This exceptional three-storey townhouse lies upon St Pauls Crescent, within the peaceful Camden Square conservation area where Camden meets the apex of northernmost King’s Cross. Built in the 1860s, the Victorian home has three bedrooms and extends to over 1,600 sq ft internally, with a brilliantly conceived private garden and interior spaces designed by Chris Dyson Architects. Great care has gone into the recent design and renovation, which saw the entire house sensitively restored both internally and externally to an exceptionally high standard, with all utilities and architectural elements renewed. Historic features have been revealed and celebrated, with sympathetic contemporary additions carefully introduced to create a highly unique home.
Setting the Scene
Camden Square and the surrounding streets, including St Pauls Crescent, were laid out in the early 19th century with most of the houses built by the 1860s; the built form came later than the street layout. St Pauls Church, after which St Pauls Crescent is named, was a fine church built in the centre of Camden Square and completed in 1849 to designs by noted architects Ordish and Johnson. The original church was destroyed during World War II, though a contemporary church hall has been introduced in its place. The area survives today as an excellent example of a mid-Victorian London suburb with a brilliant sense of community, very limited traffic access and an exceptional array of local amenities in Camden, Primrose Hill and the newly rejuvenated Kings Cross district.
The Grand Tour
The house is located at the northern section of St Pauls Crescent. South-east-facing, it enjoys the best of the morning light, with the rear garden receiving the best of the afternoon and evening. Built from classic London stock brick and recently repointed with lime mortar, the façade has pale stone colour banded stucco work at the lower-ground level and further stucco dressings to the upper ground entrance porch and windows, and the first-floor windows. While the exhaustive restoration works took place, the stucco was also fully repaired. The roof is tiled with Welsh slate, with decorative corbels resting below the roof line and the windows are all original restored box sashes.
The original entrance is set behind a low brick wall with custom-designed iron railings featuring laurel leaf finials designed and made by Ferrum, and boxed yew hedging. A gate is inset and leads to climbing white rose and purple clematis-wreathed steps that ascend to the main exterior porch. The original four panel front door, painted traditional gloss black, is finished with specially commissioned stained glass by Coriander Stained Glass, also set into the transom light above. The stucco work surrounding the entrance features pilasters on each side and a cornice above.
A further separate gate opens to the thoughtfully planted front garden featuring star magnolia, evergreen pittosporum, hydrangeas, asters, helibores and long grasses which fill the kitchen window with lush green, seasonal blooms, texture and movement. A gentle winding concrete path offers step and threshold-free access to the lower ground floor, currently used as the principal entrance to the home. Both the street-facing front doors have triple Banham locks in brushed brass and a video entry system features on all floors.
The lower ground floor hallway is clad in butt and bead panelling, a Chris Dyson signature feature, with a guest WC off the hallway and the staircase directly ahead. The staircase has beaten lead runner on the treads and a glass and wood framed partition separates it from the main living space. The ground floor is mainly open plan, some 30 ft deep and encompassing the kitchen and spacious living and dining room. Poured concrete with underfloor heating runs throughout the entire floor, extending to the gardens beyond through slim-profile quadripartite sliding glass doors by IQ Glass. The entire ceiling is painted gloss white to reflect the light throughout the space and two large roof lights are set into the ceiling, further flooding the space with light, with inset LED lighting by iGuzzini providing additional illumination at night-time in both interior and exterior spaces.
The kitchen is positioned to the front of the plan, with bespoke oak panelled cabinetry by John Russell Architectural and bone-colour Silestone rests atop. Appliances are integrated and variously by Liebherr, Fisher & Paykel and Miele. Open shelves line the walls, perfect for storage jars, china and glassware, and an island unit is positioned centrally.
The main living room is brilliantly spacious, with a statuary marble chimney piece in the centre of the room inset with a remote-control gas fire from Nu-Flame. Further oak joinery is set into the alcoves and, as with the kitchen cabinets, all contemporary joinery throughout the house was made bespoke by John Russell Architectural. All cabinet handles are from Beardmore. Nearest the garden, the west wall features a full height arched recess, inset with a large mirror and surrounded by further soft LED light. The electric entertainment and data cabling system throughout the house is by Cisco.
Ascending to the raised ground floor, the main hallway is currently configured as a study area, while the principal rooms have been connected to form a wonderful bipartite bedroom suite. This floor features exceptional plasterwork cornicing and putty colour lime-plaster walls. Burnished cast iron radiators from The Old Radiator Company are here and in all the upper floor spaces, while Forbes and Lomax electric plates and door furniture from From the Anvil feature throughout the entire house. Additionally, a handmade deep pile cream colour wool carpet from Jacaranda Carpets has been employed through this floor, lending a sense of enveloping comfort throughout, uniquely designed in the hallway to show the lime washed original floorboards at its edges.
