In an area of west London where the homes of wealthy people are constantly expanding, sprouting vast roof, cellar and garden extensions, one house has shrunk at enormous expense.
At a cost of £2.4m, Sandycombe Lodge, the country home the artist JMW Turner designed for himself, is once again a very small house. The Victorian extensions have been demolished, the bathroom and other modest 20th-century comforts ripped out, the front garden wall replaced with a simple picket fence – and its front door is now open again to visitors.
The Grade II*-listed house, now owned by the Turner’s House Trust, is once again red brick after at least 150 years of it being painted white. When Victorian extensions were removed, Gary Butler, a conservation architect, discovered the original outer walls had smart pointing and no trace of paint or render, so the whole exterior has now been stripped to match.
Turner, a barber’s son from Covent Garden, was an admired and increasingly wealthy artist, when in 1807 he bought two small patches of land in Twickenham. It was then a quiet rural riverside area where many authors and artists he admired, including Alexander Pope, Horace Walpole and the poet James Thomson had country homes. read more