THAT CAUGHT OUR EYE
Rob Interview Part One: Listed Terrace House with a Garden Secret
After years of renting, advertising executive Rob finally found his perfect home in St. John’s Wood. The only problem is, the house had been converted into flats, so Rob asked DGA to unite them back into one “recklessly large” house. With works now underway, we checked in on Rob to reflect on the journey so far.
Why did you buy this property?
I’d been renting for, I guess, 14 years. Obviously, I missed out on the great housing boom, and after a long time renting I finally got fed up with it and had the funds to buy something I really wanted to live in. So last September I bought a bit of a project in St. John’s Wood, which was a house that was a number of flats that needed to be put back together into one home.
You had a lot of time to think about what you’d want your first house to be like. What attracted you to this one?
It sort of has everything really, for me. It’s got a late Georgian vibe to it, before Victorian grandeur and red brick set in, so it’s got the period feel that I like. The rooms are a nice size, the ceilings are high, it’s got proper bedrooms on the top and a big garden. Also, with a lot of the houses around here, however wonderful the house is, you end up having the kitchen in the basement. We’re very fortunate with this house to have enough space on the ground floor for the kitchen and all the other living spaces.
It used to belong to an artist, so the main feature of the house is that it’s full of wonderful natural light and has an artist’s studio in the garden connected to the main house with a link building. It feels like one of those old school gyms, with the high ceilings and the big windows. You can imagine ropes dangling from the ceiling and wooden ladders on the side of the walls.
That sounds like it would be a perfect hideaway from the rest of the house. What do you plan to do with it?
I don’t know exactly. It’s going to be a space where technology is banned, for listening to music, reading by the fireplace, amusing guests, having drinks, smoking a cigar – that type of thing. It’ll be the place for anything that’s hard to do with people coming in and out.
What makes a house a home for you?
Oh, you couldn’t help yourself, could you? I think it’s the ability to have an environment that you’ve been instrumental in adapting to you. I haven’t had that for such a long time. I look forward to a sense of permanency. Even now with the work only just started I already feel slightly in tune with it. It feels a bit weird, it’s like having that pair of jeans that fits you.
This house is recklessly large, in my terms, so the only problem is I don’t think I’d ever leave it! In the basement I’ll have my spa and wellness area, which my kids take the piss out of me for. I’ll have my vitality pool, steam room and gym, then my study will be down there as well.
On the ground floor will be the kitchen, chill out studio, the TV room and the sitting room for entertaining guests. Then the bedroom suite on the first floor with its own bathroom and dressing room is going to be a fantastic hotel room. It’s a dream of a place, to be honest.
With a house of this size, you can keep on reconfiguring and rediscovering rooms as you live there.
Absolutely. And there’s enough space for everyone to go and live in their own bits when they want to and then come back together.