The principal bedroom suite features large windows at both north and south aspects, with the rear window set into a canted bay overlooking the green roof below, planted entirely with sedum to blend with the garden view beyond . Both feature original panelled shutters. Further statuary marble chimney pieces are positioned in both the rear sleeping quarters and the en suite, with the bedroom’s one home to a further remote-controlled Nu-flame gas fire. A large aperture with folding paneled wedding doors leads to the en suite shower room and dressing area where a grey marble vanity runs along one wall, with mirrored cupboards set above, and further oak wardrobes are set in the alcoves. There is a glass-screened and marble-clad shower enclosure, with a separate WC to the rear of the floor. All nickel-plated brassware and sanitary ware is from CP Hart. A further guest wc is set to the rear of the hallway.
The first floor has been beautifully designed with a loft-like quality. Ceilings have been removed but the bare exposed ceiling joists and purlins remain, with the pitches of the roof clad in further butt and bead panelling. There is fully-fitted hand woven Jacaranda carpeting throughout the landing space and bedrooms. The landing has been cleverly utilised as a library space, with a floor-to-ceiling custom designed red lacquer bookcase surrounding the rear window.
The rear bedroom has French shuttered windows that open to a Juliet balcony planted with grasses, daisies and an olive tree. There are two roof lights in the ceiling pitch and a simple black chimney piece with cast iron grate and Nu-flame gas fire is positioned centrally; a fitted wardrobe, chest of drawers and a dressing table with mirror fill the alcoves either side. The bedroom to the front of the plan also features a black chimney piece with Nu-flame gas fire and incorporates brilliantly conceived bespoke joinery, including a large Donald Judd-like day bed, all commissioned from and made by John Russell Architectural. The bathroom that serves both these bedrooms is Venetian plastered, with butt and bead wainscotting set below a thick marble shelf; bare lime washed floorboards have been left unvarnished. There is a shower over the boxed bath and custom-built mirrored and illuminated cabinet; sanitary and nickel-plated brassware is also from CP Hart.
The Great Outdoors
The front and rear gardens have been both carefully redesigned as part of the greater works, with thoughtful planting in a relaxed, laissez faire manner, with echoes of an English country garden now set within a contemporary concrete landscape. Esmee Jenkins designed the gardens in collaboration with the current owners, while Four Leaf Clover have subsequently provided the careful ongoing tending.
The rear garden is exceptionally private, surrounded by tall walls with further willow hurdles set above and created on site by The Stick Smith; raised beds surround the perimeter. Poured concrete extends from the lower ground floor interior, connecting both spaces seamlessly via a flush threshold, while the iGuzzuni LED lighting is inset outside in an unbroken stripe following the shape of the architectural planter, illuminating the garden at nightfall and ingenuously keeping the interior and exterior spaces visually connected.
Planting has been designed to offer something for the eye all year around and includes ornamental winter flowering viburnam and autumnalis rosea trees, evergreen pittosporum and the elegantly oriental nandina domestica. A slender amellanchier lamarckii tree has a large pink David Austin rose intertwined. There is also honeysuckle, various hydrangeas, geraniums, Japanese anemones, orange hemerocalis, salvias, helibores, rosemary and daises. Further clematis, jasmine and roses wind through the willow hurdles set above.
Out and About
Local amenities are exceptional, care of the recent redevelopment of nearby King’s Cross. Granary Square acts as the centre point and is home to outposts of Caravan coffee roasters, Waitrose, Dishoom, and audiophile bar Spiritland, while the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Coal Drops Yard includes retailers Margaret Howell, Tom Dixon and Aesop stores to the canal-side. An Everyman Cinema caters for confirmed cinephiles. Additionally, Camden Town, Regent’s Park and the perennially popular Primrose Hill are a short bike ride away.
The area has some excellent schools, most notably the ‘Outstanding’ Torriano Community Primary School and Camden School for Girls, a state secondary school with a co-ed sixth form. The choice of local independent schools is plentiful, with Northbridge House, The Hall and South Hampstead High School a short drive away.
Transport links are excellent, with St Pauls Crescent equidistant between the Underground stations at Camden Town (Northern Line) and Caledonian Road (Piccadilly Line). Camden Road train station is close at hand for services on the east-west London axis, while the house is also well placed for access to King’s Cross St Pancras and the Eurostar terminal.
Council Tax Band: F