There are basically three types of Edwardian/Victorian house in Forest Gate – the two bedroom terraced cottages in what the lovely Eve of Wilkinsons has dubbed the Lanes area, the three bedroom homes that make up most of the stock bordering Wanstead Flats, and the beautiful double-fronted villas of the Woodgrange Estate.
It was the latter that first made us fall in love with the area eighteen years ago, but even with a Stoke Newington flat to sell they were outside our budget. Instead we found a three bed on Sidney Road – right by the Flats and beautifully spacious, except for the hallway. Love it as I did, I couldn’t help a bit of wide-hall-envy whenever I visited friends with a different set up and space for a family’s worth of coats and shoes.
So where to start with the new hall – the same dimensions as the previous one? We’d already decided to dispense with the first entrance to the living room, to set a family sized sofa along that wall. And we were lucky(?) that said wall had to be demolished and rebuilt. So I asked the builders to make a ply-lined alcove, with coat hooks inset.
By chance the new radiator was exactly the width of an IKEA Mosslanda picture ledge – providing a cheap and slimline home for letters, loose change and the odd cactus. Roy the joiner came back to custom make us a shoe cabinet and a large mirror, on sale from West Elm, finished the space and helped bounce the light around.