There is an enclave of wonderfully preserved red-brick houses near the River Thames in Chis wick, west London. Narrow streets lead to the river in an area that was much favored by eighteenth-century merchants and traders, many of whose homes have survived in a surprisingly cohesive group. The twentieth century, though, was a time when respect for period architecture dropped to a low ebb, social conditions changed rapidly and few large houses remained intact.
The owners of this now beautifully restored period piece realized that it would make an ideal family home, even thought it was a priority, as was the replacement of repair or existing features such as the wall-paneling, the shutters and the timber floors, which were stripped. The kitchen was moved from what is now the dining room to the back of the house. A pair of tall French doors gives on to an old stone terrace and the long, narrow garden, which has a simplicity and elegance to echo that of the house. The mix of pale sandy paint colors, patterned wallpapers and pretty antique furniture proves that an eclectic approach to design and a sensitivity to architectural features make old houses into dream homes for many.