Property developer Andrew Taylor and his wife Cheryl have designed an elegant home that meets the needs of all the family
Our homes have to be so much more than they used to be. No longer just places to sink our heads, properties have become projects, restorations, and even manifestations of our lifestyles. Nurtured on a diet of Grand Designs and The Restoration Man, we seek out aesthetic beauty with purpose. Andrew and Cheryl Taylor (a property developer and surgeon respectively) have created a home that meets this exemplification. Lavender House, the couple’s Victorian red-brick home in Fulham where they have lived with their two small children since 2014, is both beautiful and multi-functional.
Achieving this, however, required a nine-month long restoration project of the end-of-terrace, double-fronted house on Cranbury Road, a rarity in a highly-populated residential area where space is compact. ‘You’ve probably got a handful of these buildings in the whole of Fulham so we took it as a real opportunity,’ explains Andrew. Working with Putney-based architects Simon Gill, the couple stripped away three floors and a central lift, crafting a new four-storey design in its place to provide an exceptional balance of living and sleeping space. The two upper floors encompass five bedrooms. The top floor is a loft conversion, and combines a stylish master bedroom and en-suite bathroom. Four bedrooms sit below this level, enabling the bottom two floors to be reserved for entertaining and family living space.
A large drawing room and adjacent playroom sit on the ground floor but the really impressive space is the lower-ground level, not always the home’s most celebrated area. The space was originally a series of cramped, low- ceilinged rooms but it is now an open-plan kitchen-dining-living area, with only a slight lowering of the floor required. The kitchen and dining areas are differentiated by a stunning feature staircase, a steel-framed dragon-back design that artfully descends in the centre from the ground floor. It’s a clever showcasing of the five metre, double-height dining area, achieved by cutting away a section of the ground floor above. ‘It’s really dramatic and a nice space in which to entertain,’ Andrew says, adding that the space feels special and glamorous, one that can easily accommodate all aspects of modern life.
This last point was important to the couple who wanted to create a house that was child friendly but also oriented towards adults. The bi-folding doors open out onto an attractive landscaped garden, making it a natural further extension of the home as guests can sit on the built-in seat — ‘you are really are bringing the inside out,’ says Andrew. On one hand, the adults can entertain at night without fear of waking the children who sleep two floors above but then they can hear and see them when they’re playing in the playroom. It’s striking, functional design at its best.
Another clever aspect is the styling. ‘The rear elevation has white rendered aluminium windows, and it’s very contemporary because we moved the window locations around at the back,’ Andrew says. ‘The front of the house is very Victorian and we wanted to keep that. We have timber sash window, and we’ve got Victorian railings. It’s traditional but as you move towards the back of the house it becomes more modern. There is a gradual transition.’ A Victorian-esque Mosaic tiled floor lines the entrance hall whereas the reception room has modern art and furnishings.
Andrew says that the couple had very different tastes when it came to the semantic aspects of design; the final finishes combine his affection for a more contemporary style, with Cheryl’s love for classic finishes. ‘Cheryl has a preference for classical art, antiques, gilded and classical paintings, whereas I’m very contemporary in my art tastes,’ Andrew says, ‘the result being that we tend to come up with a blend of the two when it comes to furnishings.’ There are pieces from The Conran Shop and a pale-blue rug from The Rug Company. The décor is light across the house in general, to allow for greater flexibility when adding items.
The family are now moving to look for extra space but having lived locally for six years, ‘I don’t think we’d ever live anywhere else,’ says Andrew. ‘Fulham is a real sweet spot between city life and a more surburban life.’ The area is clearly a winner for all the family.
This property is available to buy for £3,400,000 through Savills Fulham, 020 77341 9400; savills.co.uk