Vic­to­rian VILLA

Af­ter 12 years in their Rich­mond house, An­dré and Cara Cal­loway de­cided some in­no­va­tive al­ter­ations would make more of its el­e­gant pro­por­tions and de­light­ful views

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS - Words DO­MINIC BRAD­BURY Pho­to­graphs RACHAEL SMITH

In­no­va­tive de­sign touches make the most of the grand pro­por­tions of this beau­ti­ful prop­erty.

The orig­i­nal ar­chi­tects of An­dré and Cara Cal­loway’s dou­ble-fronted Vic­to­rian home de­signed it with the views in mind. From the front of the house, al­most ev­ery room looks on to the steeple of the nearby church. From the rear, the house looks onto a spa­cious gar­den bor­dered by ma­ture trees. It was this, along with the gen­er­ous pro­por­tions of the rooms, that en­cour­aged the Cal­loways to buy the house in the first place and, 12 years later, rein­vent it to make the most of the sight lines.

‘The spa­ces in our home are all very beau­ti­ful and el­e­gant, but for us it is all about the views,’ says Cara Cal­loway, who is a de­vel­op­ment man­ager in phi­lan­thropy, work­ing in the cul­tural sec­tor. ‘We light the gar­den – which was de­signed by the Chelsea win­ner Char­lotte Rowe – at night, so we have a view front and back no mat­ter what the sea­son or the time of day. ’

It was Cara who sug­gested, af­ter 12 years of liv­ing in the house, that they look again at the de­sign of the in­te­rior, which the cou­ple share with their two teenage chil­dren. Cara worked in the ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign world in Lon­don and Paris for nearly 20 years, so has a pas­sion for the sub­ject that she shares with An­dré, who took the hint that ‘they could do bet­ter’ and took the lead with their rein­ven­tion project. As an en­tre­pre­neur, An­dré has com­mis­sioned many com­mer­cial projects over the years and had al­ready worked with ar­chi­tect Bryan O’sul­li­van, who started out in the stu­dios of David Collins, Annabelle Sell­dorf and Mar­tin Brud­nizki be­fore starti his own ar­chi­tec­tural and de­sign prac­tice.


‘Cara and I are both very in­ter­ested in the en­vi­ron­ment we live in be­cause it does play such a large part in the qual­ity of your life,’ says An­dré. ‘I have known Bryan for about five years but our un­der­stand­ing was al­ways fo­cused on com­mer­cial projects. This is our home, so ob­vi­ously it is a very dif­fer­ent thing and much more

per­sonal but we ended up col­lab­o­rat­ing with him on a whole­sale re­design. We worked on the en­tire house – ev­ery floor was re­done and ev­ery wall re­plas­tered.’

Part of the re­design process for the four-storey house in­volved open­ing up a num­ber of ar­eas to max­imise the sense of space. A key ex­am­ple was the mas­ter bed­room, which was con­nected to the en-suite bath­room via new pocket doors and a sub­stan­tially wider door­way.

‘Pocket doors are a great way to trans­form a space,’ says An­dré. ‘You have to re­build the wall with a wider open­ing and enough depth to hold the re­cessed doors. But it does make a huge dif­fer­ence to your per­cep­tion of the rooms on each side, even if it is the same floor plan.’


Bryan also worked on the restora­tion of many orig­i­nal de­tails, from door­ways to cor­nic­ing, in a rapid-fire pro­gramme that took just 12 weeks. A key piece of ad­vice was to steer away from strong colours and opt for a pal­ette of whites that help the de­tails stand out and bring a greater sense of unity and calm to the house, es­pe­cially in spa­ces such as the sit­ting room, which flows right through from the front to the back of the house.

‘We had the vi­sion of all sorts of colours to be­gin with but that re­ally changed along the way,’ says An­dré. ‘The whites re­ally bring out the best of ev­ery­thing as the fur­ni­ture and art be­come much more im­por­tant within the home. Cara’s brother, in New York, deals in mid­cen­tury fur­ni­ture and found some great pieces for us, like the din­ing ta­ble, but Bryan also cre­ated quite a num­ber of be­spoke de­signs for us. With the rugs, too, we used to have some quite highly pat­terned de­signs, but Bryan sourced more neu­tral, rest­ful pieces that also tone things down. It all hangs to­gether re­ally well.’


The fo­cus on be­spoke pieces car­ried through onto the lower ground level, which also fea­tures a fluid se­quence of spa­ces, in­clud­ing the kitchen, break­fast room and then a gar­den room by Trombé that con­nects, in turn, with the back gar­den.

For the kitchen, the Cal­loways opted for a hand­made de­sign by Crispin & Gemma, with a crafted tim­ber is­land in­spired by an old butcher’s block. ‘We are re­ally drawn to the kitchen as a fam­ily but we do also use the sit­ting room a lot, es­pe­cially in the win­ter, when we have the fire go­ing,’ says Cara. ‘We do use ev­ery part of the house and it re­ally works with teenage chil­dren and a dog. Each room is very el­e­gant but it is also a prac­ti­cal, func­tional home for us all.’

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