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An extraordinary home and an intriguing work of art
The hand-carved fretwork interior of this modest, early 19th-century, terraced house is enthralling and inspiring.
575 Wandsworth Road was acquired by the National Trust in 2010, because of the rich and striking interiors created by Khadambi Asalache (1935-2006), a Kenyan-born poet, novelist, philosopher of mathematics and British civil servant. He bought the house in 1981 while working at the Treasury, and over a period of 20 years (from 1986) turned his home into a work of art.
Prompted by the need to disguise persistent damp in the basement dining room, he initially fixed pine floorboards to the damp wall. He went on to embellish almost every wall, ceiling and door in the house with exquisite fretwork patterns and motifs, which he hand-carved from reclaimed pine doors and floorboards found in skips.
The house stands as he left it, with his painted decoration on walls, doors and floors and with rooms furnished with his handmade fretwork furniture and carefully arranged collections of beautiful and functional objects, including pressed-glass inkwells, pink and copper lustreware, postcards and his typewriter.
Book a tour
Tours are limited to 54 visitors a week, in tours of six people at a time, due to the delicate nature of the property.
Tours have been very popular and we regret that we are now fully booked until the end of the year. The house will reopen for tours in March 2014, bookable from January 2014 by calling 0844 249 1895 or by booking a tour online. Admission charges and a booking fee applies, free for National Trust members.