28 Albany Villas

I generally steer clear of writing about houses which are for up for sale but every now and then I’m happy to make an exception.

Take 28 Albany Villas for instance which is on the market. Not only is it a complete example of an Osborne House-inspired residence with many original features still in place, it also comes with over 150 years of important documentation. The stack of paperwork includes title deeds, various mortgage agreements and a ground rent receipt. The house was known as No. 11 until the road was renumbered though the documents show both numbers in use at the end of the 19th century.

An auction document which describes the building as ‘an exceedingly well-built villa residence with enclosed garden in front and rear’ is particularly fascinating and mentions the building’s scullery, larder, butler’s pantry and water closet. The 20th century paperwork includes a number of local search documents, a fire insurance certificate and even a will.

There are several complete houses on Albany Villas and I’ve been lucky enough to see around three of them. The exteriors are characterised by light render, belvederes, and slate roofs with large eaves. Inside, the basements were once home to the kitchens so often feature flagstone floors as is the case with No. 28 which has acres of (probably York) stone. The layout down below has been altered slightly but it’s easily possible to work out which walls went where from the gaps between the slabs.

After the basement, I worked my way up to the roof via a pretty staircase with delightful iron balustrades. The roof is double-pitched which means, in this case, that the front and rear sections are separated by a gulley. The front section is small though could in theory be used as a loft but the rear actually contains rooms. Of course, I couldn’t resist climbing on top for the complete Mary Poppins experience.

When Georgina Croft bought 28 Albany Villas, it was, as she puts it, a squat. Turning the four storey house back into a beautiful home must have been an arduous task – but immensely satisfying. Her style of decoration is not exactly orthodox but that’s irrelevant. The mix of modern materials (such as white lino in the lounge) and early Victorian detailing is quirky but it certainly works.

Fortunately, no original features were harmed in the making of this extremely desirable home.