“We decided to dig a pond,” says Will Fisher. He and his wife, Charlotte Freemantle, had just moved into a dilapidated Georgian house, their first baby was due, and the house, “a shell with wires coming out of the walls,” was more than a challenge. So, a six-foot-deep pond was not a top priority. But there was method in their madness: They knew that restoring the house would be a long job, so why not get the dirt and debris from the pond excavation through the house early. The pond now reflects the imposing Victorian church at the end of the garden. Will and Charlotte were married, and both their children baptized there.
The house, in what was once an ancient village but is now a part of south London, is set in a handsome broad street of eighteenth-century houses, lined with tall plane trees. Georgian fanlights and pillared porches look out over the front gardens of yew topiary and hanging wisteria, bounded by elegant iron railings.
When the couple bought the house in 2008, some of its rooms were subdivided by cinderblock walls. “We lived in it for eighteen months, and though that was more by accident than design, it was a wise thing to do,” says Freemantle. “It gave us time to work out the aesthetics and the ergonomics, how and where things should be, and time to find all the ingredients we needed.” Ingredients which included eighteenth-century stone steps for the garden, reclaimed New York subway tiles for the kitchen, authentic hand-made glass for the windows, and some handsome mahogany doors.
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INTERIOR DESIGN BY WILL FISHER AND CHARLOTTE FREEMANTLE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SIMON BROWN
WRITTEN BY ELFREDA POWNALL
This story appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of MILIEU.