Mad About . . .

The Househunter: Room by Room

4th October 2019

Two for you this week. Well one and a half really. First up, in news, the television presenter and queen of home renovation has put her seven bedroom south west London home on the market for £3.5m. It’s on the market with Savills and I thought you would want to see. But I’m not going to feature it in full because, well, I probably wouldn’t include it here if I didn’t know it belonged to her.

I’ve linked to it above and you can wander round in your own time. It is massive but then again she has four sons to accommodate and in an interview with Hello! this summer she said they had done a huge amount of work to the property which began life as a two up two down cottage.

She said she bought it for the garden and then as the family grew they extended adding the large kitchen and more bedrooms before digging out the basement to add a games room and two en suite guest bedrooms.

Right now we’re going to look at this two bedroom room in the Balfron Tower, which was designed by Ernst Goldfinger in 1967. Its brutalist design informed much of the design of the better known Trellick Tower, which he completed in 1972.

Prices in the newly refurbished tower range from £365,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, £500,000 for two bedrooms and £695,000 for a three-bedroom maisonette via The Modern House. Don’t forget the service charge though which is calculated at about £5 per square foot which comes to around £2000 annually for a one bed flat.

The Balfron Tower was Grade II* listed in 2015 and has been completely refurbished and renovated by Studio Egret West and Ab Rogers Design (son of Richard). The work is due to be completed in 2020 but this apartment has been dressed by the 2LG Studio and this one I thought you might like to see.

Like the Trellick Tower which followed, Goldfinger’s plan was to separate the lift from the main residential block and connect them by “streets in the sky”. The idea behind it was one of chance encounters and romantic meetings and neighbours chatting to each other. However, there are only two lifts so there it’s a moot point if neighbours are stopping to chat or complaining furiously at the wait to get home.

In 1968 Goldfinger and his wife moved into the top floor apartment where, during champagne-filled parties he would invite guests from the floors below to discuss their homes and what they liked (and didn’t like). He took that research to the Trellick.

In that building, doors can slide across openings to become walls and to partition off spaces and the windows rotate so they can be more easily cleaned. You can read more about this in Laura Chan’s 20th Century Society blog, she used to live on the 21st floor.

The refurbished apartments have kept the original Goldfinger motifs and open plan spaces while improving accessibility.

Materials include grey marmoleum floors with both and rubber and cork tiles in bedrooms and hallways. There is lots of green running through with terrazzo and cabinetry inspired by another Goldfinger’s homes.

Goldfinger believed passionately in shared spaces to encourage neighbourliness and the refurbished building has a number of communal spaces in homage to his vision. There is a gym, library, music room, cinema and workshop as well as a decked rooftop garden.

 

What do you think? I love the idea behind the building and how it was designed and I’m a fan of the dark green and lilac decor, although that is, of course, transient and can be changed as you wish.

As ever, jump into the conversation below and let’s get everyone’s opinion. If you bring a glass of champagne it can be like one of Goldfinger’s parties.

 

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply Jo Dumoulin 10th October 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Hi first time visitor Kate and I am loving your writing style.. but I have who ask..
    “First up, in news, the television presenter and queen of home renovation has put her seven bedroom south west London home on the market for £3.5m. ”
    Who is that ??
    As an ex pat Brit living now in Canada I assume if I were still at home I would know. That’s it’s some sort of cultural ‘in joke’ that I’m no loger in on because I’m so far away and I came to read the comments because I was sure either someone else would ask or would say..
    But in fact Sharon your first commentor only mentions ‘you know who’.. so are we not allowed to ask, or is it that you aren’t allowed to say ??
    I’ve tried googling it too.. but nothing obvious came up..
    Please can I have a clue..
    Yours
    Desperate of Vancouver Island xx

  • Reply Sharon 4th October 2019 at 10:03 am

    Just looked at you-know-who’s house on agents website – I like only the bathrooms and the garden. So not one for me, even in a fantasy world..
    And did I spot a cushion ‘design crime’?!

    • Reply Nicky Hufford 4th October 2019 at 12:35 pm

      Not to mention miles of ‘runway’ spotlights in the ceilings!

  • Reply Sandra 4th October 2019 at 8:38 am

    This week can I take the London pad? Love the styling and colour blocking. Not sure the lilac work for me. Location and views should be fab. The cheque is in the post!

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