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
The house is open for pre-booked guided tours until 2 November 2017. Due to the delicate nature of the property, tours are limited to 54 visitors a week, in tours of a maximum of six people at a time. Admission charges and a booking fee apply, entry is free for National Trust members, but members still need to book. As places are limited, if you are no longer able to make it, please let us know as soon as possible so we can reallocate your place.
What to bring
Help us to protect our small and fragile interiors by travelling light. Bags and coats can be stored in the dining room at the start of the tour. To look after our painted floors, we'll also ask you to take off your shoes when exploring the house; please feel free to bring your own slipper socks or ask us for a spare pair.