This carefully considered two-bedroom apartment is set within Redbanks, a handsome, Grade II-listed detached Victorian villa that lies upon a peaceful tree-lined road in Sydenham Hill, south London. Recently redesigned in a pared-back palette by Ronnie + King, this lateral home is positioned on the first floor, measures some 820 sq ft internally and has a grand main living space with triplicate aspects that overlook the communal gardens.
Setting the Scene
Sydenham Hill was once part of Great North Wood, an area of woodland that covered a large part of south London. The area has an incredibly rich history, with the woods on Sydenham Hill first reserved by HM Queen Elizabeth I for timber to be used in shipbuilding at Deptford Creek. Large Victorian villas with extensive gardens were first established in Sydenham Hill in the 1850s, in response to the development of the Crystal Palace, which was built to house the Great Exhibition in 1851 and located nearby; this was a feat of engineering at the time but sadly destroyed by a fire in 1936.
Redbanks was built in 1868 by local builder John Perry to the designs of Israel Bacon. Bacon was an understudy of Charles Barry Junior, architect of New College at nearby Dulwich College, and carried Barry’s taste for high-Victorian classicism when designing Redbanks. The villa is built from red brick in Flemish bond, with a mansard roof of original Welsh slate, and set out over four storeys, with a three-window range. Original intact stucco frames the windows; entablature with mutule forms the cornicing at ground level and decorative quoins sit atop the apartment’s first-floor fenestration, while dentil cornice projects proudly at the second storey, completing the selection of rendered dressings to the house.
The Grand Tour
Set behind the original sandstone wall and piers, a gravel path leads through Redbank’s pretty gardens to stone steps and the grand entranceway – a set-in aedicule comprising Tuscan pilasters supporting a decorative entablature and the remnants of the cast-iron porch and railings. A half-glazed front door painted in smart black gloss leads to the apartment’s entrance on the first floor, through a secondary door inset with pretty leaded glass and into the private hallway. A sense of elegance envelops immediately, with walls washed in deep blueish-greys, original cornicing overhead and engineered oak flooring underfoot.
To the front of the plan is the main living space, an incredibly large and bright room, flooded with light care of the tripartite box sash windows. Walls are painted in ‘Dimity’ by Farrow & Ball, with a chimneypiece and working fire providing a focal point to the room. Set to one side is the kitchen, cleverly redesigned as a butler’s pantry. This unfolds behind a custom-made beaded glass and panelled timber partition wall, which allows light to flow through. Off-black panelled cupboards sit alongside oak worktops, a butler sink and taps by deVOL; appliances are by Smeg. A large dining area-cum-sitting room leads through a wide architrave to a separate music room and snug – originally a third bedroom, this space could easily be re-partitioned if required.
Sleeping quarters are to the rear of the flat. The peaceful main bedroom is generously proportioned, with a wall of cupboards offering plentiful storage. The second bedroom is eminently cosy, with walls in ‘Setting Plaster’ by Farrow & Ball, pale wool fitted carpet underfoot and wonderful views directly from bed to the greenery of a mature oak tree – a calming vista with which to start the day. The bathroom is painted in a moss-green colour, with geometric patterned tiles by Fired Earth, and has a flattering quality of light care of the decorative etched glass windows.
The Great Outdoors
Beautiful communal gardens are positioned to the front of the house, quintessentially English in their design. These are well stocked with mature planting, including fragrant roses, jasmine and hydrangeas. A shaded seating and dining area is set below an ancient oak tree – the perfect spot for alfresco lunches in warmer months.
Out and About
Redbanks is surrounded by Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Woods, which are a protected wildlife nature reserve. Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf Course, as well as allotments and sports club grounds, provide an unbroken green space as far as Dulwich Park and Lordship Lane. Sydenham Wells Park is a five-minute walk from the flat. The excellent Woodhouse Pub is located at the entrance to Crescent Wood Road, voted by The Daily Telegraph as having one of the best pub gardens in London. Other local attractions include The Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Horniman Museum and the local town centres of Crystal Palace and Dulwich Village.
Crystal Palace, which has previously been named Number Five on Lonely Planet’s “Greatest little-known neighbourhoods in the world”, is a 10-minute walk away and is a vibrant area with award-winning restaurants and bars as well as a thriving art and music scene. Dulwich Village is also a 10-minute walk from Redbanks, accessed via another wonderful walk through the woodland. The road is well placed for OFSTED-rated “outstanding” primary and secondary state schools, as well as some of the best independent schools in London.
Crescent Wood Road is a short walk on a beautiful tree-lined footpath to Sydenham Hill station, which runs services to London Victoria (15 minutes) and Blackfriars (18 minutes). Overground trains from Forest Hill or Sydenham run to Canada Water (20 minutes).
Tenure: Leasehold (approx. 148 years remaining)
Service Charge: approx £1,450 per annum
Ground Rent: £0
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