Set in a peaceful spot a short walk from Hampstead High Street, this fine brown brick Grade II-listed Georgian house lies at the upper end of Frognal in the Hampstead Conservation Area. Believed to have been built in around 1745 by acclaimed Georgian architect Henry Flitcroft, the home is set over four levels, with four bedrooms and measures almost 2,600 sq ft internally. An exceptional contemporary glass addition defines the rear of the ground floor, forming a beautiful and spacious series of living spaces flooded with light. Wonderfully mature and private gardens are set to the front and back of the house.
Setting the Scene
The upper end of Frognal, from Frognal Lane to Frognal Rise, was a distinct hamlet in the 17th and 18th centuries; the earliest settlement of the area was probably found near the junction of Frognal and Frognal Lane. Several exquisite 18th-century houses remain, including this home. Frognal was extended southwards in the 1880s, and much of Frognal today is characterised by imposing late 19th-century Victorian homes.
When it was first built, this house was named Jasmine Cottage. It is a fine example of classical Georgian architecture, with a pleasingly symmetrical façade. Architect Henry Flitcroft was a Hampstead resident and is believed to have worked on several houses in the area, including this house and neighbouring companion house, Besant Cottage. The integrity of the building remains, and many of the architectural features have been wonderfully preserved. The spacious contemporary addition to the ground floor blends effortlessly, a pleasing juxtaposition to Flitcroft’s original designs. This 21st-century space was conceived by Ed Toovey Architects, renowned for their work on many esteemed historic buildings and private residences, including an ongoing ten-year project at nearby Grade II-listed Highgate school to expand the facilities.
The Grand Tour
On Frognal, a solid plank door is set into a tall garden wall surrounded by decorative coping stones, giving few clues about the remarkable home behind. Accessed by an entry phone, a secret garden with a stunning magnolia tree is positioned at the front of the house. The main elevation presents a handsome façade, three bays wide, flush six-by-six box sash windows, and a Welsh slate mansard roof. The handsome doorcase with console-bracketed hood frames a Georgian, six-panel, part-glazed front door featuring a brass doctor’s knocker and, as with the garden entrance door, Banham security locks. A separate entrance leads down stone steps to the house’s lower-ground floor.
The front door opens to the main entrance hall, the original staircase lies ahead, and there is a clear vista to the sitting room beyond. Wideset contemporary oiled oak floorboards lead into the library and study on the right and extend into the living spaces. The study, with panelled wedding doors set into a deep architrave, can be closed off for privacy or remain folded to create an entirely open plan on this floor. It opens immediately to the sitting room, part of the original Georgian plan. Both rooms feature elegant plaster cornicing. The sitting room also has an outstanding antique statuary marble chimneypiece, home to a wood-burning stove.
Toovey’s contemporary living space, home to the open-plan kitchen, living and dining room, comprises the remainder of this floor. It is an unapologetically modern exploration of volume, materiality, and light and offers an exceptional contrast to the original main house. There is a Rako lighting system, conveniently operable by smartphone with saveable light settings and several specially commissioned pendant light designs by the acclaimed Rothschild & Bickers. Boundaries between inside and out are blurred, with full-height sliding glass doors forming a lucent barrier. This extended space wraps around the rear garden, with several carefully placed apertures allowing further natural light into the rooms. The entire intervention is warmed with underfloor heating.
The seating area has a trio of large roof lights set into the tall ceiling, with two further elongated glass apertures above the dining area. A landscape clerestory window allows for further south-facing light to enter the space. The dining room features a wall of custom-built shelving and cupboards below the clerestory window; both architectural features span the room’s width.
The kitchen was commissioned specially from Sola Kitchens, with Brazilian book-matched natural quartzite resting atop contemporary panelled white cabinetry. The island unit houses the inset sink and Quooker tap, and there are further integrated appliances, including a Gaggenau double oven and Siemens induction hob, in the surrounding cabinets. An additional roof light is cleverly positioned directly above the island unit to allow further excellent natural light into the space. There is also a spacious utility room and a separate WC on this floor.
The first floor is home to the principal bedroom, a beautiful east-facing room that enjoys the morning light. The high ceiling is barrel-vaulted, and the walls are papered in a pretty design. A wall of cupboards runs along one wall, and a jib door opens to the spacious en suite bathroom. Contemporary sanitary and brassware here is from CP Hart, primarily comprised of an oval freestanding bath beside the window. Double sinks in a similar design rest above a vanity unit. There is also a separate spacious shower enclosure and plentiful storage, and the room is underfloor heated. An adjacent bedroom is currently used as a dressing room, with wall-to-wall custom-built oak wardrobes. It could easily be returned to sleeping quarters if required.
The lower-ground floor has been cleverly designed with its own front door, allowing it to be used as independent living quarters if required. It contains a bedroom and spacious shower room, perfect for a nanny or older children. Underfloor heating continues throughout this floor and is on its own controllable circuit.
At the apex of the house is a charming garret of sorts. Currently used as an additional study and occasional bedroom, this characterful room has a high open-pitch ceiling clad in butt-and-bead panelling; dual-aspect sash windows are set into the dormers, allowing both east and west-facing light into the space. There is also an en suite bathroom with traditional fittings, including a cast-iron claw-foot roll-top bath, pedestal basin and lavatory with a high-level cistern. Further enclosed storage is set above the stairwell in the roof’s pitch.
The Great Outdoors
The gardens at Frognal have an incredible feeling of seclusion and privacy, each forming an almost perfect square. The front garden has a beautiful magnolia tree positioned centrally on the York stone terrace, surrounded by ferns, shrubs and flower beds. West-facing, it is a lovely spot to sit in the late afternoon or early evening.
The rear garden opens from the ground-floor spaces, with the flush threshold connecting the two seamlessly; indoors and outdoors become one in warmer months. This outdoor room is also paved with York flagstones, with space for seating and outdoor dining. Wisteria winds its way along the south-facing wall, coming into bloom in early Spring, and there is a large, raised bed in the northwestern corner of the garden, home to further climbers and shrubs.
Out and About
The house is just a few minutes’ walk from the delights that make Hampstead one of the most sought-after locations in London. Hampstead High Street offers a plethora of boutiques, cafes and eateries, including Jin Kichi, Oddono’s gelati, Ginger & White, Gail’s and the famous Hampstead Crêperie. There are several charming pubs nearby, including The Horseshoe, The Flask and The Holly Bush, while the open expanse of Hampstead Heath is just minutes away. Some of London’s best independent schools can be reached on foot.
Hampstead underground station (Northern Line) is five minutes from the house.
Council Tax Band: H
- Five Good Things: what to see, read, visit and buy this OctoberPursuits
- At the Table: an evening of fun and feasting with Olympia and Ariadne IrvingLeisure
- Northern Lights: five homes in the north that have us in awe
- A Maker’s Story: Roddy Maude-Roxby, the man behind the maskInteriors
- Inspiration of the Week: more is more at this timber-framed house in Suffolk