The Lion Houses on Fulham’s prestigious Peterborough Estate were built in 1899 and are highly sought after today. But how do you set about transforming a dark, poky Victorian property into a light-filled contemporary space?
Words: Madeleine Howell
Terracotta lions gaze proudly down from the rooftops of the covetable Victorian townhouses of Fulham’s Peterborough Estate. The Lion Houses were built in 1899 by architect Jimmy Nicholls and, today, the prestigious district between Parson’s Green and Walham Green is more highly sought after than ever.
This example on Perrymead Street was renovated by Nicola Scannell Design ‘right back down to the bricks,’ and then styled and furnished by Natalie Fernbach of Cullum Design. It’s a collaboration that has seen the property transformed from being ‘small, dark and poky’, into a light-filled, spacious home.
When you only have a limited space to work with, it’s crucial to get the floor plan right. An old building in a terrace can be quite tricky
‘We specialise in whole house renovations from start to finish. At Perrymead Street, we increased the space available by 1,000 sq ft, converting the basement and expanding out to the back,’ explains Scannell. ‘When you only have a limited space to work with, it’s crucial to get the floor plan right. An old building in a terrace can be quite tricky.’
Scannell is known for her practical, luxurious design, which draws inspiration from the continent, and she describes Perrymead Street as both classic and contemporary. The picture-perfect, Italian-made Pedini kitchen is exactly that. ‘A kitchen should always flow. This one is very functional, and because of the feminine wave and shape of the unit, it has a sense of circulation.’
Another challenge was the lack of light. To solve the problem, Scannell installed a rear light-well leading up to the garden, and vaulted the ceilings of the bedrooms into the roof voids to make them feel bigger and lighter. The sliding doors leading from the kitchen to the sociable seating area of the south-west facing, leafy patio also contribute.
A kitchen should always flow. This one is very functional, and because of the feminine wave and shape of the unit, it has a sense of circulation
So, where did Cullum Design come in? ‘I dealt with the top layer and the actual dressing of the Perrymead Street,’ explains Fernbach. ‘Our styling capabilities make a property look market-ready. We often tie in with the vision of the client or the interior designer.
‘It was great to collaborate so closely with Nicola. We kept it very light and white, using lots of linens in the seating. The dining table is from India Jane, and I used a few pieces from Oka.
‘We try to give a property personality, depth and narrative from the pieces in our archives, so that it feels lived-in, and not like someone has just bought a lot of furniture from a showroom.
‘It’s the little details that lend character. I try to use a few antiques if they’re compatible. Ecco Trading in Battersea is a great supplier and we have a lot of pieces made in-house, like sofas and ottomans.’
Scannell’s design nous and Fernbach’s styling skills have rendered 70 Perrymead Street an attractive home indeed, and we haven’t even mentioned the requisite wine room and the Sonos media system. The new owners of this modern lair are sure to find themselves in a space fit for a (lion) king indeed…