Previous occupants of this property include the architects Peter and Alison Smithson who moved there in 1980, reviving the original name Cato Lodge which had not been used for many years. The house and garden had not been renovated for several decades prior to Shalini Misra Ltd’s redesign.
This property is the primary home for the client, a family of five including three children. The home needed to be expanded in a sensitive way respecting the architecture and character of the house and area, particularly as it is within a conservation area. To achieve this a basement was incorporated that would not be evident from the exterior but would almost double the internal space of the house. By extending the property through a basement the garden also retained its existing size. The ample natural light that the above ground floors already enjoyed needed to be brought into the basement to meet daylight level requirements and to create bright airy spaces which was being achieved in the existing house through remodelling. The lower ground floor already had three light wells and these were extended dropping down from the garden to courtyards in the basement bringing in natural light. The result is a feeling of being above ground as there is such a great amount of natural light here. This also provides natural ventilation and a large green wall was planted on the north-west facing wall providing aspects of the garden at this subterranean level. The basement includes a swimming pool, gym, media room and three bedrooms.
To maximise the overall space of the home the location of the staircase was moved and a new large stately staircase was placed in the core of the house running through it connecting the floors visually as well as physically. It has a bespoke “old world feel” with a bronze toned hand-painted iron balustrade running from top to bottom, contrasted with bold pieces of art throughout the stairwell. Through remodelling and building a basement the total square footage of the house reached over 9,000 square feet.