Westbourne Park Road, W11
There has been much in the press lately about the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s attempts to crack down on basement excavations. Yes, they cause disruption for neighbours, and there have been some ridiculous plans for multi-storey dig-outs that resulted in ‘iceberg’ homes where the basements were bigger than the original house. For the most part, however, basement excavations are a simple and obvious solution in a city where owners cannot build up or out and where stamp duty is 7%.
Besides, if RBKC were to ban basement excavations, we would lose out on gems like this one on Westbourne Park Road. The owners bought this property and soon began a complete refurbishment. Using one of London’s most prestigious architectural firms, the house was transformed into a 3,000 sq ft luxury home featuring some of the most exquisite stone and joinery we have seen in recent years. The pièce de résistance, however, was the stunning basement conversion. Flooded with natural light that was created when the architects cleverly removed a wall on the floor above and installed a glass floor in the garden, it was easy to forget you were at subterranean level. The magnificent ceiling heights created the perfect wall space for the owner to hang his collection of modern art.
Elsewhere, the owner installed new fireplaces that were in keeping with the period of the house, created new bathrooms and a beautiful new kitchen, and added Arbor bi-fold doors in the living room to blend the indoors and outdoors.
We expect the public’s appetite for basement excavations will mean RBKC will have to allow a few. If they do, they could always use this one as an example of how it should be done.