Only acquired by the National Trust in 2010, this property features a series of uniquely fashioned interiors created by Kenyan-born poet, novelist, artist and British civil servant Khadambi Asalache.
Asalache (1935-2006), who had trained as an architect, purchased the then dilapidated 1819 terraced house while working at the Treasury in 1981 (he apparently spotted it from a passing bus and ended up buying it for less than the asking price).
Confronted with a damp patch in the basement that resisted treatment, he initially covered it with wood and then, deciding that was bit drab, created fretwork to put over the top.
It was the beginning of a massive undertaking which saw the property transformed. Over the next 20 years, Asalache used a fretsaw to turn the home into an extraordinary work of art, eventually embellishing almost every wall, ceiling and door in the house with Moorish inspired fretwork patterns and motifs, hand-carved from reclaimed pine doors and floorboards which he’d found in skips.
The rooms, which are also influenced by African, Ottoman, and British design, are filled with Asalache’s handmade fretwork furniture and his eclectic collections of objects such as pressed-glass inkwells, pink and copper lustreware, postcards and his typewriter.
The Clapham property, which appears unassuming from the front, was left to the National Trust in Asalache’s will.
Only a select number of visitors can visit the property each year on pre-booked tours (although it’s currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak). For updates on its opening status, head to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/575-wandsworth-road.
PICTURES: Interiors of the property (Shakespearesmonkey (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0))