Successfully reworking the space in this narrow Richmond house proved to be quite a challenge
Sally Ross had always dreamt of owning a house in the leafy borough of Richmond as she passed through on her way to work. ‘I never thought I could afford to live there, but I came across an old worker’s cottage for sale at a price that was within my reach,’ recalls Sally. ‘The compromise was that it was just 10 feet in width at its widest point.’ However, Sally, who is an upholsterer, grabbed the chance to buy a house in this area of southwest London.
Although she embarked on a redecoration programme, Sally held off from any major refurbishment until she had the funds in place to proceed. ‘I eventually applied for planning permission for a second storey extension, but was turned down, which was a set back.’
After 12 years, Sally decided to maximise the existing space which involved resiting the original downstairs bathroom. ‘I used the old bathroom space to create a new kitchen-diner,’ she explains. ‘I didn’t want to sacrifice my second bedroom for an upstairs bathroom, so I fitted it in between the sitting room and kitchen.’
During the three months of structural work, Sally rented her next-door neighbour’s house, so she was on hand to make decisions
as the works progressed. ‘I had set myself a strict budget, but rotten joists and the need for a complete electrical rewiring pushed it over the limit,’ she says. ‘I then decided to install underfloor heating throughout, which nudged the budget up further still, but I have no regrets as it transformed the interior from chilly to cosy.’
Furnishing such a narrow footprint also proved to be a challenge. ‘The secret is to seek out dead space and to create storage solutions in otherwise unused areas,’ says Sally. ‘My roof is stepped rather than sloping, and I had cupboards built into the cavities, which are accessed from the guest bedroom.’ With furniture inspired from her time spent living in Paris, Sally has created an informal and relaxed French country-style interior that includes both existing and new pieces.
Having completely refurbished her home and chosen a muted and neutral colour scheme, Sally reflects on all that she has achieved. ‘I love the Parisian-inspired interior, especially how it makes everyone feel at ease,’ she says. ‘My home might be considered small in terms of space, but I like to think it’s big on style.’
DINING AREA A wine-goblet chandelier creates a quirky feature above the table. Similar wine glass chandelier, £249, Dwell
KITCHEN Shaker-style units in a neutral ivory finish provide ample storage and food preparation zones. Radianz Quartz worktop in Shasta Brown, price on application, Northpoint
COURTYARD Sally painted an old table orange to give the garden a pop of colour. Table finished in Charlotte’s Locks exterior eggshell, £67 per 2.5L, Farrow & Ball
SITTING ROOM In this narrow area, a wall-mounted fire is a space-saving solution. Limestone flueless X-fire, £2,599, Acquisitions. reupholster a similar velvet footstool, from £250, Sally ross richmond
ROOF TERRACE Sally has used a row of planters to soften this outdoor area and add privacy. tall column white planters, £54.21 each, getpotted.com, are similar. Slatted panels, from £26, the garden trellis Company
GUEST BEDROOM French country-house flair has been injected into this cosy space. honfleur chest, £ 462, Sweetpea & willow, would suit this scheme BATHROOM Iridescent mosaic tiles create a glamorous surface and contrast with faux-leather flooring. Shell Mother of Pearl round mosaics, £317 sq m, Domus tiles
MAIN BEDROOM Luxurious bedlinen combined with striking black accents and glittering crystals create a luxurious scheme. black Night crystal chandelier, £242, Sweetpea & willow