A Five Bedroom Victorian Terrace – Mad About The House

An interesting property for you this week as, on the one hand, it’s a classic Victorian terrace house where the owners have used the space they have rather than spending on an extension – which often just means making existing rooms bigger rather than adding new ones – but one where there is also scope to add value perhaps by reducing the stated number of bedrooms from four to five and adding a bathroom.

Fancy a look? It’s decorated in a wonderfully restful palette which feels just right for this week and it’s on the market with Inigo for £1,250,000. So the first thing is to call up the floorplan in a separate tab so you can flip between the pictures and the plan.

It has a classic Victorian terrace layout but instead of building into the side return to widen a small kitchen, the owners have moved the kitchen to the back half of the sitting room where the, possibly original,  French doors lead out into the garden and the narrow space at the back is a downstairs bathroom and utility room.

Given that the current costs of building a side return extension in London at the moment seem to start at £120,000 for a plaster finish, it’s definitely worth looking at the space you have and seeing if you can make it work without having to dig foundations and starting pouring concrete.

We have discussed at length on these pages the issue of the back half of a the sitting room when you knock through and whether you can find a valid use for that space, which, if you extend at the back can become dark and isn’t quite separate enough from the front room. And while moving the kitchen to the back of the house and extending over the side return would give you a big kitchen diner it might remove the downstairs bathroom.

There are no right and wrong answers but it’s about taking the time to consider how you live, what you might need and how that’s going to work with your budget. A downstairs shower room is great for anyone who is older, or has elderly relatives, or small children. In addition there is only one upstairs bathroom in this house and with five bedrooms a second one is probably necessary.

Now what you will notice is that the current owners are using the front reception as a dining room so the  the kitchen is open plan and this area takes up the whole of the ground floor. This means you can live in this space all day and then go upstairs to the sitting room (traditionally the main bedroom) in the evening. This feels quite grand and means the house is probably functioning as a four bedroom.

On the top floor there are three bedrooms. You could use one as an office or turn it into a bathroom and you would have a spacious, elegant three bedroom, three bathroom house with a huge living space and grand sitting room. Again, this won’t be right for everyone but it’s always worth looking at a floorplan and deciding what you need from it.

This is being marketed as five bedrooms which means your instinctive reaction is to look at the sofa placed at the edge of the dining room and assume there is no sitting room and start to worry about extending. Depending on how many people are moving in (and need to sit around a dining table) you might be able to keep a smaller table in the downstairs and make that space function as your living and dining space.

Alternatively, you might put a small table in front of the bay windows at the back of the kitchen and eat there thus freeing up the front room for sofa duties. The point being that in a traditional terrace house like this there are a number of options and we often just accept the room labels we are given and don’t think about how we can tweak the space to suit our own lifestyle.

So who’s moving in this week? Or who has moved around the traditional layout to create something that works better for them?

Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.