Simon was looking for a property that would give him a blank canvas to create a bold and personal architectural statement, inspired by the legacy of his parents. Both architects, their house was featured in a 1975 edition of Ideal Home. Having purchased a dilapidated Victorian semi-detached property in East Molesey, they made extensive alterations to modernise the property, including creating an open-plan space with large sliding doors at the back. Despite not being an architect himself, Simon’s passion for design led him to the bold decision to follow in his parent’s footsteps and carry out a complete renovation of his own.
The property Simon chose was a thoroughly outdated detached three-bedroom house. However, situated just minutes from a train station with links to London Waterloo in a quiet, leafy suburb just outside Greater London, the property was in an excellent location. Simon explained that “it was the most tired-looking, unloved house on the road, and the most original.” With almost every other house on the road having been extended in some way, he knew there was plenty of scope for changes.
“I looked at it and thought I could create a really attractive 21st century version of this kind of house, whilst retaining a few elements of the character like having bay front windows.”
The project was to be extensive in scope: the majority of the existing house would be torn down and completely rebuilt. This would involve extending the property back into the garden and to the side, adding a loft conversion, completely replacing the roof and the driveway, and thoroughly remodelling the interior.
Simon worked on numerous iterations of his own designs for the home, consulting with Landmark Lofts' Sales Director, Pete, who provided practical guidance about what could be achieved within planning rules and how the ambitious plans for the home could be realistically brought to fruition. Once he was ready, Landmark’s architects transformed Simon’s drawings into architectural plans which were submitted to the council on his behalf. Once the council gave the project the green light, work quickly commenced.
The builders made rapid progress, demolishing most of the existing structure and starting the foundations for the rear extension within just a few weeks, despite the cold January weather. Simon’s Landmark project manager was on site regularly to check the progress and meet with him and the builder to plot the next steps of the project and come up with solutions to any challenges that arose. Despite the massive scale of the project, the majority of the building works were completed in just six months.
The contrast between Simon’s original property and his finished home now could scarcely be starker. Almost completely rebuilt, the 1950s three-bed house with its mismatched carpets and small dark spaces is now a three-storey modern home with four generously proportioned double bedrooms, three bathrooms, a spacious living room, a gigantic open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, a study at the front, a utility room and an under-stair water closet.
But that’s not all: the moment you step through the door you find yourself in a three-storey-tall space illuminated by a gigantic skylight. “Its slightly decadent because you’re sacrificing space a bit, but do you want a five bedroom house with the fifth being tiny and one that no-one wants? It’s a bit whimsical, but it makes the house distinctive.” Despite this, the house is now around 265 square metres, more than twice the size of the original.
Simon says he’s very happy with the positive reaction to the finished house from family, friends and neighbours. “One of my neighbours used to pop around to visit the previous owner for cups of tea, so he knew how it was before. His one word summary was ‘extraordinary’.” Simon told us the house draws a lot of attention, with people frequently stopping to talk about it. “It certainly stands out.” With the purchase of the house and the project having cost altogether a similar amount to large new-builds in the area, Simon thinks his home compares very favourably.
“So many new builds in the area look the same, but with smaller gardens and in less desirable locations... they’re not as unique. I spent about the same and I think I’ve got an awesome house.”
Whether you're looking for a 14-day loft conversion, a ground floor extension, or something more radical, give us a call on 0203 150 0505 or visit our contact page and we'll put you in touch with one of our knowledgeable design consultants.
Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.