Leonard House is a handsome Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse located in the Central Richmond conservation area, steps from the town’s excellent restaurants and shops. Built in 1750, the house has four bedrooms and measures 3,600 sq ft over four floors. It also has a private enclosed garden designed by a Chelsea Flower Show award winner. The home has a remarkable history. It was once owned by the writer Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard, who founded the famed publishing house Hogarth Press there. Many of the house’s historic features have been carefully retained and restored during recent renovations, which, combined with modern updates, make it an exceptional place to live. The restoration of Leonard House was overseen by acclaimed historic architects Donald Insall Associates, who worked with master craftsmen throughout the project. The house is less than a five-minute walk from Richmond station, with regular services to London Waterloo taking just 16 minutes. Richmond Park, one of London’s eight Royal Parks, is a 10-minute walk away.
Setting the Scene
Leonard House is a two-bay red brick Georgian townhouse on Paradise Road in Richmond, London. The house was built in 1750 and was originally one entire five-bay wide house, but it was split into two homes in 1870. Leonard House shares a reinstated open double-columned Doric portico with neighbouring Virginia House.
The exterior of the house is characterised by a beautiful mature wisteria, red brick laid in Flemish Bond, a stucco sill band on the first floor, an elegant red brick cornice at the uppermost storey, and large six-by-six sash windows. The brickwork was restored as part of the building’s overhaul and repointed with historically accurate lime mortar. Other restored historic features include lost wall panelling, internal six-panel doors, historic plasterwork, and handsome chimneypieces.
The interior of the house has been completely overhauled, with new bathrooms supplied by Fired Earth and an excellent kitchen made bespoke by Chamber Furniture. Conservation roof lights were installed in the inner valley roofs to maximise daylight, while the box sash windows were all fully restored and, where necessary, replaced; cast-iron radiators were installed throughout. The interior spaces have remarkably generous volumes, with excellent ceiling heights, and a wonderful quality of light pervades all the house’s rooms. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
A shared marble hallway leads to the private hallway and staircase. The spacious drawing room is at the front of the plan, with oak parquet flooring and a Georgian-design stone chimneypiece with a working gas fire. The south-facing windows bathe the room in a beautiful diffused light. The decorative doorcases in this room are exceptional, and there is the original box cornice and a dado rail. A door to the rear opens to the dining room, which is partially panelled with original joinery. The box cornice is in the ovolo style, and there is a pronounced picture rail above the panelling. A further chimneypiece in a Georgian-eared design with an overmantel is also inset with a secondary gas fire.
The lower ground floor has a very roomy ceiling height, with underfloor heating installed for convenience. The large kitchen here is located at the front of the plan, looking out to the generous lightwell at the front of the house. The kitchen was designed and made by Kent-based specialists Chamber Furniture to an exceptional standard of finish. Panelled cupboards are topped with pale Silestone, and a generous island unit is positioned centrally, inset with a Miele induction hob and downdraft extractor. Appliances are integrated and include a dishwasher and full-height Liebherr fridge-freezer. Additionally, there are two Miele ovens, and a concealed larder has a station for a kettle and a toaster, discreetly hidden way behind tall doors. A fitted banquette is on one side of the room, with space for a large table: the perfect spot for breakfast or informal kitchen suppers.
Also on the lower-ground floor is a large laundry room with a separate WC and a shower room. A sitting room is off the passageway and can act as a TV room, snug, or children’s play area. It could also be used as a staff bedroom if required.
The first floor is home to the principal bedroom suite, with sleeping quarters set to the front and a secondary bedroom to the rear. The rear bedroom can also be used as a spacious dressing room if required. Both rooms have handsome chimney pieces with working gas fires and wonderful box cornices. The bathroom on this floor features Fired Earth tiles and brassware, with marble floor tiles in a mosaic pattern that evokes antiquity. The wall tiles in the shower enclosure are Carrara marble. An original chimneypiece with marble slips and a hob grate is positioned in the corner of the room, and a white resin stone bateau bathtub is set along the wall. The separate shower enclosure also has Fired Earth chrome plated brassware in a traditional design, including a thermostatic rainfall shower and a separate handheld shower head. Two simple Carrara marble bowls act as sinks, set upon a custom vanity unit.
Two further bedrooms are on the uppermost floor, where much of the house’s original panelling, joinery, and fireplaces remain. The front bedroom has a generous en suite bathroom, while the rear bedroom has access to the floor’s main bathroom, which is located on the landing. Here, another handsome chimneypiece is set into the corner of the room, while limestone is used for the floor tiles. Carrara marble continues to be used in the generous shower enclosure, and there is a clawfoot roll-top bath set in front of the chimneypiece. All of the chrome-plated brassware is also by Fired Earth in a similarly traditional design.
The Great Outdoors
The gardens at Leonard House and neighbouring Virginia House were both designed by Chelsea Flower Show award-winner Heather Appleton of Appleton & Co. A decorative cast-iron balcony and steps, specially commissioned and designed by a forge in Kent, descend to the garden terrace. Laid with stone flags, the terrace is bound by horizontal, slated wooden fencing, and pleached maple trees provide privacy from neighbouring homes. The garden offers a wonderful, shaded outdoor space, perfect for entertaining on warm summer days.
A parking space for Leonard House is available by separate negotiation in the nearby covered car park on Paradise Road, along with five years of car club membership.
Out and About
Richmond-upon-Thames is a historic borough in south-west London formed in the 16th century during Henry VIII’s reign. It was recently listed as the best place to live in the capital following a government survey that noted its superb open spaces, excellent eateries, historic architecture, good schools, and low crime rate. Leonard House is located on Paradise Road in the heart of Richmond. It is within easy walking distance of the excellent restaurants, shops, and rail station, as well as Richmond Park and the schools for which the area is renowned.
Nearby Friars Stile Road is known for its excellent and comprehensive collection of shops and eateries, including the Italian restaurant La Luna di Luca, the popular gastropub The Malborough, L’Amandine Patisserie and Coffee House, Richmond Hill Bakery, and The Good Wine Shop. The Richmond Theatre is also nearby, as is Petersham Nurseries, which has an excellent restaurant and garden shop. The River Thames is just a short walk from Leonard House, making it the perfect spot for a slow Sunday stroll or a gateway into central London for avid walkers.
Quick access to central London is available from Richmond train station and Richmond Underground station, which are just a few hundred meters from the house. Heathrow Airport is a 30-minute drive by car.
Council Tax Band: H
Richmond has a long and storied history, with many royal connections. The former home of Henry VII, Richmond Palace, still stands today, albeit in ruins. The area was mostly agricultural land until the 18th century when Leonard House and Virginia House were built as a single detached homes for a wealthy widow. The house was converted into two separate dwellings in 1870 and then back into a single building in 1973. In 2018, it was restored to its original state as two homes.
In 1915, the newly married Leonard and Virginia Woolf moved into what is now Virginia House, naming it Hogarth House. The Hogarth Press, a publishing company founded by the couple, was set up in the dining room of the house. They lived in Hogarth House from 1915 to 1924 and bought the neighbouring Leonard House, this house, in 1920 to let out. They never lived in Leonard House themselves. Leonard House was previously called Suffield House after a former owner of the homes.