Easter house hunt: London's new homes launches to watch

In a bid to impress buyers, London's latest new home developments are offering more imaginative living spaces. Discover the flats fitted out with affordable furniture for first-time buyers, and the family houses with flexible floor plans...
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Space-planning and good architecture that is sensitive to its location are the drivers behind the new homes launches this Easter.

With interiors becoming more thoughtfully planned and priority being given to low energy use and innovation in building materials, new homes have to be efficient to run and safe and healthy places in which to raise a family to impress buyers.

Homes for young first-timers are fitted out with affordable furniture, and this year sees the return of stylish linoleum and polished concrete  surfaces, with paints and materials chosen from high street ranges so that buyers can easily maintain “the look”.

There is still room, however, for decadent cabaret and burlesque touches inspired by the Roaring Twenties, according to the British Interior Design Association.


Location matters
Developers are taking inspiration from an area’s local character. In Broad Court, Covent Garden, listed Victorian workshops have been stripped back to expose original roof rafters, vaulted ceilings and warm brick walls. Two double-height penthouses have been created at the top of the building. Prices from £2.5 million. Call CBRE on 020 7420 3050.

Interior architects are being brought in at an early stage to create more imaginative and flexible floor plans and create storage solutions. One outcome is New York-style apartments where you enter the property directly via an  open-plan area rather than reaching the living space via a cramped hallway. This works particularly well in high rise apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows as it accentuates the sense of space and light, and brings views into play as soon as you walk through the door.

In London, clean, crisp lines with different surface textures — glass, stone, stainless steel, leather, laminates and wood — are the design theme, which is beginning to filter into the suburban new-builds.

It's showtime
Show homes are the property everyone wants. If you buy a show home you not only get a designer home, you get the chance to pick up extra fixtures and fittings — even commissioned  artworks — at a discounted price. 

One Commercial Street, a 21-storey tower in Aldgate, has four large, luxury penthouses with spectacular views. Each flat comes with contents worth up to £100,000 included. Prices from £2,950,000. Call DTZ on 020 3302 3115. Some developers offer sale-and-leaseback deals: they sell the show home but enter into a contract with the buyer to use it for marketing purposes for a set period — say, 12 months — while the rest of the development is built. For buyers who are happy to delay moving in, it can be a convenient and cost-efficient option. You get a furnished home and by the time you take possession the property could well be worth more than you paid.

Glamorous marketing suites that look like a Bond Street fashion boutique are replacing showhomes at big developments such as Royal Wharf in Docklands and Embassy Gardens at Nine Elms. The sales centre mock-up apartments offer a sensory experience of what the development will be like.

Gritty can be glamorous
For the first time, a railway arch is being used for show flats. More West, at Freston Road in north Kensington, is being built alongside a railway  viaduct. Peabody, the developer, is unapologetically making the most of the gritty urban streetscape. It has leased the arch from Transport for London and is creating a landscaped public walkway between the train tracks and the homes.

The architecture is solid-looking yet sensitively-designed to reduce noise, with a tranquil central courtyard that is a green retreat for residents. Two-bedroom apartments cost from £616,000. Call 020 7758 8431.
From £237,500: creatively designed and kitted-out flats, in a restored Victorian watermill at Riverdale House in Lewisham. Call 020 7620 1500

Under £350,000
In Lewisham in south-east London, show flats have been created in a restored Victorian watermill, part of Galliard’s Riverdale House scheme of 137 flats. Prices from £237,500. Call  020 7620 1500.

Epping Forest, a wild and wonderful frontier on the eastern edge of London, has managed to protect its rural status despite development pressures to build more homes to cope with the capital’s bulging population.

The Arboretum is a rare new-build scheme moments from the ancient woodlands of Epping Forest and only a 15-minute walk from the market town of the same name, which has an 18th century high street and some prized listed buildings. Apartments are priced from £345,000 and houses from £650,000. Call L&Q on 01992 577096.

Back in town, Aura in Edgware brings added-value design, with 189 good-specification homes, including townhouses, set in generously-landscaped gardens. Prices from £300,000. Call 020 8951 3907.

Less than 700,000

Wesley Court in Spitalfields, a listed former mission hall, has been split into seven apartments  — some of them with dramatic double-height spaces — with modern, minimalist interiors. Prices start from £575,000. Call estate agent Fyfe Mcdade on 020 7613 4044.

Hurlingham Walk in Fulham reinvents a traditional housing type  — mansion apartment living, albeit with a modern twist. The mid-rise, brick-blocks are set around attractively landscaped courtyards and bring stylish and functional apartments with full-height windows and doors that open on to spacious balconies with cast iron balustrading (outside space was rare with traditional mansion blocks). Porterage, 24-hour security and gated underground parking make up the package of benefits. Prices from £685,000. Call St James on 020 8246 4199.

Less than £1 million
Great Minster House, opposite the Home Office in Westminster, might be described as “modern-classic” in design, echoing the area’s Edwardian mansion blocks, with parquet floors and high ceilings. Prices from £885,000. Call Barratt on 0844 811 4321.

Royal Connaught Park in Bushey, Hertfordshire, was originally the Royal Masonic School for Boys. Townhouses created within the splendid Edwardian buildings have been launched, priced from £899,000. Call 01923 222292. 

The development is set in 100 acres of parkland, has a gym and swimming pool for residents plus a free shuttle bus to Bushey station (20 minutes to Euston).

More than £1 million
Long Walk Villas is a new terrace of nine large houses with terraces and gardens in a conservation quarter overlooking The Long Walk, a magnificent tree-lined avenue in Windsor Great Park.

Homes sit behind ornamental gates and have an imposing portico entrance plus integral garage and a generous 3,500sq ft interior. 
An open-plan kitchen and family room extends into the garden and forms a first-floor terrace above,  while another outside space at the top of the house has views of Windsor Castle. Prices from £2.5 million. Call 020 3137 8226.

Chelsea Galleries in Kings Road was once a hub for artists and the original home of Chelsea Arts Club. The building is now a boutique scheme of larger-than-average size homes, with private terraces, tranquil courtyard gardens and gated parking.

Three-storey townhouses have interiors designed by the world-renowned Nina Campbell, while lateral apartments are equally lavish, with bespoke pieces of furniture such as a bronze and faux eel skin dining table. Prices from £4.75 million. Call Knight Frank on 020 7861 5483.

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