London Road, Forest Hill SE23
1960s terraced house opposite Horniman Museum
Architect: Unknown to me
Year built: 1960s
We recommenced our property search later in the year by going to see a couple of places including this 1960s house opposite the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill.
Having passed this row of houses a couple of times, I thought they were interesting-looking with their funny boxed-in front gardens and brightly coloured panels. The location appeared to be convenient as well, being a short walk away from the station, the grounds of the Horniman museum and other local amenities. I’d seen a couple of the houses come up for sale in the past but they seemed really expensive compared to other houses in Forest Hill – I recall one in slightly dodgy condition being listed at something around £750k – so they never seemed to be a realistic option. With Brexit hitting London property prices, however, a house in the middle of the terrace came up for sale at still expensive but slightly less extortionate £700k so I thought it was worth having a look.
The house was in vacant but acceptable condition, showing signs of a hasty post-tenant redecoration job. Upon entering through the walled and gated garden, which felt a bit like a cage, you were met with a small hallway which led into the main living area. This was a great space, both wide and deep, stretching to the back of the house and overlooking a decent garden. There was an actual mid-century fireplace on one wall (though the original exposed brick wall that I’ve seen in other examples of these houses had been plastered over) and the original parquet floor was in decent condition.
A separate, decent sized but drably refitted kitchen led off the main living area and oddly contained a door which went out into the caged front garden (giving the front facade of the house two front doors). Upstairs were three bedrooms and a bathroom. A further flight of stairs led up to another bedroom, which was decently proportioned considering it was tucked between the eaves of the house.
Although the house was a good size and had some really nice features, it wasn’t without its issues. It contained a hot air heating system (dry, inefficient, expensive to replace and annoyingly common in mid century properties), the convenient location meant there was quite a bit of road noise (possibly fixable with new double glazing) and a lot of the original features, such as the natural timber balustrades had been painted over with a coat of generic white gloss paint. As such, despite its potential, £700k still seemed expensive.
EDIT: I’ve just realised that this house, which is in my starred Air bnb wishlist, is in this terrace! The owners have done a great renovation job on it.