What do we want from the perfect cottage? Wooden beams and a roaring fire are essential, a cosy bedroom under the eaves is a bonus, and there should be no traffic hurtling past your front door, and preferably an idyllic view of, perhaps, a river. And what about location? Given the demands of the "Chelsea-tractor" set, they'll probably want to be no more than five miles from Soho. It sounds implausible, but this picture-postcard cottage ticks all those boxes.
No12, Lower Mall, in Hammersmith, London W6, is that rarest of rarities - a genuine country cottage in the heart of the city. Neatly tucked away from the busy roads, with an outlook straight over the Thames to Hammersmith Bridge, this cottage has all the charm of any of its Dorset counterparts, while being within striking distance of the Conran Shop.
Originally a fisherman's cottage, No 12 perches on the river's north bank, among local artists, weekend strollers and fair-weather sailors. Perfect views of the annual University Boat Race are to be had from the riverside windows, and there are long walks starting from right outside the property.
From the towpath, there's a covered alleyway that gives access to the rear courtyard. This smuggler's alley has another door that leads into a cosy dining room with wide rustic floorboards, a brick-backed fireplace and a delightful turned, wooden staircase. The tone of the interiors is spot-on. It's not too modern or, worse, too twee - it's more a combination of stripped-back Shaker simplicity mixed with a smart, light-filled beach house.
The warm wood and white walls continue through to the kitchen that concedes to modernity with an eye-popping range, though the old/new balance is restored by a utilitarian butler's sink. The enclosed courtyard offers an oasis from city life, with old walls, flagstones and various climbing plants.
A wood-panelled door from the kitchen leads to a small lobby with stairs down to a double bedroom and shower room - a perfect guest suite or teenage den. The stairs up from the ground floor take you to a living room (which could make another bedroom) and a bathroom, while up again is a top-floor bedroom with sloping ceilings and a cute dormer window.
This part of the river has some remnants of the original Hammersmith village, and the 17th-century Dove Inn, a few doors up from No 12, is the oldest surviving waterside pub in London.
If it's the best of both worlds you're after, No 12 Lower Mall allows you to commute, relax and holiday all from the same address. The only thing it lacks is a third bedroom.
Get the spec
What: a 17th-century fisherman's cottage with lovely views of the River Thames
Where: 12 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London W6. Five minutes to the Tube/shops; 20 minutes to Heathrow.
Size: 99sq m (1,072sq ft)
Inside: two reception rooms, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen; exposed beams and stripped floorboards feature; a 20ft courtyard outside
Price: £1.1m Knight Frank (020-7861 1773, www.knightfrank.co.uk)Reuse content