This impeccable five-bedroom house lies on a quiet residential street between Parker’s Piece and the Botanic Gardens in the heart of Cambridge. It has been subject to a recent extensive renovation by architects McLaren.Excell to create a home that is inviting and serene. Unfolding over three reconfigured floors, the interconnected and dynamic interior spaces combine unparalleled attention to detail, the finest materials and meticulous craftsmanship. A beautiful garden designed by the award-winning landscape architect Robert Myers is to the rear. Cambridge station is a five-minute walk, with trains to Kings Cross and St Pancras in around 50 minutes and Liverpool Street in approximately 85 minutes.
Established in 2010, the focus of McLaren.Excell is to deliver beautifully conceived, conceptually clear and well-crafted buildings. Derived from a profound and instinctive understanding of the potential of existing structures and of how things are made, McLaren.Excell designs are innovative, often unexpected and challenge long-held preconceptions.
Reimagining the Victorian semi-detached townhouse for modern family life, the traditional front façade belies the dramatic, contemporary brilliance within. A series of fluid and vibrant spaces run from the front of the house to the rear and break from the established period layout.
A range of different sized spaces allow for sociable family life, entertaining, quiet work and mediation. These are gently separated via full-height doors, some sliding effortlessly into concealed pockets. A wonderful quality of natural light is beckoned from several aspects throughout.
The detailing and workmanship within are immaculate, and the palette of materials used is confident, restrained and considered; the result is calm and aesthetically harmonious. Wide oak boards run underfoot, and the walls are of smooth plasterwork, textured shuttered concrete and handcrafted joinery. In the kitchen, smooth concrete ceiling slabs merge with swathes of frameless roof lights.
The principal entrance is to a traditional hallway that extends to meet the soaring modern stairwell. The oak treads are bound by metal balustrades and handrails and light floods from skylights above.
The ground floor layout is capacious and merges seamlessly from room to room. At the front, overlooking the quiet residential street, is a sophisticated dining room replete with a bay window, abundant storage and a warming fireplace. This flows into the living space and the kitchen.
The expansive sitting room serves as a centrepiece of family life with a sculptural concrete fireplace that provides both an architectural focus and a hearth to gather around. The bespoke joinery continues into this room, creating a natural nook for reading and play and plentiful storage to conceal everyday clutter. Double doors, set within the bay, open directly to the garden.
In the kitchen, oak-fronted cabinetry is topped with grey quartz worktops. A generous island with an array of storage drawers sits centrally. The dining space lies at the rear and is edged in walls of glazing, creating a constant commune with the landscaped garden outside.
To the side is a secondary entrance from the street. This provides practical, day-to-day access to a long boot room, handy for coats and shoes, a utility area and a WC/shower room. It also leads directly to the rear garden. The thoughtful use of materials is continued into these service rooms, with a more subtle palette of Douglas fir, exposed honey-coloured Cambridge stock bricks and plywood sheathings.
The main suite is situated on the first floor. This is a wonderfully light and elegant space with an abundance of hand-crafted wardrobes. The space has the same open-plan philosophy as the lower level, flowing effortlessly from bedroom to bathroom; the latter has veined marble countertops and flooring, black Vola fittings and mirrored cabinet fronts.
A further two generous double bedrooms lie on this floor. The larger is bathed in light, care of a bay window and has a beautiful fireplace. With a picture window framing verdant, leafy treetops views, the current owners use the smaller room as a home office. Generous bespoke joinery features in both of these rooms in the form of sleek built-in cabinetry. Also on this level is the spacious family bathroom.
On the second floor, there are two additional double bedrooms, one with an en suite shower room. Each capitalises on the abundance of natural light invited in by sash windows.
Glazed doors open from the living area and the kitchen to reveal a private and peaceful town garden that benefits from sunshine for much of the day. Designed to offer colour and interest all year, the renowned landscape architect Robert Myers has created a stunning garden.
Edging the central lawn are pathways, terraces and patios. Holistically arranged to complement the interior architecture, these unite in a delightful offering of places to enjoy a morning coffee, an evening of relaxed entertaining, or a moment of quiet contemplation.
A trellised walkway, awash with fragrant climbers, stretches to the parking area. Discretely concealed, this can accommodate two vehicles and is accessed from Glisson Road via electric gates.
The house can be found on Lyndewode Road on the southeast side of Cambridge, around five minutes’ walk from the city centre and the railway station.
Intimate in scale, the city has a wonderful selection of shops, restaurants and cultural events, with Kettle’s Yard and The Fitzwilliam Museum notable highlights. There is a Picturehouse cinema, and a broad programme of theatre, comedy and dance at The Arts Theatre.
The city is bounded by plenty of green, open spaces within easy reach, and there are delightful walks along River Cam. Grantchester Meadows offers the opportunity for wild swimming.
Cambridge is world-renowned for its university and the quality of its historic architecture. Yet, it is also increasingly recognised as an international business hub, thanks to its growing technology and science industries.
The house is within the catchment zone for the excellent Hills Road Sixth Form College. Cambridge offers many independent school options, including King’s College and St John’s College Prep schools, The Perse and The Stephen Perse Foundation Schools and The Leys.
Direct train services run from Cambridge to London in approximately 50 minutes. The motorway network is easily accessed, with the M11 and A14 around three miles away. Stansted airport is 27 miles south.
Council Tax Band: G