This enchanting double-fronted, end of terrace house lies within the Rush Common & Brixton Hill Conservation Area. Built in 1895 in the high Victorian style, the house is positioned at the adjunct of Holmewood Gardens, a charming local village green of sorts. It is incredibly peaceful because of its position in a private corner plot. Beautifully designed in the classical French style, internal accommodation extends to some 2,500 sq ft, with six bedrooms, and a mature private garden. Owned and occupied by just three families during its entire history, the house has retained countless original features, including all external stucco features, internal joinery, fine plasterwork, and pitch pine floorboards.
Setting the Scene
Before the London, Chatham and Dover railway came in the 1860s, the area was comprised entirely of open fields, with some earlier Georgian houses set upon nearby Brixton Hill. Cotherstone Road and Holmewood Gardens were laid out in the early 1890s; this was house completed in the middle of the decade. Built for the newly prosperous and respectable middle classes, the train allowed workers to live farther away from central London for the first time – in the ‘new’ suburbs.
The house’s grand exterior elevation is set back from the road behind a low wall with Buxus hedging and lollipop bay trees . It is built from beautifully patinaed stock brick in the Gothic Revival style that the Victorians found so enchanting. The style is evident in the elaborately carved foliage at the tops of the window’s pilasters, the entrance columns, the porch’s central keystone at the roundhead entrance and the steeply pitched Welsh slate roof. One of only four double-fronted houses in the gardens, the house is three bays wide, with a proud canted bay at the house’s southern range. A mature wisteria winds its way carefully around the ground floor’s apertures, bursting into bloom with its wonderful scent come springtime.
The Grand Tour
Entrance is at the house’s spacious and wide-set open porch. The original panelled door is flanked and framed by glass panels, and further transom windows above flood the central entrance hall with light. The dining room and kitchen occupy one side of the ground floor, while the sitting room occupies the other. A sunroom and separate WC/utility room are set discreetly at the rear, and a large full-height cellar is conveniently positioned at basement level.
The dining room is set to the front of the plan, with an east-facing bay window inviting in the morning light; a wood-burner is set into the open hearth. Opening immediately to the spacious kitchen, the rooms connect seamlessly and allow for a modern way of living. Limestone rests above panelled cupboards, and a large antique ceramic sink is set to one side. Slim louvre wedding doors lead to the bright sunroom. Here, expanses of glass are set into the pitched roof and there is access to the shaded garden terrace.
At the house’s northern range is the dual aspect bipartite sitting room; to the rear, a library area features handsome wall-to-wall bookcases, and there is a sitting area to the front. This space is wonderfully intimate and has tall dual sash windows; an exquisite antique gesso chimneypiece in the Queen Anne style features a glorious open fire. The decorative cornice and plasterwork are excellent in this room; French windows are set into a tall bay at the very rear of the space and open to a pretty arch festooned with mature Rambling Rector roses.
Walls and plasterwork throughout the house are washed in beautifully atmospheric shades of pale stone, slaked lime and chalky whites, all flowing effortlessly from room to room with subtle differentiations in tone. Exposed floorboards have been similarly treated in aged-white hues, while durable travertine tiles are used in the high-traffic areas of the hallway, bathrooms, and sunroom.
The first floor is home to four bedrooms, neatly positioned around a spacious landing and a large bathroom with a cast-iron clawfoot tub. The bedrooms are incredibly light and airy, on spacious square-set plans. The uppermost floor has two further bedrooms and a wet room clad in limestone tiles. Set in the roof’s pitch, several Velux windows allow an excellent quality of light to flow through the rooms.
The Great Outdoors
The private garden is beautifully designed in a classic country garden style. Indian stone forms the terrace closest to the house, with planting radiating off a central circulus laid with pea gravel and framed by low Buxus hedging. Planting includes lilac trees, viburnum, hydrangeas, and rambling roses. A silver birch resides in one corner, and there is a wonderful hexagonal garden room complete with electricity in another.
The surrounding area is brilliantly leafy and verdant with an array of green spaces nearby; Holmewood Gardens is directly adjacent to the house, while the ancient Rush Common is a stone’s throw away. Brockwell Park, with its fantastic Art Deco lido, is a fifteen-minute walk and Belair Park, Dulwich Park and Dulwich Woods, which provide access to the Green Chain Walk, are slightly further afield.
Out and About
Cotherstone Road is a short walk from the plethora of amenities Brixton has to offer. Brixton was the pinnacle of modernity during the latter years of the 19th century, with the first purpose-built department store (Bon Marche) in the United Kingdom opening in 1877 and the first electrically lit market street aptly named ‘Electric Avenue’, opening in the 1880s.
Nearby Brixton Village, Market Row and Acre Lane are all highly recommended destinations. The Ritzy Cinema, Electric Brixton and Brixton O2 Academy are much-loved institutions. Newly opened is The Department Store, a superb renovation of the 1877 Bon Marche building that now houses collaborative workspaces, a Pure Vinyl record shop, a community Post Office and Canova Hall restaurant and bar.
There are a variety of transport connections within easy reach of Cotherstone Road. Buses run across the city from Brixton Hill, while the Victoria Line at Brixton Underground offers speedy connections to central London, with trains running every two minutes, reaching Oxford Circus in 14 minutes. National Rail services run from nearby Streatham Hill station for trains to both London Bridge and London Victoria stations.
Council Tax Band: F