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House Envy: London

On gray drizzly February days, it can be hard to muster up the willpower to actually get things done around the office. And so, on days like today, I often find myself perusing the "Great Homes and Destinations" section of The New York Times, wishing I were somewhere else. While I suspect the weather in London today looks a lot like Houston's does (but about 30 degrees colder), living in a beautiful century-old row house like the one above (located in Fulham, a neighborhood in southwest London near Chelsea) would conquer my midwinter blahs.

The owner of this house is a finance attorney (like me!) with a large law firm in London (not like me). At almost 2,500 sq. feet, I would imagine a home like this in London would cost upward of a million pounds and the extensive renovations the homeowner undertook have probably pushed the home's value well over that even in a very depressed real estate market. This is the owner's sitting room -- notice the detailing in the bay window, which I would assume is original to the house. I think this room does a beautiful job of blending traditional details like the window with more modern ones (like that sleek and minimalist fireplace). Love the built-ins as well. On the whole, I like how the owner has decorated the room, though I swap out the too-small glass coffee table for a leather ottoman, which could play triple-duty as a coffee table, footrest and extra seating.

I'm sure this kitchen is the end-result of a huge gut-job as it's far bigger than what you would've found in an Edwardian home. I love the large center island with built-in wine storage. And again, all the storage is amazing. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the cream cabinets -- while they look amazing with the wide-plank floors, I'm not sure how well they work with the black (presumably granite) countertops or the green walls. I also would've added a backsplash (or as the Brits call it, a splashback) -- kitchens always look unfinished to me without one.

The bedroom is lovely. I like the choice of a modern fixture with the traditional ceiling plaster and the fireplace is nice. That said, I'm surprised how unstaged the room feels -- they didn't even both to remove the humidifier sitting on the floor before taking the picture. I also feel like there's a lot of empty space here. I'm all for an uncluttered look, but a nice seating area near the fireplace would help take advantage of the feature and the undersized oriental rug at the foot of the oversized bed just seems to highlight the poor layout. On the whole, this room would've been well-served by the aid of a decorator -- lots of unrealized potential.

Here's a shot of the master bathroom -- beautiful, isn't it? I particularly love the basin sinks atop the wood vanity (which looks like a piece of real furniture). The modern faucets are also beautiful. As with the kitchen, I think the wall behind the vanity would've been well served by a backsplash (even if just carrying over the tiles used around the bathtub and shower areas). I'm also very envious of the towel warmer in the bathtub, it adds that extra touch of luxury. All in all, very sleek and modern, but the warm beige of the tiles and dark wood vanity keep it from feeling cold.

This patio is absolutely gargantuan for a London row house. I'd love to see this patio come spring -- hopefully the owner has a few flowering plants to liven things up. I also see that she has an outdoor heater, a necessity for chilly London days and nights.

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