New niche home developments to watch across London
the mall is beautiful – again.
Boutique accommodation is back in fashion after a decades-long craze for giant developments. Niche projects, usually conversions and infill projects, growing across London and the suburban belt, attract style-conscious buyers who seek individuality and exclusivity.
Builders are scrambling for smaller sites and using architectural flair to make homes stand out. They use words like “bespoke” or “signature” to label small projects, and say design-driven developments have cachet and better resale values.
Such housing stands in stark contrast to the so-called ‘planned communities’ and large regeneration areas that have found favor with planners and politicians in recent years, such as Imperial Wharf on the Fulham waterfront, which has more than 2 000 houses and is a district in its own right, watched by private security guards.
By definition, niche homes are more intimate and strike a chord with buyers who want to feel part of a particular situation and live alongside like-minded people.
Few houses are more specialized than a pair of houses built along the Thames in Richmond. Each splendid 4,000 square foot home has coveted private river access and a boat mooring, while the lush gardens leading down to the water have terraces for outdoor cooking and dining.
Richmond enjoys a unique setting. Bounded by the Thames and boasting a vast 2,500 acre open park dotted with deer, it also has a waterfront promenade and superb views from its hill, an aspect protected by an Act of Parliament no less, and famous by artists Turner and Reynolds.
Remarkably, both houses are also just a three-minute walk from the town center and have a built-in garage, a popular commodity in Richmond. Nomad, the developer, spotted the potential of the plot, formerly occupied by three modest bungalows that served as accommodation for local shipyard workers. He then set out to build heritage-style exteriors behind which are interiors for modern lifestyles, highlighted by a fabulous kitchen and family space with floor-to-ceiling glazing that open to the garden.
The houses, known as the Richmond Riverside, which are expected to be completed next year, are priced at £ 4.75million. Call 020 3488 7302.
Like Richmond, Chelsea’s enduring charm is in part linked to the legacy of aristocratic retirement. Nowadays it’s richer than ever (hedge fund managers rather than dukes) and while not quite the bohemian hangout it once was, a nice redevelopment of the Everyman Cinema in King’s Road revives the spirit of the Swinging Sixties.
Essoldo House is a new local landmark offering 11 tasteful apartments as well as a new “arthouse” cinema, bars and restaurants at street level.
Initially dismissed by a town planning inspector due to a lack of affordable housing, the curtain was finally raised after a successful call from real estate developer Howard Raymond, son of famous Soho porn and real estate mogul Paul Raymond.
The building features a distinctive curved facade of handmade Danish bricks and bronze, while most apartments have outdoor space – one has an expansive 1,063 square foot terrace – and three are duplexes. A beautiful three bedroom apartment at the top of the building has a spectacular rotunda with an oval shaped glass roof. Price from £ 2.25million to £ 5.5million. Underground parking spaces cost £ 125,000. Call 020 7581 3349.
Converted Grade II listed mansion will appeal to history buffs
Many buyers believing that being close to nature will improve mental and physical well-being during the slow return to normal post-pandemic, niche developments in lush green environments, especially those with a sense of history , are high on the wish list.
Ickenham, in west London, has been a haunt of nobility since the Tudor era. It remained a sleepy colony until 1905, when the Metropolitan Railway Company opened a stop, or “halt”, on the line between Harrow and Uxbridge. But the area didn’t become a real part of London’s suburban belt until the 1970s, when the stop was transformed into a full-fledged train station.
Queen Elizabeth I attended a performance of Shakespeare’s Othello in the grounds of Harefield Place, a mansion later refurbished by a Georgian nobleman. The 8.5-acre estate became a maternity hospital in 1935 and then, bizarrely, the headquarters of video rental company Blockbuster, whose demise created an opportunity to convert into 25 luxury homes.
After a two-year restoration project restoring Georgian and Edwardian elements and the addition of a new wing, the listed mansion has been converted into 25 houses. The closed domain has a driveway, large lawns, a lake, an orchard and a wellness center with spa, gym, swimming pool and tennis court in the old vegetable garden.
Prices from £ 850,000 to £ 1,575,000. Call 01895 733525.
“It’s idyllic and everything we want is nearby”
Magna Carta Park in Runnymede, Surrey, is an elegant private estate of 59 classically styled homes on 57 acres of ancient woodland and landscaped gardens, with ‘permitted’ outdoor sports close at hand.
It takes its name from where King John and the rebel barons signed the famous “charter of rights” over 800 years ago. There are 33 houses and 26 apartments spread over three new mansion blocks. All homes have been designed to offer views of the grounds, a walled garden sanctuary and hyacinth plantation, while resident amenities include a tennis club, health club and spa, golf pitch and putt. , a bar and a library. Owners have golf carts to get around, or they can use the cutting path that winds around the forest.
“It sounds like a select country hotel,” says Laura Hackney of realtor Knight Frank. “Buyers have the best of both worlds; they can enjoy the perfect work-life balance while still being close to London. “
The estate also offers a breathtaking view of Windsor, anchored to the horizon by its famous castle. Eton College is one of the local schools. A gatehouse with concierge provides additional storage space for online deliveries and 24-hour security is provided.
From £ 1million to £ 4.5million. Call 011 784 477 120.
Covid was the catalyst for Chris and Charlotte Jackson to downsize the family home of Hadley Wood in the north London suburbs where they had lived for 25 years.
Recently retired and approaching their 60th birthday, the athletic couple got to know this part of Surrey through water skiing and cycling. When they discovered Magna Carta Park, they knew it was for them. They bought a large three bedroom apartment with a garden. “It’s an idyllic setting, and all we want is here or nearby,” says Charlotte, who is also an avid tennis player.
Sporty: the facilities appealed to Chris and Charlotte
Large apartments on Fitzjohn’s Avenue, “one of the noblest streets in the world”
Hampstead never went out of fashion. At the start of the Georgian era, its elevated village gained a multitude of elegant homes, and each era that followed brought new architectural versions, from beautiful Arts & Crafts villas to Bauhaus-inspired apartments to blingy mansions. of Bishops Avenue – a mix unmatched elsewhere in London.
With 790 acre moorland, parks and woods, an ancient village and protected garden suburb, shops, medieval pubs, golf courses, a plethora of good schools, and 15-minute metro links to the West End, arguably Hampstead has it all.
During its Victorian heyday, Fitzjohn’s Avenue was the neighborhood’s most prestigious address. Laid out in the 1880s, the tree-lined boulevard had 70 mansions spread over large plots and was described at the time by Harper’s Magazine as “one of the noblest streets in the world.”
Fitzjohn’s, a new hilltop project in a sympathetic red brick Arts & Crafts style, produced 29 homes along with luxury amenities for residents and courtyard gardens. Aimed at middle-aged downsizers, the large apartments feature hexagonal rooms with deep bay windows and high ceilings. Prices start at £ 2million. Call 020 7980 8742. Kensal Rise is a less quiet area in North West London favored by young buyers at prices outside of Notting Hill and Maida Vale.
Adele and rock band U2 were among the stars who visited 133 Kilburn Lane, a former recording studio now converted into 16 apartments called Old Dairy House to mark the site’s agricultural use over a century ago . Prices from £ 595,000. Call 020 7590 7299.
Style Arts & Crafts: Fitzjohn’s in Hampstead, top and left; U2 frontman Bono, inset, frequented Old Dairy House, top left, in Kensal Rise, in his former life as a recording studio