Living in Nappy Valley


Architects and interior designers are helping the home owners of Nappy Valley to realise their dreams by turning fabulous spaces into glorious homes.

Words: Gillian Upton


A double-height basement and ground floor extension with a twist. “The basement, which extends under the garden, was created as a space more reminiscent of an art gallery than a living room, with directional lighting and cool colours creating a good backdrop for paintings,” explains interior designer Annelie Orbe of AndArchitects. The double-height joinery provides space for sculpture and integrates a bar and staircase too. Architect Tom Reekie designed a three-storey glass wall that runs up the centre of the staircase to bring light through; handrails are wrapped in green leather with LEDs chased into their underside. Double-height sliding doors and roof lights make the basement the brightest and tallest space in the house. All furniture is bespoke. Photography by Marcus Peel.

A double-height lower ground floor extension and house remodelling in Earlsfield, resulted ten months (and £400,000) later in this stunning living area and mezzanine level using beautiful natural products, including solid wood floors, bare brick walls of London stocks, double-height Crittal doors, glass balustrades, oversize roof lights and Vitruvius marble for the kitchen. “Because of the way the house flowed, the architect [Ade architecture] was able to turn a fairly standard basement dig into a stunning double-height extension,“ said Ronnie Beacon of project builders, Bygga Construction. “Total space added was 40 square metres plus 12 square metres of mezzanine.”

Shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year is Covert House in Clapham, named for its half-buried site. The two-storey house, designed by DSDHA, comprises two interlocked white cubes with chamfered mirror façade to soften the edges and stepped roof line. Conservation Area planning restrictions dictated the semi-underground site had to be shielded from street view and to reduce levels of overlooking from neighbouring gardens. RIBA calls it “an exquisitely crafted home, with every detail and material carefully thought through; a beautiful space that is immediately calming and exciting.” The interior is exposed in-situ concrete.


Ingenuity and risk-taking by eight neighbours in Clapham Junction combined to turn a Fifties council block in Hafer Road into a contemporary living space, funded by building and selling eight extra flats in the initial phase. Each has its own private outdoor terrace or courtyard, explains Phil Hamilton of Peter Barber Architects. “It’s been probably the most astonishing project in terms of client risk and we couldn’t quite get our heads round it. The client was eight people’s life savings and assets and all had different desires and needs, so their properties on the ground and first floor became very bespoke while the other eight on the upper floors [that were sold off to fund the rest] were more standardized. The ground and basement stretches the full length of the site and wraps around a central courtyard for maximum light”. Photographs by Morley von Sternberg.


Granit Chartered Architects undertook the six-month refurbishment and extension of this house in Wimbledon to create a four-bedroom property that included ground-floor entertainment space, somewhere for the client’s collection of art and antiquities, and to make the most of the garden to connect indoor with outdoor. “The client came armed with a scrap book of ideas to help formulate the brief,” said Andy Bargery of Granit.


Granit also extended this new-build town house by adding the glass box extension to the top left-hand side of the property. Clad in untreated western red cedar, it has created room for a master en suite bathroom with wet room area and is bathed in light from the skylight and frosted glass panels on either side. Inside is a concrete vanity top that had to be lifted by crane through the skylight. The extra space in the bedroom has been used as a walk-in wardrobe.

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