Harrow Road, London W10


Architect: Adjaye Associates

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“Like a device of ecclesiastical architecture, its dark plaster and concrete walls are lit by streaks of light from glazing overhead”

Casting a watchful eye over the urban bustle of Harrow Road on one side and passing farers of the Grand Union Canal on the other, Silverlight is an award-winning celebration of, and insulation from, the outside world. Completed to a design by Adjaye Associates in 2009, its contemporary, fortress-like façade conceals a spatially versatile home of over 5,000 sq ft, filled with the dancing light of its environment and an artistic array of industrial materiality within.

The Tour

A sense of the impregnable is given by the aluminium-clad frontage of the house as viewed from the street. In fact, it is an easy house to pass unwittingly, as was intended with the design. Apart from the semi-opaque reinforced glass of the garage doors, their continuation along ground level, and the recessed glazing of the third-floor void, just a single window on the second floor interrupts the uniformity of the reflective surface from which the house garners its name.

Light filters through the glazed, sliding garage doors into this utilitarian space, which has room to park several vehicles. Steps rise gently alongside a wall of glass-cast resin to an entrance hall, converging with the route from the formal front door.

The house was originally designed as a three-bedroom home, with two bedrooms at raised ground level and a music room. The current arrangement has shifted from three rooms to two enlarged spaces; one is a dedicated guest bedroom with an adjacent wet room/shower, and the other is retained as a fantastic cork-clad music room and library. Exposed steel beams extend overhead and between them, rows of corrugated steel reflect the light that enters through strip windows and glazed doors directly onto the canal for access to moorings.

The two main staircases serve as wonderfully dramatic preludes to the principal rooms of the upper floors. The stairwell that rises along the northern wall is a dramatic event. Like a device of ecclesiastical architecture, its dark plaster and concrete walls are lit by streaks of light from glazing overhead and reflected beams from the mirrored landing above. From here a full-height window offers excellent views to the north. In addition to its visceral effect, the stairwell is positioned as an acoustic buffer between the street and the rest of the house.

The landing leads through to the second-floor living room and kitchen. This brilliant double-height space is arranged in an open plan with some superb bespoke concrete elements, in particular, a massive curved seating area formed around the gas fire. The space is a festival of light, pouring from above through the front-facing upper level and the multitude of southerly glazing. Walls are of concrete and aluminium, and a steel staircase parts the kitchen island and dining area to rise to the upper-level bar area and south-facing terrace and roof garden.

From the living space, a zebrano-enveloped stairwell, with recessed handle, descends to the master bedroom suite. Zebrano is a material theme throughout the house, used for cladding as well as built-in joinery features such as the bed in the principal bedroom. The room flows around a dressing area and shower room with the sleeping platform in the eastern section. The bed backs onto a walk-in wardrobe whose partitions are created from glazed panels filled with broken coloured glass, creating a luminous backdrop when lit from within. Floor-to-ceiling windows line the southern aspect, shooting plumes of light along the vinyl walkways, and several doors open onto a substantial enclosed terrace.

The lower-ground floor has been designed as a utility and home office with built-in desk space, which is connected to the kitchen via a dumb waiter.

The Area

Harrow Road is brilliantly located between Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Kensal Rise and Queen’s Park. It’s conveniently placed for the shops, cafes and restaurants of Golborne Road;  a bustling high street and home to many local favourites, including Golborne Wine & Deli, L’Etoile de Sous, Lisboa Delicatessen (renowned for its pastel de nata) and the recently opened and buzzing Straker’srestaurant. Layla Bakery is around the corner. The Laylow Member’s Club is here as well, with four stories of dining and event space.

Westbourne Park, slightly further afield, is home to The Pelican and The Cow, alongside the shops and eateries on All Saint’s Road—including independent furniture maker Rupert Bevan and Ria’s, a coffee house by day and a natural wine and pizza bar by night.

Chamberlayne Road, a short walk to the North, has a fine selection of independent restaurants, delis, pubs and shops, including a butcher,  greengrocer, florist and specialist bakery. Local favourites include Ida, a family-run Italian restaurant.

The green spaces of Queen’s Park and Wormwood Scrubs Nature Reserve are easily reached on foot, and the Regent’s Canal towpath is on the doorstep, leading to Kensal Green in the West and Maida Vale to the east.

The nearest underground station is Westbourne Park, for access to the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines. Queen’s Park and Ladbroke Grove Underground stations are easily reached. London Overground services run from Kensal Rise station for connections to Richmond in one direction and Highbury & Islington in the other. Several buses run into central London.

Council Tax Band: H

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.

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