Many of my favourite period houses that I’ve seen over the years – especially those in urban locations – have featured extensions, usually to create new dining-kitchen spaces, and the reasons behind these projects have been similar: the existing kitchens were too small for modern living and often too gloomy, and many of these period homes had a poor connection with the external spaces. When you live in the city and have a garden, you want to enjoy it; you want that fluid indoor-outdoors connection.
And, of course, it’s not only about creating the nice big dining-kitchen: it’s about the whole flow of space internally. It’s about creating family orientated living zones and entertaining spaces. And this elegant three bedroom Victorian house in London’s Dartmouth Park, which is being marketed by The Modern House, ticks all these boxes.
This house on Spencer Rise was renovated and designed by Jeremy Pitts as his own home around 15 years ago, and has been carefully maintained by its current owners. Pitts was the Design Director of Studio Reed in London, and he then left the city to embrace a new career working with wood as a designer, furniture maker and builder of timber cabins. During his time with Studio Reed Pitts created bespoke interiors for clients including David Bowie, Paul Smith, and Simon and Yasmin Le Bon. Here, he created a home with a real sense of craftsmanship and a beautiful eye for detail.
The ground floor has two living spaces: the bay-windowed sitting room at the front, which features built-in French oak joinery detailing, and the reception and dining room behind, with its Danish woodburning stove. The latter space is lit by a skylight, and has a single-pane pivoting door to the rear, opening onto a patio and the garden beyond. These two living zones can be left open, so that you can appreciate the whole depth of the house and the long views to the garden, or closed thanks to pocket doors between the two areas. Once closed, the sitting room becomes a cosy and more intimate snug space.
The kitchen sits with an extension to the house and is beautifully contemporary. Again there’s that lovely crafted feeling that comes from the bespoke solid oak cabinetry, with hinges made from leather straps. I love the simplicity of this wall of oak storage. The use of natural timber creates a tactile connection with the garden outside, while also bearing a relationship with the French oak detailing in the sitting room – all part of the cohesive design approach throughout this house.
Another pivoting door leads from the kitchen to the garden, which is arranged on two levels with a decked lower section, and a paved upper area with lots of lovely planting and box hedging. The term ‘urban oasis’ may be overused, but this rear garden does feel like this as it’s sheltered from the neighbours and tucked away from the city beyond.
The first floor has three bedrooms, and the smaller room also works well as a study with its views over the rear garden. Again the staircase leading upstairs is timber, and there’s an electronically operated skylight above that literally pours light into this upper level. And, just as the pocket doors downstairs are a sleek space-saving feature, so the bathroom upstairs is accessed through a sliding door painted in teal, giving a subtle pop of colour to this corridor.
It’s really no surprise to discover that Pitts moved into furniture making when you consider this interior. Note the bathroom above with its custom made teak bathtub and walk-in shower area. It’s details like this – this craftsmanship – that really sets this house apart.
This house on Spencer Rise is being marketed by The Modern House. All photography from The Modern House.