On one of Central London’s most iconic garden squares, a rare and exciting opportunity presents itself to refurbish and reinstate an original Soho Square Grade II*-listed home as a residence. Planning permission has been achieved for the house, which is currently used in a commercial capacity, to be restored as a single dwelling. The permitted scheme has been designed by Rodić Davidson Architects and proposes the highest quality of historically sympathetic internal refurbishment, alongside significant improvements to the sustainability and environmental performance of the building, with a target of a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating. The finished house will be a five-bedroom home of over 6,000 sq ft, arranged across five storeys, with a private third floor terrace and additional rooftop garden.
Setting The Scene
Under the current planning permission, the design designates that the building will be unified and restored with particular respect to its historic features. Many, though not necessarily all original, have considerable heritage value and together build a rich history of the building, as documented by its listed status.
This is a building of considerable beauty, with grand proportions, stone and original wooden staircases and the potential to be one of London’s finest residences.
The Grand Tour
Under the agreed permissions, historically valuable cornices, architraves and panelling are to be be retained and sensitively restored. Where historic features have been lost, the most appropriate features will be installed and original windows reconditioned.
The proposed lower-ground floor contains two double bedrooms, a utility room, WC, plant room and storage room. The main rear room is designated as a media space. The existing pavement vaults, located at the front, are to be adapted and the floor lowered to provide a new en suite shower room serving one of the bedrooms. The ceiling will be raised to become closer to its original height across the level; traditional cornices, skirting boards, architraves and doors will be returned; and the staircase and panelling are to be protected and restored.
The existing ground floor level is retained in the glorious reception room and ground floor landing spaces. Original panelling will be restored and set against a new ground-to-first floor staircase and balustrade, which is designed to be installed in its historic central stairwell, returning the principle floor to its original arrangement.
The existing 20th century extension, located at the rear, is replaced with one that expresses the original rear canted bay of the house. A new glazed link, with enhanced light and volume, will create a clear distinction between the original house and the revised extension, with space for bicycle storage, bins and services on the ground floor, accessed from the rear passage. The proposed rear extension will contain a study on a split-level in a double height space which is accessed by stairs from the rear of the ground floor level.
At first floor level, a new kitchen is created in the rear principal room, within the canted bay, which contains some of the finest original features. The kitchen will consist of free standing furniture (cabinets and an island) which do not affect or interrupt the wall panelling. The new extension contains a dining room to the rear of the kitchen while symmetrical double doors provide access to the sitting room.
The second floor proposes two bedrooms, to the front and rear. One of the two includes an en suite bathroom and wardrobes housed in a ‘pod-style’ joinery box. This allows the main room, size, scale and proportions to be understood and enjoyed, and the ‘pod’ read as a potentially temporary insertion into the building.
The third floor will house the principal bedroom suite, extended across the stair core. The front room provides a bathroom and living room. The bathroom elements will be housed in a further ‘pod-style’ joinery box. Reclaimed and restored fireplaces would be installed to both primary rooms.
The Great Outdoors
A roof terrace will be located on the third floor of the new extension and be accessible through the bedroom. The existing window shall be converted into traditional French doors leading to a glazed walkway and balustrades leading across to the roof terrace, maintaining an equal divide between new and old. The proposed smaller lift would also offer access to the roof terrace, which provides five additional square metres of planting.
Elements that will contribute to the sustainability of the project include the installation of an Air Source Heat Pump on the roof in addition to various improvements to the fabric and services of the building, as well as the aforementioned roof garden.
At the epicentre of the Central London’s creative corner, Soho Square is a breath of greenery that, though ever-changing, has remained fashionable since its inception in the 1670s. All paths lead to the half-timbered, mock-Tudor gardeners’ hut built in the 1920s, later listed in the 1990s. During the 18th century, the square was recorded to be planted with almond, peach, cherry, lilac, roses, laburnum, and honeysuckle.
Across the square, The House of St. Barnabas is just one of a few members clubs in the immediate area, serving seasonal produce and hosting talks, music and arts events, and markets, all in the name of charity. Numerous Soho House outposts are around the corner; 40 Greek Street, its first, is just down the road. 76 Dean Street and Dean Street Townhouse are both just minutes away.
Also on Dean Street, Ducksoup is a natural wine bar with a weekly-rotating seasonal menu. Bob Bob Ricard is just off of Regent Street. Rovi and Nopi, both under the Ottolenghi umbrella, are ten minutes in either direction. Andrew Edmunds, one of the last Bastions of ‘Old Soho’ is another well loved nearby classic.
Entertainment is aplenty, with a plethora of music venues and jazz bars close by for those musically inclined. A bit further afield are the West End Theatres.
Some of London’s biggest shopping districts are within walking distance, with stores such as Selfridges, Liberty and Fortnum & Mason sitting alongside the smaller boutiques of Carnaby, Soho and nearby Mayfair. Bond Street is a short stroll away, a hub of luxury shops, fine jewellers and specialist galleries.
Located a short walk from Tottenham Court Road, nearby underground stations offer regular services on the Central, Northern, Elizabeth, Bakerloo and Victoria lines. Both Heathrow Airport and the Eurostar are also within easy reach via the Elizabeth Line and Victoria Line, respectively.
- A Home with a History: an interiors maven’s Georgian house in Kent
- Singular Appeal: five one-bedroom homes for saleHomes
- A Private View: from beige to beautiful in south-west LondonHomes / Interiors
- Inspiration of the Week: a picture of the simple life, deep in the Welsh countryside
- Inigo Revisits: Charles and Romilly Saumarez Smith’s art-filled 18th-century townhouseHomes / Interiors