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5th May 2016

Wonderful Wisteria and a Warm Welcome!

Recently we had the pleasure of revisiting a past project - to take care of a new commission and carry out some maintenance work. We certainly picked the right time of year! With the wisteria in bloom, the sun shining and the river lapping at the bottom of the garden you might think you were in the heart of the country, rather than in London, a few miles from the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities.

The Georgian riverside house dates back to 1649, the house is Grade II listed and exhibits architecture typical of the periods taste for symmetry and proportion. Beautifully balanced and now covered in the most fabulous thick old wisteria vine 'The Strawberry House' extension and renovation stands out for remaining faithful to its heritage, whilst at the same time innovatively adding to its character. The expert architectural hands for this project were Ptolemy-Dean Architects, with whom the upkeep of Westminster Abbey famously rests.

When our clients decided to replace an old scullery with a larger kitchen suited to busy, modern family life, it took four years of careful planning applications and the project involved many meetings with English Heritage to ensure that the additions were sensitive to the original structure. StuartBarrCDR, with a history for heritage work, were delighted to be commissionad as main contractor on this project, alongside our sister company BarrJoinery. The resulting single story extension to the rear of the building dances sympathetically with the original building, adding a stunning new dimension, designed to be in keeping with the original structure, including the globe finial and bull’s eye window. 

The exterior of the new structure exhibits a classic but unusual roof light and ornate side entrance headed in traditional lead flashing. The beautifully made traditional French doors and casement windows by BarrJoinery set the scene for the traditional kitchen within, exhibiting classic in-frame doors with raised and fielded panels and hand-applied edge mouldings.

In terms of interiors and cabinetry ‘we wanted a very classic English feel, suited to the age and style of the house, but also designed for a modern way of life,’ explains our client.  Bespoke doors and windows are in keeping with the style of the stunning roof lantern, and a hand-painted, soft white finish accentuates the light, bright and spacious feel of the new room.

A bespoke window seat by BarrJoinery was designed to complement the kitchen cabinetry and Valbonne white-caned dining chairs from India Jane add to the elegant and light feel of the country-style furniture. Antique Dutch and English complement the dresser, painted in Quail. A double oven by Wolf sits atop the warming drawer and a classic Perrin & Rowe Ionian mixer tap complements the age of the house beautifully, updated with a boiling water tap by Quooker. Inherited pieces of antique furniture and fine china are mixed up with more modern finds. ‘I like a mishmash of things I love,’ says our client. The statement antique French chandelier with sparkling caramel colours was purchased and stored it in the basement years before it was installed in its final destination. “I knew I would find a home for it one day, it really catches the eye in here.”

Strawberry House is a building which seems to become even more beautiful with every passing year; always easy to be in and even harder to leave.

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