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CASE STUDY


SEEING THE LIGHT


A dark and run-down Regency villa has been rebuilt ‘from the inside out,’ with a new basement level and exciting glass features which draw in the light


TEXT DEBBIE JEFFERY IMAGES MATT CLAYTON PHOTOGRAPHY


we moved in we were married and our two sons had been born,” says Nishant. “The project took so long because we chose a complicated route – excavating a new basement on a semi-detached house in a well-known Conservation Area. It was a difficult project, especially as we’d never tackled any building work before.” Esther and Nishant met at Harvard Business


“W


School –both now work in private equity –and had previously been living just around the corner in a small mews house which was their first home together. Planning to start a family, the couple began searching for a larger property. The rundown four-bedroom house they found had once been divided into bedsits and was marketed as offering ‘significant potential for developing and extending, subject to the usual consents.’ Situated in the heart of South Kensington, the house stands on a characterful,


62 www.sbhonline.co.uk


hen we first bought this house back in 2013 Esther and I didn’t have any children, but by the time


tree-lined street surrounded by a mixture of early Victorian architecture, which is highly unusual for the area. “The house was probably in the worst condition of the whole street and hadn’t been touched since the 1940s. It had been owned by a couple who were trying to renovate it themselves on a DIY basis,” says Nishant. “Being in complete disrepair meant that it was very well priced, but there was just one functioning bathroom and no proper kitchen, so they were using hot plates to prepare food.” Purchasing the house proved a long, drawn-out process, and the couple then approached several architects to discuss their ideas, but realised that gaining planning permission for these ambitious designs would be impractical. Visible external alterations were restricted by the sensitive nature of the setting, and the four-storey property was divided into a warren of small, dark rooms, with limited ceiling height on the lower ground floor.


EXTERIOR The front of the house has remained traditional, with replacement sash windows, and a small upper extension to the side wing


LOW POINT “The delays were


extremely painful – everything took so long because of our sensitive location and the ambitious plans to excavate a new basement.”


may/june 2021


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