Coach houses were a common sight in horse-drawn London, when ladies would betake themselves to the park, there to ride about and admire each other’s phaetons. The carriage may have taken its leave of Altenburg Gardens, but the elegance and class lingers on. A cosy coach house just a canter from the Common, this home makes the sweetest crash pad. Its ivied courtyard is quaint and cheerful, its sitting room gorgeously furnished, while bedroom skylights let you stargaze yourself to slumber. Round the corner you’ll find the shops and eateries of Lavender Hill, and handy Clapham Junction station. No need to hail a cab…
An American couple, your hosts mainly live in Bath. He is a successful photographer who once worked for Private Eye, she a happily retired schoolteacher. Altenburg Gardens is their pied-à-terre when calling on their two grown-up daughters.
You can still imagine the carriages riding gallantly along this beautiful Victorian street. Open the front door, step through the bright hallway and into the vivacious sitting room. Mirrors and artwork adorn the walls, light streams through patio doors and an ornate coffee table stands upon a Persian rug. Nestle deeply into a sofa, or steal out into the flowery courtyard. Pint-sized yet picturesque, you’ve a garden table and chairs as well as a barbecue for those dinner parties. A stylish dining table perches in a nook of the sitting room, under spotlights and jazzy feature wallpaper, while round the corner you’ll find the kitchen.
Hop upstairs for the master bedroom. Elegant in white and brightly lit through tall skylights, all is sweetly serene. Plump cushions rest upon its king bed, while next door you’ve a sumptuous ensuite bathroom, stocked with the fluffiest of white towels.
Cart before the horse
The rolling turf of Clapham Common is to be discovered just at the end of your road, or you can stroll the other way for the shops and eateries flanking Lavender Hill. Nose around Northcote Road Market for vintage clothes and the freshest vegetables, dine in style at Chez Bruce or just sweep straight into town. The tube from Clapham Common to Oxford Circus takes a little over fifteen minutes.