This exceptionally unique unlisted home is situated in Wychcombe Studios, a private gated enclave of six Victorian artist’s studio houses arranged around beautiful gardens just off England’s Lane in Belsize Park, North London. Built in 1880 in the high Victorian style, the home has exquisite proportions, with four bedrooms, a capacious double-height living space, and a dramatic 35-foot-deep double-height principal bedroom suite across the entire uppermost storey. The interior spaces are arranged around over 3,800 sq ft of highly versatile accommodation. As a former artist’s studio, the quality of light throughout is exceptional, thanks to unusually expansive fenestration in most rooms. Additionally, there is a private west-facing garden and parking space for two vehicles. The home is moments from the excellent conveniences of Belsize Village, Primrose Hill, and Hampstead.
Setting the Scene
Wychcombe Studios were built in the 1880s as part of the wider area’s 19th-century development. They are located in the northernmost section of the Eton conservation area. At various times, the studios have been home to artists, including Robert Macbeth, Arthur Rackham, and Charles Orchardson. Orchardson lived in this studio from 1903 to 1904. The studios are believed to have been designed by the noted Victorian architecture practice Batterbury and Huxley, who also designed several grand homes on neighbouring streets. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
A private driveway leads southward from England’s Lane, culminating in a tall black metal electronic gate. The gate gives few clues to the remarkable homes that lie beyond. The gate opens to a large carriage driveway and beautiful communal gardens. This home is in the southwest corner of the enclave, with two parking spaces positioned on the cobbled area just outside the house.
The house was originally two separate buildings but has now been unified. The main elevation is remarkable, with white-painted brickwork inset with a soaring arched double-height window at the northern range. An expanse of a dozen further windows is set above, running the entire width of the home and crowning the structure.
The entrance is through a roundhead doorway with red brick dressings. The main hall has dark-stained pine floorboards underfoot. The hall is adjacent to the living room, a dramatic square-set space with double-height ceilings. The soaring roundhead window set into the east elevation floods the room with light. A Carrara marble chimneypiece acts as a focal point and grounds the room, housing an open fire. An open staircase ascends from the living room to the first floor, with a spacious mezzanine landing set above.
The kitchen opens from the rear of the living room. It has an expanse of six windows and further sliding glass doors opening to the garden. The kitchen has wood veneer cabinetry with stainless steel countertops at one end, and there is plentiful space for informal dining at the other.
Also on the ground floor is a guest bedroom with an en suite shower room that opens directly to the garden, a separate study, and a further guest WC. A secondary staircase leads to the bedrooms above. The first floor has two bedrooms. The rear bedroom has its own en suite shower room, while the second bedroom at the front of the plan enjoys sole use of the adjacent spacious bathroom.
The second floor is home to the principal bedroom suite. This was originally the main artist’s studio and is an exceptional space, with an open pitch set into the double-height roof. An expanse of tall windows is set into the entire east and west elevations. Steel beams are left exposed, and there is an open limestone-clad hearth and working fire. A bespoke armoire at the end of the room cleverly conceals a smart kitchenette for convenience. A mezzanine level is set above the vast space, which can be used as further sleeping quarters. It has its own en suite shower room.
A bank of fitted wardrobes and a dressing area are positioned to the rear of the principal bedroom space and lead to an en suite bathroom. This is an excellently conceived room, wonderfully light, with half the ceiling formed with panes of glass. Slate tiles run underfoot, and there is a vanity set into a canted bay with two sinks atop. Additionally, there is a spacious shower area and a separate white resin bateau bathtub.
The Great Outdoors
The west-facing garden is a brilliant outdoor space that is incredibly private. It opens from both the guest bedroom and kitchen on the ground floor, and there is also additional side access. The garden is spanned by a flagstone terrace that has plenty of space for outdoor furniture. Steps descend to a verdant lawn and raised beds with mature shrubs. A pergola is positioned to one side.
The mature Poplar trees and bamboo surrounding the garden create a sense of privacy and tranquillity. This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Out and About
Wychcombe Studios is located close to the shops and cafes of Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park Village, and Hampstead Village. Nearby amenities include Gail’s bakery, England’s Lane café, and numerous pubs and restaurants.
Primrose Hill and the beautiful Regent’s Park are a short walk to the south; Hampstead Heath is also within walking distance of the home, offering freshwater swimming year-round in the men’s and ladies Bathing Ponds, as well as some of London’s most beautiful woodland walks. In addition to elevated views of the city from Parliament Hill, there are tennis courts, cafes and Kenwood House, a wonderful 17th-century country house and gallery.
The house is within walking distance of several independent day schools, including the Hall, St Antony’s, South Hampstead High School, St Christopher’s, Trevor Roberts and Sarum Hall.
Belsize Park (Northern Line) and Swiss Cottage (Jubilee Line) underground stations are within easy reach, and there are multiple bus routes to central London from Haverstock Hill. Kings Cross Station is a short tube journey away, providing railway connections nationwide and served by Hammersmith & City, Circle, Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly and Metropolitan Underground lines, while St Pancras International Station provides Eurostar connections to Paris and Brussels.
Council Tax Band: H
Wychcombe Studios and the surrounding streets were laid out in the 19th century for a planned suburb on part of Eton College’s Chalcots Estate. The area had been a rural landscape in Hampstead since the 12th century.
In medieval times, this then-hilltop village and the surrounding land were granted to the Abbot of Westminster in AD 986 by King Ethelred the Unready. The land was pastoral and provided grass and hay for London’s cattle and horses.
Later, in the late-17th century, the area became a fashionable spa during the summer months. The surrounding farmland was associated with Chalcot Farm, which can be seen as a collection of buildings on the 1745 Rocque plan and is named as “Chalcott” on the 1814 Newton plan. The present England’s Lane follows the same alignment as the track leading to the farm. The locale attracted many of the literary and artistic set of the time, including John Constable and John Keats.
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