Words: Madeleine Howell
In the heart of Balham’s highly desirable Heaver Estate lies a fully renovated, double-fronted family home at 13 Veronica Road. The property is kitted out to an impressively high-spec, and boasts seven bathrooms to accompany seven spacious bedrooms. The pièce de résistance, though, is the 1,000 sq/ft kitchen, dining and living area, fondly described by current owner Jamie Helene Stott as ‘the heart of the house’.
The property didn’t always look like this. ‘It was originally a nine bedroom house and, being Edwardian, had only one bathroom right at the top and a tiny little kitchen. It just shows how the way we live has changed,’ says Stott. ‘When we bought the property is was dilapidated. It had been used as six bedsits at one point, but structurally, it retained a beautiful integrity.’
The ground floor was very dark before, presumably because nobody wanted to spend time in the kitchen area in the 19th century
The development of the large kitchen area is the only significant structural change the Stotts have made. ‘The ground floor was very dark before, presumably because nobody wanted to spend time in the kitchen area in the 19th century. Extending the house means we make the most of the warm, south-facing light.’ Otherwise, they’ve kept to the floor plan, adapting the high-ceilinged rooms to suit the needs of a family home. The sumptuous black and white marbled master bathroom, for example, is worked around the original fireplace.
‘We stayed in our old flat while the renovations were made. Living out was helpful because it allowed the builders to really go for it, and they were finished within around nine months.’ Now that they’re moving back to New York, Stott will be sad to leave Balham’s green spaces and friendly neighbours behind. ‘Starting a family, it was ideal. We do a lot of barbecues in the summer and often have Friday night drinks while the kids run around in the garden,’ she smiles.
My mum is an amazing cook and entertainer back in America, so I wanted to create the same thing. It’s definitely a chef’s kitchen
‘My mum is an amazing cook and entertainer back in America, so I wanted to create the same thing. It’s definitely a chef’s kitchen.’ With plenty of storage, as well as top-notch appliances from Sub-zero, Wolf, Miele and Bosch, it shows no sign of wear and tear. The Stotts have made the most of the space afforded by the property. Coming from Pimlico, they had initially feared a disconnection from city life, but were pleasantly surprised by Balham’s transport links to the big smoke combined with the neighbourhood feel they had craved.
Having lived in New York and Central London, Stott describes the style of the interior as a ‘modern definition of elegance’, combining the best of urban living with the warmth of a family haven. A neutral colour scheme highlights original features, such as the beautiful stained glass front door. Investment in handmade shutters, plaster cornicing and solid wood carpentry lends a subtle luxury to adaptable surroundings, courtesy of Battersea-based Rosso Design and Build.
The house is a feat of Stott’s own design, but she credits Rosso’s Bob Towler with much of the craftsmanship. ‘He’s also worked on properties in Mayfair and Kensington, and guided me towards traditional features, such as the shutters,’ she says. ‘Our inherited artwork and rugs sit well next to the more modern fittings – the style is such that anybody could bring their own interior design to it.’
Aside from the gargantuan kitchen, where does Jamie go to retreat? ‘The library on the ground floor is another of my favourites. It’s a creative space. The huge wooden sliding doors let me close off and focus, even when the children are next door. It’s a special, warm room.’
As I admire the portrait of Battersea Power Station proudly positioned above the fireplace, I have no doubt that wherever Jamie next takes root, she will design and furnish an equally special home. ‘It’s been a labour of love,’ she confides.
The property is on the market with Foxtons for £3,500,000