Proving that family life doesn’t mean being chained to a standard terraced house, this converted women’s prison has proved itself more than capable of managing the demands of growing children, without sticking them in boxes three floors up and wondering whether or not they’re still at home.
Arranged over most of the remaining ground floor of a building constructed in the late 1880s (part of the Fulham Women’s Refuge, although the bars are long since gone,), this 2390sq ft live/work property has been home to Colin and Ros for 16 years and has seen their children grow up from the age of 7. “We all lived in a three storey house before and felt very disconnected. It was difficult even to shout to someone when they were two floors away.” Moving to a single storey and somewhat open plan space gave the family a feeling of togetherness, even when they were occupying different rooms and with no spying necessary: “We could see what our children were doing, and where”
Colin & Ros got lucky finding what was to become their long-term family home after appearing on a television programme called Hot Property: the presenters would choose three properties they thought suitable for a house-hunting couple and then, for no apparent reason, the couple had to guess the asking prices. Colin & Ros didn’t like any of the homes they were shown, but after the programme was finished the director mentioned another place where filming hadn’t been possible. That place, is this place.
With the children now having flown the nest, it’s time to move somewhere more in keeping with a reduced household, although there are no plans to leave the neighbourhood. “We were both already living in Fulham when we bought this place and have no desire to go far.” Confirmed Fulhamites, then.
Testament to the enduring nature of the accommodation is the absence of any material changes having been necessary over the Colin & Ros years. Aside from decorating and a few window replacements, little has been required to a fairly timeless design, although “the previous owners went for a moody type of lighting, and we’ve put in something brighter.” Other than that, things are as they were in the early 1980s – when the building was redeveloped into 13 apartments and renamed Burlington Lodge Studios – and it’s easy to see why.
With Art Deco and Victorian styled bathrooms, whitewashed brickwork, chunky iron radiators and floors of wide wood planks and quarry tiles, all the basics are there. Natural light has been maximised not just through the original windows, but the addition of copious roof lights and large glazed French doors, three of which lead out to a wonderfully secret walled garden. “It’s a very secluded feel, and immune to street noise”.
So what will Colin & Ros miss the most? “The sheer amount of space, but that’s what you get when you downsize.”
The property is for sale at £2,500,000