Fulham’s transition from an area of industry to one of London’s most sought-after residential communities was dramatic. Since the late 19thcentury, the borough was host to such names as De Havilland, Rolls Royce, Kodak and Shell-Mex; its many industries included breweries, distilleries, potteries and hundreds of small manufacturing companies. Rows of terraces and semi-detached, modest homes, accommodated the workers necessary for the borough’s industrial output.
500% increase in house prices
The change came in the sixties. First, came a trickle of young executives with an eye for a bargain. By the eighties, the demographic change, or gentrification, was in full flood. Then with the new millennium, changes in technology and social habits that demanded major reconstruction to these Victorian residences to make them fit for contemporary purposes. More space for growing families; more natural light; more flexibility to reconcile today’s family lifestyles and social patterns; more imaginative interior design including the trend to patterned hardwood flooring at the expense of wall to wall carpeting. The integration of living areas and intelligent kitchens. Not forgetting the growth of capacious entertainment spaces under the properties. In the last 20 years house prices have increased by 500%*.
The last 20years or so have been busy for architects, builders and interior designers. The project Manager looking after the expansion of a typical Fulham terraced house near Fulham Cemetery told us: “We don’t have the capacity to take on all the projects we are offered,” Most of the projects his company has taken on are worth £100,000 to £150,000 which is a large proportion of the purchase price. That tells you something about Fulham’s aspiring new residents.
An holistic approach
The company turned down a quotation for new kitchen in this house but a couple of years
the same owners decided to refurbishment of the whole property. This enabled architects
and designers to take a holistic view and produce a design unfettered by a previous
one-off concept. The result is a two-storey house with four bedrooms, three with en-suite,
a state-of-the art kitchen, a large living area and a small flowering courtyard. Quite a
transformation from the traditional two-up and two-down!”
Value for money
There is a trend these days for Crittall windows and parquet floors although in this instance the floors were natural 180mm wide oak boards treated with hard wax oil supplied by Natural Wood Floor company. The fitters were HS Wood Flooring, a team that fits in easily with the other trades. “It’s part of our culture,” says Managing Director Tim Hobern. “We respect the people working on the same project and don’t get under their feet. And they don’t get under ours!”
An eye for perfection
Tim Hobern, admits his prices are a little above the average but insists no one can beat him on the quality. “When we lay planks, we make sure they line up through doorways and steps. We work round radiator pipes, so it is hard to see how we have done it. Scotia’s, skirting and stair nosing’s are installed to fit perfectly. In this instance, we are particularly proud of sanding and staining of the existing staircase to retain the authenticity of the original. We are excited by the new and but have a great respect for the old. We are never satisfied until the client is happy with our work.”
Happily ever after
In the last few months, house prices in Fulham have steadied which is a good thing as speculators are squeezed out and residents can settle down for longer in their beautiful new homes.
*Financial Times, January 2018