It has taken over 30 years, but the architectural designer Charles Rutherfoord and his partner Rupert Tyler have finally acquired the last bit of a south London house that was once carved up into six flats. Look closely at the exterior and you will spy the gold window frames. He was inspired by a lecture in Italy in which the speaker talked about a great house with gold windows that ‘glinted in the sunlight’. He created the effect with quick-drying metallic paint – a 250ml pot of water-based Ardenbrite in the light gold colourway costs £9.46 from Dulux.
Glass doors in the kitchen lead to a terrace overlooking the garden, which is something that has kept Charles and Rupert so attached to the house over the years. It really is magnificent, and in terms of its size and its style, so unusual for a London garden. Charles’s eyes light up when he talks about it – even details such as the new shelving in the greenhouse, where seedlings, succulents and subtropicals grow.
The south London garden is truly a labour of love. Charles buys his tulip bulbs from Bloms Bulbs. ‘My tulips regularly rival the displays at Chelsea Flower Show,’ he jokes. The ‘Avignon’ is a rosy red colour and the bulbs are available to buy in June (£6.40 for 10). His ‘Pod’ glass-dome greenhouse, pictured, is from Solardome; 222 x 362cm diameter, £7,680.