A quick hop to the station and a manageable school run have always been priorities for families searching for a bigger and better-value house in the commuter belt outside London.
Today’s buyers are increasingly design conscious, too, and want a home with a modern interior and flexible layout that looks good and feels glamorous.
Gabriel Square, in the cathedral city of St Albans, ticks all of these boxes. This scheme of 52 townhouses and 28 apartments set around a large, smartly landscaped square is a refreshing break from the usual commuter land architectural styles.
Inspired by mid-century modern design principles, the project is particularly impressive for being the debut development of Meyer Homes, which was formed in 2015 with the acquisition of a basket of sites from the Tesco supermarket chain.
Meyer embraced the contemporary architectural style of the original planning consent but brought in Conran and Partners to revamp what were conventional interior floor plans with a wider central stairwell, a double-height void and pocket doors that slide back into walls.
These limestone-clad, four-storey homes are a spacious 2,000sq ft, with white walls and light oak timber floors throughout.
They incorporate a garden and balconies, an internal courtyard and external spiral staircase plus a secluded roof terrace accessed via a glass box that forms the top of a central light well. Some have an integral garage while others have a lower-floor entrance to the underground car park.
St Albans to St Pancras is a 20-minute commute, making Gabriel Square especially convenient for anyone who works at the expanding King’s Cross business district.
Townhouses cost from £1,195,000, with flats from £475,000. Call estate agent Collinson Hall on 01727 843222.
Other Meyer projects in the pipeline include sites in Fulham, Lewisham and Kingston.