This wonderful late-Victorian townhouse lies on the south side of North London’s Ospringe Road, a short walk from Tufnell Park and Kentish Town. Arranged over five light-filled levels, the internal accommodation unfolds over 2,800 sq ft and five bedrooms. A charming south-facing private garden opens seamlessly from the lower-ground floor living spaces, culminating with a brilliant ancillary garden studio. Contemporary interventions in the house echo elements of the past and blend beautifully with the original plan; the interiors were recently reimagined by acclaimed conservation architecture practice Arts Lettres. The home is minutes from Tufnell Park underground station and Fortess Road, with its array of independent provisors, while the delights of Hampstead Heath are just a 15-minute walk away.
Setting the Scene
Five storeys high and three bays wide, the houses on Ospringe Road have a simple yet dignified appearance. They are built from London stock brick and have tall chimney stacks projecting from steep Welsh slate roofs. The terraces on each side of the road are defined by canted bays, beautiful arched windows on the raised ground floor, and pronounced wide set open porches featuring brick cornicing and stucco dressings.
This home had an extensive renovation in recent years, overhauling all utilities and architectural components and an entire refurbishment of the interior spaces to a wonderfully high standard. Historic features have been carefully preserved, including fine plasterwork and an elegant, sculptural staircase. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
The house is set back from the road behind a low brick wall and laurel hedge. A mature fig tree sits proudly in the front garden, from where steps ascend to the main deep-set entrance porch; a further separate door is on the lower-ground floor. The original front door is four-panelled, painted lead grey and inset with etched glass. An arched transom light rests above, and both floors’ entrance doors feature Banham stainless steel security locks. The home also has a fully working alarm system.
The entrance hall’s expansive walls are painted in the rich ‘Hague Blue’ by Farrow and Ball. As part of the imaginative restoration of the house, the original floorboards were painted white and relaid diagonally, lending an almost Scandinavian air to the raised ground floor spaces, complemented by original plasterwork that frames the elevations.
The bipartite living room is some 30 ft deep with wide-set wedding doors positioned centrally, making both spaces more intimate if required. Large windows at either end allow the spaces to be flooded with light. The front part of the room functions as a reading room. Painted in ‘Vardo’ by Farrow and Ball, a deep teal colour, it has custom-built floor-to-ceiling bookcases creating an enveloping space. The back of the room is a traditional sitting room with French windows opening to a Juliet balcony overlooking the garden and climbing vines winding through the balustrade, lending a wonderful sense of romance to the immediate aspect. Walls here are painted in the soft blush-coloured ‘Pink Ground’, also by Farrow and Ball, making the most of the southerly light.
The lower-ground floor rooms have been opened to create one large, convivial kitchen, dining and sitting room. The room has excellent ceiling heights and encaustic tile flooring laid in a pattern with varying shades of dark grey. The entire floor is warmed with underfloor heating; two doors open from here to the garden.
The kitchen is positioned at the front of the plan, with a large elongated island unit positioned centrally. Custom designed, cupboards are faced in horizontal planks of wood, and a double butler sink is inset. Off-white tiles act as the worksurface. A wall of pine shelves is complemented by a white-painted base cupboards underneath. The cooking and prep station is positioned along the opposite wall, with a run of floor cabinets featuring similar horizontal plank wood-faced drawers with stainless steel atop. A large Mercury steel range cooker and freestanding stainless steel fridge freezer also feature. A large utility room is positioned under the stoop, with room for a washer and dryer. This space also acts as a boiler room for the house.
The first floor is home to the main bedroom suite, with the sleeping quarters papered in an elegant hand-pressed linocut block print design. A cleverly designed jib door opens to a large walk-in wardrobe; a second opens to the en suite. A reclaimed cast-iron bath is set beside the window, and the room has a separate shower enclosure. A further secondary bedroom is positioned to the rear of this floor.
The second floor has two additional large bedrooms, currently used as home offices and studio spaces. The rear room also has what is currently used as a large storage cupboard with a window, but could make for a brilliant additional en suite with plumbing already in place. French windows from this rear room open to a further balcony and its southerly views. Both these rooms share a large bathroom with David Hicks-designed wallpaper and an additional roll-top bath.
The sculptural staircase continues its ascent to the uppermost floor; the stairwell is lit from above by a large square skylight. Currently given over entirely to a guest bedroom, the room has plentiful storage set deep into the eaves. Large glass doors open to a third spacious balcony with exceptional 180-degree views of London and, on a clear day, as far as the Sussex Downs.
The Great Outdoors
The south-facing garden opens from the lower-ground floor to a seating terrace. Here, a clever brick paving design has been laid beside large, honed pale stone flags. Grapevines and climbing roses wind their way along the rear elevation. Established planting includes jasmine, English roses and buddleia, attracting a wonderful array of bees, birds and butterflies.
Raised beds surround the lawn, with a York stone pathway leading to the ancillary garden studio. Built specifically as a daylight photographic studio, though easily used for other purposes, including a home office, the structure is partially sunk into the garden below ground level, allowing for dramatic ceiling heights internally. The lead mono-pitch roof is inset with a large glass aperture, with another full-height glass window set into the north elevation, facing the main house. Both these architectural interventions allow an excellent quality of light into the studio space, which is painted a dark grey and has a poured concrete floor. Arts Lettres also designed this space, and it replicates the northern daylight lighting of the late acclaimed American photographer Irving Penn.
Out and About
Ospringe Road is close to a diverse range of local shopping facilities, including the aforementioned shops on Fortess Road and fishmonger Jonathan Norris, butchers Meat NW5 and Tufnell Park Bakery. There is a fantastic wine shop, Theatre of Wine, on Junction Road, opposite The Tiffin Tin, which is often cited as the best Indian takeaway in north London. Kentish Town has numerous independent shops, delis and pubs, including The Southampton Arms, The Pineapple and the Bull and Last in nearby Dartmouth Park. Islington, Highbury Fields and Highbury Barn are easily accessible to the south, while Highgate, Swain’s Lane are to the north. Local green spaces include Hampstead Heath and more locally, Dalmeny Park and Montpelier Gardens
The house is within the catchment for some of North London’s most sought-after primary schools, Eleanor Palmer and Torriano (both Ofsted ‘Outstanding’), and the much-respected Acland Burghley, Parliament Hill and Camden School for Girls secondary schools. There is also an excellent choice of local independent schools nearby, including North Bridge House, Highgate School and Channing School. Local pre-schools include Montpelier Nursery and the Montessori Rainbow Nursery.
Transport links are excellent, with the house equidistant to Kentish Town and Tufnell Park Underground stations (Northern Line & City Thameslink). Regular buses also run to both The City and West End.
Council Tax Band: G
Ospringe Road is located just west of Brecknock Road, formerly York Road, an ancient drover’s route from Highgate to the old Caledonian cattle market and King’s Cross. Built on land formerly known at St John’s College Park, the surrounding streets began to be laid out in the 1860s, with the houses on Ospringe Road being completed soon after.
The area was mainly dairy pasture prior to this, supplying the city with milk and butter. Small hamlets already existed in nearby Kentish Town and Holloway, while Tufnell Park was named after William Tufnell, who inherited the manor of Barnsbury from his father-in-law.
The manor itself lay to the east of Ospringe Road, at the junction of Holloway Road. When the old estate was demolished and the area built up as a middle-class suburb, the name of Tufnell Park was retained.
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