The Househunter: Room by Room

3rd November 2017

Over to west London first to have a look around television centre. Remember when the BBC moved up to Manchester and that fabulous round building in White City was abandoned. Well it’s in the process of being turned into 950 homes and the first residents are due to move in next month.

Built in the 1950s the former headquarters of the BBC had 400 offices, 600 dressing rooms and seven studios. Programmes such as Blue Peter, Dr Who and Fawlty Towers were all made here. But now the 14 acre site will house apartments, office, a new Soho House, shops and restaurants. BBC Worldwide will still be here in future development plans.

The inner circle, The Helios, which is grade II listed, will have apartments created from the original designs while the outer semi-circle, The Crescent, will be more modern in style. The courtyard Helios apartments will have underfloor heating below polished concrete floors and windows running the full width of every home. The Garden side will be more wooden in feel overlooking the greenery and reminiscent of the BBC’s original mid-century design.

The main lobby, through so many television stars passed is being fully refurbished and the original John Piper mosaic restored. This will become the site of the 24 hour concierge service.

Prices started at £550,000 so not cheap but in line with London prices and it’s a pretty amazing building with incredible facilities so it’s not surprising that it will cost a lot to live here. The final lot of one and two bedrooms apartments have just been released for sale with prices starting at £810,000 and they’re in the central donut.

My plan, given that I shan’t be buying one, is to get to know someone who has. I definitely fancy a real-life nosey round what about you?

And now for something completely different and way more expensive. Now I know one of you asked to see smaller, more affordable, homes last week and part of the issue is finding places that look good inside and out. And let me tell you that’s pretty difficult – it’s basically like trying to put together Living Etc every week with the added proviso that they must be on the market as well. So often I do pick the more expensive ones – fewer of them less to hunt through – but I always hope that, size not withstanding, they will still inspire you in small homes in terms of colour or details or ideas even if you haven’t got room for a freestanding bath and three sofas.

So this is on with Hunter and Company for £2.8m and it’s in Woldingham, Surrey. And notice how the ghost chairs and stools sort of disappear. That’s a good trick if you need the space to appear – not necessarily bigger – but less cluttered. By the time you’ve got four table legs and four legs on each chair that’s a lot going on. Anything you can do to minimise the slum of legs as Eero Saarinen said (shortly before he designed the Tulip table with its single pedestal leg) is a good thing.

Next, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that exposed brick is perhaps a bit of a cliché but, having said that I’m partial to a painted version in both black and white and it works really well in this room which is basically a warm monochrome – black and cream as opposed to black and white or worse beige with no black and there’s still a lot of it about despite what you may have heard about grey being the new neutral.

This house, by the way, has seven bedrooms, four receptions rooms, sits in two acres of grounds that includes a swimming pool. It has been with the same family for 18 years who fully refurbished it and added a frameless glass extension similar to the one we saw last week.

So of course not everyone can have a bathroom this big but you can tile the walls in black and cream and paint the bath black. Or you might prefer a more neutral shade for the second bathroom – there are still two more to go.

Anyway happy browsing. I’m off to help a client in Blackheath with her bathroom before the weekend starts. Happy Friday everyone.

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  • Emma G 7th November 2017 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t suppose anyone knows the name of the paint colour on the woodwork in the first BBC living room photo? Not usually a fan of creams but this one is so warm and cosy. Thanks

  • CharlotteD 5th November 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Looks lovely. Absolutely love the grey velvet bed in the bedroom – if anyone knows where to source this I would love to hear:-)

  • Matt 3rd November 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I go to work at TVC every day, it’s shaping up very nicely. Anyone know what the centre light is in the bedroom – I love it!

  • Anna 3rd November 2017 at 11:23 am

    The BBC Flats appear beautifully designed and finished. Note the pocket door to the bedroom and how tall it is. This makes a huge difference to how the space feels, sadly most developers miss that trick. Only downside being in the centre ring is privacy so voile blinds would be a must in the bedroom at least. Thanks for sharing Kate.

  • Lisa 3rd November 2017 at 8:35 am

    Soooooooo ………. love the ghost chairs I will definitely be buying 4of these thankyou 😊

  • MADY DEUTSCH 3rd November 2017 at 7:25 am

    They are just what London needs: more flats for rich people.

  • Jade 3rd November 2017 at 7:06 am

    I love the first, could happily move in right away. Particularly like the built in joinery. Not at all keen on the second – that black and cream combination is awful! It reminds me of a house I used to visit as a child – though that had the addition of red, silver and LOTS of leopard print 😄

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