A River Runs Above It: stand-out homes in south London for sale
These houses – all in south London, all with three bedrooms or more – are a reminder that while the best things don’t always come in big packages, sometimes they really do
If you’ve ever happened to walk along Stockwell Park Crescent, you’ve probably looked at the tall Victorian villas lining this sweeping street and thought, ‘I’d like to live there.’ Well, if you’re reading this, it might just be a case of ‘right place, right time’.
This semi-detached four-bedroom house is, like its neighbours, utterly enchanting, its London stock-brick façade punctuated with white stucco accents and a pretty arched window on the raised-ground floor. Inside, however, it’s exceptional: the current owners have taken great pains to restore the original Victorian fabric accurately and appropriately, removing insensitive alterations made over the years and replumbing, rewiring and replacing the roof. The result is a pitch-perfect restoration across 2,000sq ft that feels designed for modern life while paying due homage to its heritage. Hats off.
We love a bit of old-school glamour – and this house on Crescent Grove, on the south side of Clapham Common, has it by the bucketload. Forming part of a private estate of 40 houses that has existed since its construction to plans by Francis Child in in 1827, it’s a stellar example of Regency urban architecture. Stucco dressings? Tick. Box sash windows? Tick. Pillars, pediments and plasterwork? Tick, tick, tick.
The interior styling only adds to the effect. There are floor-to-ceiling damask curtains of ruby silk, racing-green walls and giltwood furniture (and that’s just in the drawing room). Look closely, however, and you’ll find a few more modern surprises: a pair of Philippe Starck ‘Ghost’ chairs; some Art Nouveau, Mackintosh-esque ones in the dining room; a Tiffany-style lampshade. In fact, this blend of trad and newer touches can be felt throughout: exquisite modern cabinetry meets 19th-century shuttering in the kitchen, for instance, to say nothing of those sumptuous bathrooms. Old-school glamour, yes, but contemporary style and comfort too.
Arts and Crafts done well is a fine thing indeed – and this house does it well. The four-bedroom Edwardian semi in Croydon, which has more than 1,800sq ft of floor space, today stands as testament to the movement’s ideal union of beauty and utility, executed with proper hand. Of particular note are the original carved balustrades and the stained-glass windows, with their typically flat organic motifs, which survive not just in the front door, but in the sitting room and master bedroom. Ceramic floor tiles and cast-iron fireplaces, also dating from c1910, though less ornamental are no less lovely.
What’s particularly clever here, however, is the way the current owner has managed to keep things feeling distinctly 21st century, not least in the kitchen, which mixes bare timber with sleek contemporary cabinetry. For all its swishness, slotted in next to an Edwardian fireplace, it feels entirely at home. We told you it was done well.
Remember when we visited the owners of this house on Herbert Road? The story of Fergus and Elizabeth’s falling for the huge and handsome house near Woolwich Common was a memorable one – as their 24 years here have been. That said, despite it being the site of more than two decades of busy family life, nothing about this place feels tired or careworn. Rather, exceptional colour choices and an enviable collection of contemporary art (Fergus is a dealer) have kept things feeling fresh, while his and Elizabeth’s commitment to gentle restoration over needless modern intervention lends every space a sense of settled style. As Fergus said when we spoke, “This house can’t be played with because it doesn’t need to be played with.”
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