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Faced with a tired rear elevation in their London Georgian house, the Clarks decided to rip it out and replace it with an ultra-modern confection of steel and glass
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In the middle of a long terrace of Georgian stuccoed houses, in a conservation area a stone's throw from the centre of London, is a house that manages to blend seamlessly the traditional with the modern. Aldebert Terrace is one of six or seven really lovely streets of Georgian houses in Stockwell - an area of London which is also known for its less salubrious parts.

In the middle of a long terrace of Georgian stuccoed houses, in a conservation area a stone's throw from the centre of London, is a house that manages to blend seamlessly the traditional with the modern. Aldebert Terrace is one of six or seven really lovely streets of Georgian houses in Stockwell - an area of London which is also known for its less salubrious parts.

The current owners, Ewan Clark and his wife, Alison, bought the house in 2001. It had previously belonged to an old lady who, in her later years, had only occupied the ground and lower-ground floors. She had let out the two upper floors, but the house was split quite informally, without any real division or planning permission. When she died, there were no relatives to benefit from her estate, and so she decided to leave the house to the couple upstairs who had taken care of her in her old age. The house remained as it was, however, until it was bought four years ago by the Clarks.

They had been looking for a home in the south-central area of London. Alison was working in Victoria, and it was important that she could get to work without a major commute. So the location of the house was perfect for them - Stockwell is only five stops from Leicester Square, Covent Garden and the City, and Alison could walk across Victoria Bridge to work in 25 minutes. The house was still in possession of all its original features, but it needed total refurbishment, and so it suited the Clarks' specifications perfectly. "We wanted a house that we could recreate as the family home that it was intended to be," says Ewan.

The most remarkable feature of the house, entirely hidden behind the original facade, is the presence of two huge, double-height steel-and-glass doors that open the two lower floors on to the garden at the rear. The Clarks' concept was to blend old and new. The idea for the rear doors came after consultation with their architect, who had seen an Australian project in which a beach house had had both front and rear walls removed and replaced with giant doors of glass, keeping the house as cool and fresh as possible.

When Ewan first bought the house, there was a tired plastic conservatory at the back of the house, and the rear of the house was in such poor condition generally that it was more economical for the owners to remove the entire rear elevation. The two upper floors were then rebuilt and the double-height glass doors replaced the wall at the bottom. There were some minor issues with the planning department, but they were fairly easily overcome. The house was in such a poor state of repair that most of the windows had to be replaced with original wooden sashes.

"There is often a certain amount of give and take in these things. The conservation people felt that we were doing a worthwhile job on the house and, on that basis, allowed us to go ahead with a rather less than conventional refurbishment at the back," says Ewan.

It took some time to find the right people to make the doors. The company measured the space and began the fabrication of the steel structures, but when the day came for delivery, it found that it had made them to the wrong size - and they didn't fit. "I was only pleased that I hadn't measured them myself," remembers Ewan.

Fortunately, the problems were soon rectified without too much disruption to the schedule, and as soon as they were ready, the doors were installed and glazed in a day. Ewan is delighted with the results. "It's fantastic to be able to open up the house during the warm weather. I open the doors while I'm making coffee in the early morning and they stay open all day, often until 9 or 10 at night."

Though the open-plan glass design might make other inhabitants feel as though they were living in a goldfish bowl in a less secluded setting, the 105ft garden ensures almost total privacy. There is peace and quiet at the front of the house, too, which has a view over the gardens of nearby Albert Square.

The ground-floor entrance to the house continues the traditional style of the facade into the interior of the house, with its teak parquet flooring, plaster cornicing, original staircase and marble fireplaces. In contrast, the lower-ground floor has been treated in a cool, contemporary style. The Poggenpohl kitchen is made from stainless steel, and underfloor heating has been installed beneath the limestone floor. The glass balustrade that encloses a galleried study, overlooking the lower floor, blends the two styles where they meet at the back of the house.

On the first floor, the master bedroom opens via two large walnut doors on to the en-suite bathroom. The room was custom built to the Clarks' specifications, with a raised floor so that the room operates as a wet room. The walk-in shower is open to the room with a simple glass panel to avoid splashing, and the huge free-standing, double-ended Philippe Starck bath stands in the corner.

The walls are clad in natural stone and the floor is tiled in grey ceramic. While these are light and modern, the guest bedrooms are more traditional. The soft stone shades of the paintwork create an atmosphere of tranquillity. Ewan says: "We have mixed the two styles in a subtle way, I hope, without any obvious clashes."

Ewan runs his own yacht-painting business in Wimborne, Dorset. He is beginning to find that he needs to spend more time on the south coast and therefore has decided to sell his home.

"I will have to split my time between London and the coast," he says, "so ideally we will have a home in both locations. We are planning to keep a flat in London for the time being, before deciding whether to move lock, stock and barrel down to the sea. This is a great house and I hope that it will be filled by a family who will enjoy its space and light as much as we have done."

Aldebert Terrace is on the market for £999,950 through Foxtons in Battersea (020-7801 1111)

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