Balham Park

The deep reworking of an Edwardian villa inspired by Paris and Canada

Formerly a doctor’s surgery, this semi-detached Edwardian villa in leafy south London backs onto Wandsworth Common had been well maintained by its previous owners but its interiors we’re outdated and the solid wall brick construction and single glazing thermally inefficient. A young Canadian family saw the opportunity to make their home here and wanted to radically rethink the house without losing its poise and presence.

Working within the existing footprint, as the rear garden is only 75m2, the project takes a ‘back-to-brick’ approach in two ways. Firstly, the heavy masonry painted from elevation was carefully stripped of its thick off-white coating, revealing a decorative red brick facade below, similar to its adjoining neighbours. In contrast to others, and more in the spirit of the original build, a red-tinted mortar was chosen along with dark green painted stucco and windows to complete the re-presentation of the street elevation. The combination is a nod to New York brownstone houses, reworked for London.

The second aspect of ‘back-to-brick’ took place inside. The whole house was taken back to a bare shell, enabling the installation of a full system of internal wall insulation, giving the house a warm lining to contain heat and buffer against heat loss. The jacket, working in combination with triple glazing throughout has radically reduced energy needs, with the residual requirement met by an air source heat pump located to the side of the house. The installation of MVHR with Nox filtration makes for superb internal air quality, which is linked to wellbeing and better quality sleep.

The largely glazed, simple volume rear extension houses a 3m ceilinged kitchen space, forming the focus of daily life for a family who love to eat well and entertain. From this space, the compact, yet versatile and lush garden is drawn into the house, becoming an indivisible part of the home.

Working in close collaboration with interior designer Clare Gaskin, the interiors are strikingly monochromatic, inspired by the client’s love of grand Parisian apartments with their panelling and decorative plasterwork. This pared back palette is worked into bespoke joinery, furniture and fittings, with subtle warmth introduced through the white-oiled English ash engineered flooring used throughout the house, in both parquet and linear boards.

The principal bedroom addresses the tree-lined park at the back of the house and, through the use of a deep green-black colour scheme, draws the foliage into close connection with the room, connecting you with woodland cabins, a feeling completed by the corner gas fire and free standing copper bath.

A witty elegance pervades the top floor of the house, where two children’s bedrooms share a connecting shower room and each child has there own ‘nook’ for reading and daydreaming, tucked into the gables and furnished with lots of cushions, perfect for sleepovers.


James Daykin | Shidan Hagos