Houzz Tour: A Dated Victorian House is Revamped for Modern Life
The bones of this house were perfect, but the décor hadn’t been touched in 70 years. Luckily, it had a lot of potential…
Emilie did a few sketches on the estate agent’s floorplans and, based on that, the couple made an offer.
Who lives here? A Franco-British family with three young boys under 8 and a soon-to-be-born baby girl.
Location Putney, south London
Property A Victorian semi-detached house
Size Five bedrooms and three bathrooms
Designer Emilie Mauran of EMR Architecture
Budget £800,000, including the design and all the building work
‘After’ photos by David Butler.
This before photo of the house as Emilie and the couple found it shows the view across one of the original downstairs rooms into the garden.
“The downstairs was lots of little rooms and the house was in a very traditional style – carpet everywhere and everything extremely dark – yet you could tell there was potential,” Emilie says.
She was impressed by the width of the house, which is unusual in London, and appreciated its south-facing garden. “I could see that in this house you could work on the light. You could create a very big room downstairs, which was important, as the couple love entertaining.”
Emilie put three glazed areas into this space: a large rooflight, sliding doors and an Oriel window, seen on the left. “Because it’s south-facing, the glass is solar-controlled,” she says. “We also put in a recessed track for curtains to provide additional shade when the sun comes directly through the doors.
The photos were taken just before a few key deliveries and there’s now a large rug beneath the dining table and lots of plants dotted around. “It’s crucial not to underestimate the importance of acoustics in a large open space, and plants and soft furnishings both absorb noise,” Emilie says.
This space was designed around the parents – a spot to read a book, have a drink or entertain. “Although it’s one big room, my aim was to create distinctive spaces,” Emilie says. “You have a clear living room area, a dining area and a kitchen.”
Sofa; large floor lamp; dining table, all Roche Bobois. Dining chairs, Gubi. Cushions, Designers Guild.
Behind the window in the side return is a new utility room, and behind this is a new garage. “It’s a semi-detached house, but we used the full width [of the plot] to fill in and create a garage,” Emilie explains. “It’s really useful; we put the boiler and all the services in there, and it’s great, as the family has lots of bikes.”
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“The garden now has a feeling of extra space and is great for the children,” she adds.
Curtain tracks, Silent Gliss. Curtains, Ma Maison.
The alcove bookshelves conjure up a sitting room feel, too, though the ‘chimney breast’, not required for functionality, is there only to help define the space.
Coffee table; chevron chairs, all Red Edition. Engineered oak flooring, Natural Flooring Co. Sliding doors, Maxlight.
“It helps to create an interesting corner that takes your attention from the living area. There are some amazing plants that will grow up that fence outside, including a camellia, so in time the window will almost look like a picture frame,” Emilie says.
“The children love to be in this space, reading a book or chilling while the parents are finishing breakfast,” she adds. “Kids don’t like to stay still at the table and this is a nice way for them still to be with you, but in a cosy way.”
Oriel window, Maxlight.
An unusual feature is the black, wood-framed internal window behind the sink. It looks over a corridor leading to the cloakroom. “You might not see the point in doing a window into a corridor,” Emilie says, “but it makes the corridor feel so much nicer.” It also contains a large circular mirror. “It means you can see the whole garden when you’re sitting at the [island].”
The L-shape of the kitchen floor is tiled, to zone it as well as to provide a hardwearing, water-resistant surface.
Kitchen cabinet knobs, Armac Martin. Floor tiles, Artisans of Devizes. Wall tiles, Porcelanosa. Lights, Buster & Punch. Tap, Quooker. Worktops, Quartzforms.
Where possible, Emilie will also always specify a double sink. “One for cleaning and one for keeping drying dishes out of sight,” she says.
Next to the hob, there are drawers for herbs, oils and “everything that helps you to cook. If [these things] are too far away, they always end up around the hob anyway, as they’re used so much,” Emilie says.
There’s a pantry on the left-hand side of the fridge (in the floor-to-ceiling units, just seen in the previous photo). On the right of it, there’s a “massive” tall cupboard for all the plates and glasses, as well as some food.
Sockets and switches are bronze to complement the bronze door handles. “I like bronze, as it doesn’t leave fingermarks,” Emilie says. The room also features a Sonos system in the ceiling.
The door to the right of the hob leads to the utility room.
Walls painted in Ammonite, Farrow & Ball. Units painted in Indigo Blue, Sanderson.
The door seen here leads to the garage. “The utility is the link between the kitchen and the garage,” Emilie explains.
Again, there are now more rugs, soft furnishings and accessories in here than when the photo was taken.
Coffee table, Red Edition. Roman blinds, Ma Maison.
Doorknobs, A Touch of Brass.
The staircase was repainted, with the banister stained in ebony. The stair runner is the same carpet as in the bedrooms, but finished with a taped edge.
As a safety precaution, the spindles at the very top of the staircase, seen on the left here, were designed to be higher than the originals lower down, at 1m compared to 70cm. “Building Regulations require 90cm, but I recommend 1m for a landing when you’re above a big void,” Emilie explains.
Opposite the bed there are two doors: one leads to the en suite and one to a walk-in wardrobe.
Walls painted in Peignoir, Farrow & Ball. Bed linen, The White Company. Bedside tables, Habitat. Lamps, Made.com. Wall lights, Astra.
The mirror at the end of the room is a radiator; pipes have been hidden in the wall to disguise it.
Because there’s a lot of storage within the vanity unit, the owners didn’t feel the need for mirrored wall cabinets. “So we created a niche with a mirror at the back and a black frame to equal the shower frame,” Emilie says.
Bathroom fittings, Alternative Bathrooms. Tiles, European Heritage.
As such, there’s storage at the back of the room, with open shelving and drawers on the right. “At the moment, it’s for toys, but it can grow into a library and [the design] gives you more possibilities,” she says. “If this were [for] a teenager, you might only want to change the wallpaper.”
Wallpaper, Cole & Son.
Pendant light, John Lewis.
The wallpaper is the same in all the boys’ rooms. “They all loved it, so we just picked different colours.”
Tiles, European Heritage. Bathroom fittings, Alternative Bathrooms.
Which features do you most like about this renovation? Share your thoughts in the Comments.
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