Maison MasterChef: The 1.1million home with the kitchen of choice for Jamie Oliver
Sat 12 Oct 2013
Ironically, Edwina, a great-great-granddaughter of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, is not particularly interested in cooking. 'It's the best kitchen for making cheese on toast,' she jokes modestly.
Where Edwina's talents lie are as a film and TV producer and in finding locations for shoots, so it's perhaps not surprising her own home has been used as a set. She has also produced pop videos, for The Rolling Stones, Queen and Tinchy Stryder. Her contacts in the film and music industry have undoubtedly helped her, but she believes there are several factors that make it attractive for location managers, so a buyer could, if they desired, continue to use it as a set. 'The house is on a very wide road so there is good access for the crews' lorries,' she says. 'It is also close to the centre of London.'
Owners of properties used in adverts are generously remunerated and often put up in high-class hotels while filming takes place.The house itself has an illustrious history, having been designed by early 19th Century builder Thomas Cubitt, who built the east front of Buckingham Palace and swathes of Belgravia. In fact, Cubitt constructed the entire road as dwellings for his workforce: the house sizes are all different and they were built to reflect the rank of his staff. Edwina says her house's large size suggests it was built for someone in a senior position. She bought the property 12 years ago because she wanted a Georgian home and a south-west-facing garden. But she had to use her intuition and eye as a location manager to realise its potential.
'It was owned by someone who had gone to live abroad and it had been used as a squat,' she recalls. 'The kitchen was divided into lots of small rooms and the garden was in a right state.' Edwina stripped out walls to give an open-plan feel, in the process creating the vast kitchen with its central-island work station that has proved so attractive for photoshoots.
The house now has three bedrooms, three reception rooms and two bathrooms. She also put in a conservatory and got to work in the garden, which looks so well-manicured and mature it's hard to believe it was used as a dumping ground by squatters just 12 years ago. 'It gets so much light so the plants I put in have grown fantastically,' says Edwina, who plans to move to a large flat she already owns when the house is sold. 'I will miss the garden it is not overlooked at all, which is very rare in London.'
Edwina, who was raised in Hampstead, North London, is now a convert to the charms of life in the capital south of the Thames and believes the buyers of her house will appreciate what life has to offer in Clapham. 'It's so green there's Clapham Common five minutes' walk away and Wandsworth Common and Battersea Park close by,' she says.
She also says Clapham has changed dramatically for the better in the 12 years she has lived there, with a variety of good-quality restaurants and pubs popping up. In fact, one of the local pubs proved particularly useful when Jamie Oliver's team were at her house to film. 'He arrived with a huge team of chefs and even my kitchen wasn't big enough so they ended up using the kitchen in the pub up the road to prepare food.'
Thomas Crabtree, area director for Marsh & Parsons, said: 'The house is a gem with its Cubitt history, but the interior is a real surprise.