ground.”

The new house is now made up of five storeys: the lower-ground level (housing the pool and leisure areas); the family-orientated garden level (which opens directly out to the garden space and barbeque terrace at the rear via bi-folding 2.4m x 4.5m glass doors leading out from the main family living space); the upper garden level, which includes the formal reception room and roof terrace and a first and second floors, where most of the bedrooms are located.

As well as being architects on the scheme,  SHH also planned all the interiors and designed all the joinery, lighting design, ceiling, wall and floor finishes, whilst all loose furniture and artworks were created or sourced by South African designer  Craig Kaplan.


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