The Househunter: Room by Room

20th October 2017
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We’re going to Highgate first of all this week to this two bedroom penthouse which was designed by the modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin for his own use. It’s at the top of Highpoint 1, one of two buildings he designed and built between 1935 and 1938. At the time, this apartment was said to be the highest in London thanks to its position on North Hill. And, although clearly it has been dwarfed since then, the views are still amazing.

It’s on the market for £2,950,00 via The Modern House and is regarded as of significant architectural merit as one of the best examples of early International Style in London.

Born in Georgia in 1901, Lubetkin studied in Berlin and Paris before moving to London in 1931. He also designed the penguin pool at London Zoo. Highpoints I and II were subject to much criticism at the time as you can imagine and the second, which was supposed to have 57 flats ended up with only 12 such was the opposition from the Highgate Preservation Committee. However, this meant that instead of ordinary flats they were designed as luxury apartments in a change of strategy and possibly an early example of spin doctoring.

Lubetkin lived in this one until 1955. It has direct lift access from the lobby and the main room is about 40ft long with fully retractable glass on both sides and the barrel vaulted ceiling you see below.

Not for the first time do I begin to wonder if I should have married an architect… no offence to The Mad Husband of course but I could live here. I really could. Did I mention the heated outdoor pool on the roof?

Many of the original pieces of furniture he created for this apartment have been preserved including this rug made from pieces of carpet laced together with cord which is a brilliant idea which I urge you all to consider immediately. No I’ve no idea how it was done but it can’t be that hard surely. And if by any chance, you have a bath in an alcove that has been driving you mad then worry no more – it’s cool and its modernist and you should definitely go punchy with the tiles.

There are lots more pictures on the site so do go and have browse. I would come with you but I’ll be scrabbling down the back of the sofa for a spare three million quid.

Mind you if you can only rustle up £2.35m you can have this two/three bedroom flat in Limehouse, which is on with Knight Frank. We can live in here and pretend it’s Venice. Sort of.

It’s over 2000 sq ft, which is huge; I just had a press release saying that for the average £179,000 spend in the UK you will get just under £420 sq feet. Now these statistics are sort of meaningless as you can get more for less and less for more depending on where you buy, but you would get roughly five times more than that in Hungary, three times more in Romania and double in Sweden. I tell you this just for context – not to make you miserable by the way. And – in the interests of balance – mortgage interest rates in Hungary and Romania run at 4.06 and 3.52 per cent respectively so, you know, swings and roundabouts.*

Moving swiftly on, there are two double bedrooms and a study and three bathrooms as well as this south-facing river-facing terrace where it would be amazing to sit and watch the river flow past. I’d never get any work done. Ever. In fact. thinking about it, I’ll stop rummaging behind the sofa, I haven’t got time to live here. What about you?

I’m going to Highpoint. At least I can swim every day and blame not working on being healthy. Or something. Have a great weekend everyone and happy househunting if that is what you are doing. If you see anything worth featuring on these pages in your travels then let me know in the comments below and I can credit you if I run it.





*information from compositedoorexperts.co.uk/research

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  • Ursula in Cádiz 29th October 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Highgate: it’s to die for! Pool and greenery with no gardening in the rain.

  • harriet smith 20th October 2017 at 11:57 am

    Oh definitely Highgate for me. I’d want more than a measly balcony for 2.35 million (and that coffee table is unforgivably ugly – not that that should be an influence of course). But how fabulously adventurous Lubetkin was (and how timeless the result).

  • Anna 20th October 2017 at 10:34 am

    I do wonder if being married to an Architect would be as frustrating as being married to a builder? It seems nothing gets done at home by either, from what I have learnt over the years. Better that the Mad Husband was filthy rich and indulged your whims!!

  • Mandy 20th October 2017 at 8:35 am

    I’ll go with you to Highgate – I feel I could definitely live there 😁

  • Vivienne 20th October 2017 at 8:26 am

    How about a house with a tower? Savills have one in SW15. It’s POA, but approx. £5m – so you’d need to be fumbling in a huge sofa to afford.

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