Do you dream of a home brimming with artistic flair and infused with bohemian ambience? Complete with stained-glass windows, ornamental fireplaces and a secret garden arrayed with creepers? I’ll give you a hot tip: buy from a famous artist.
This St John’s Wood property once belonged to sculptor John Adams-Acton, best known for executing the Wesley memorial in Westminster Abbey and the Cruikshank memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral. Langford Place clearly attracts the creative type; the painter Dame Laura Johnson – one of the first women elected to membership of the Royal Academy – lived next door.
Known as Sunny Side, it’s obvious before stepping inside that this home has been a labour of love – fashioned and moulded into something beautiful, much like Adams-Acton’s sculptures themselves. Architects of period renovations always claim to retain a home’s historical character, but this one really does, bringing an additional sprinkling of ‘Venetian palazzo’ or perhaps ‘French chateau’ to the late-Georgian property.
You enter via stone steps flanked by Parisian-style balustrades to the raised ground floor, where the entrance hall features arched doorways, decorative alcoves and a floor of light and dark wood. This is the place, as the current owners have demonstrated, for large, statement art.
An entertaining and dining area employs warm tones and gold-tinted windows. It’s a perfect example of how a relatively simple space can be styled with little more than strategic terracotta accents and sculptural home accessories.
The kitchen features ivory-coloured units, an ornamental marble island, and tiled splashbacks. Also on this level is a conservatory (with its own grapevine), a WC with a fountain basin, and a red-brick garden room.
The principal suite (of seven bedrooms in total) is on the first floor, as is a study/library which deserves a mention: this sequestered space boasts high, sloping ceilings, triple-aspect windows and is, certifiably, the cosiest place we can think of to curl up with a book. The ensuite is also special, almost matching the size of the main bedroom and featuring a patinated standalone tub. I’m a big fan of the bathroom rug, and the fur piece here is ideal for the space.
The lower ground floor was once a separate flat, and still has its own entrance should new owners want to convert it back, perhaps for staff accommodation. Sunny Side’s wine cellar is also here, a space decorated with wrought-iron embellishments.
In the 135 ft rear garden, mature trees overhang without blocking the sun trap in the middle, and you momentarily forget you’re in one of London’s most central boroughs. The planting is lush and abundant, and there’s a concealed treehouse in a wooded area. Summer dining under the wisteria-clad pergola? Yes please.
You will eventually, however, want to venture out into the wider world, especially living in St John’s Wood. With its village feel and villa-style housing, NW8 is certainly a prime neighbourhood, but it also possesses a bohemian side, due, perhaps, to the local Abbey Road Studios (and that zebra crossing). But Little Venice and Primrose Hill are also a stone’s throw away, plus the boutique stores and chic eateries of the High Street.
This property lends itself to details – plants in alcoves, vases on plinths, carefully-selected antiques. For an owner with an eye for the perfect statement sconce or artisan rug, it will make a beloved home.
On the market for £11.3 million, visit knightfrank.co.uk