Christchurch Street, London SW3
Project Architect:
Amrit Marway
Architectural services:
Initial sketch concepts
Outline designs
Planning consents
Appointing consultants
Detailed design
Building regulations consent
Construction drawings

Durham Cottage is a private house of historical significance, and it was once the Chelsea residence of actress Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. The cottage is within the Cadogan Estate and the Royal Hospital conservation area. It is situated between the rear gardens of two residential terraced blocks to the south of Burton Court and The Royal Chelsea Hospital. Over the years the house has fallen into a state of severe disrepair. The property is unique as it is a detached home with off street parking. It also has a private garden to the front and side, hidden behind high brick walls and gates.

The property was originally a cottage attached to an adjacent townhouse, and its proximity creates a number of overlooking issues that required resolving. The upper parts are to be refurbished and rebuilt with retained facades. The set back from the main road and front garden space meant that a basement development larger than the footprint of the main house was possible. Planning permission was granted for this under the new Kensington and Chelsea basement policy in early 2014. The project was developed to allow for an extended light well to the west elevation which then provided garden space in addition to natural light to the new kitchen and family room to the basement.

The planning process was complex and separate consents were achieved from RBKC at various stages, including the basement extension, roof restructuring, facade window treatments and detailed landscape design. Works are due to start on site shortly.