London Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2011: smart thinking and strong design pack a bigger punch

This year’s winners of the Evening Standard New Homes Awards offer everything today’s buyers want
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Plot 1 at Wargrave Park, Wargrave in Berkshire
EVENING STANDARD NEW HOME OF THE YEAR: Plot one at Wargrave Park, Wargrave, Berkshire, by Millgate Homes
The London Evening Standard New Homes Awards, now in their 20th year, champion excellence across the housing spectrum — from innovative first-time buyer flats to designer-led factory lofts and dazzling homes for urban fashionistas.

Judged by readers from a shortlist of 96 entries, this year’s winners have succeeded by offering everything that today’s buyers want: cutting-edge design, space-effective interiors and low-maintenance, eco-friendly features, all combined with great value and a generous splash of glamour. A big call.


Wargrave Park, Wargrave, Berkshire, by Millgate Homes
The medieval village of Wargrave lies on a charming stretch of the Thames but its bigger plus is its fast commuter links (38 minutes) to Paddington. Its narrow streets, independent shops and Georgian timber-framed houses on the river make it a highly prestigious place to live.

This home, with landscaped grounds designed by a Chelsea Flower Show winner, is one of six five-bedroom detached houses tucked away on a secluded site down a leafy lane. Behind the traditional brick-and-flint façade, the house perfectly balances formal and informal living spaces.

At ground level, a double-height entrance hall connects with a combined kitchen-family room, drawing and dining rooms, while a galleried staircase leads to five bedrooms (three en-suite) on the first floor. “A practical design that makes it a really efficient family home,” said one of the judges.

The open-plan family room is the centre of the house, with a Falcon dual-fuel range, American-style fridge/freezer, wine chiller and Bang & Olufsen AV system. The mature landscaping gives the home a comfortable, well-established look. Prices start at £1.475 million. Call 0118 940 1288. Similar homes are for sale at another Millgate scheme called Maple Place in Kingswood, Surrey.

Halstead Place, Sevenoaks


Halstead Place, Sevenoaks, Kent, by Ward Homes
A redevelopment of a country estate in the Kent commuter belt, close to sleepy Knockholt, whose train station inspired author Edith Nesbit to write her celebrated novel, The Railway Children, while she was living in the main mansion.

A listed stable block, coach house and gate lodge have been refurbished and 33 new homes built in the 22-acre grounds, which include playing fields, a village green and walled garden. One of the new properties is the School Master’s Lodge, a reference to when a school occupied the site in the Thirties. This winning house mixes contemporary and traditional materials and has floor-to-ceiling glazing, a double-height galleried entrance hall and a beautiful vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom.

Our judges were impressed immediately by the “sylvan setting”. One delightful architectural quirk is a restored clocktower. The clock has a 13-hour dial, originally made, it is said, in order to fool estate gardeners into working an extra hour each day.

Trains to Charing Cross and Cannon Street take 30-40 minutes. Prices range from £674,995 to £949,995. Call Ward Homes on 0844 556 6144.

Highly commended:
The Belfry, Cooden Place, Cooden, East Sussex, by Millwood Designer Homes.
The Baroque, Priory Gardens, Monks Risborough, Buckinghamshire, by Croudace Homes.

Silk House, Cornwall Terrace, in Regent’s Park
BEST NEW LUXURY HOME: Silk House, Cornwall Terrace, in Regent’s Park, by Oakmayne Bespoke.


Silk House, Cornwall Terrace, Regent’s Park, W1, by Oakmayne (bespoke)
A truly ambassadorial residence, this double-fronted mansion is one of eight imposing properties that have been “rebuilt” behind an original Nash terrace overlooking the boating lake at Regent’s Park. Under the gimlet eye of English Heritage, a team of 250 craftspeople refurbished and reproduced exquisite period architecture.

The sumptuous classic contemporary interior extends 8,833sq ft, reconfigured over four floors to provide six reception rooms, five bedroom suites, a gym and spa, a guest suite, staff quarters, a library and home cinema.

Everything is bespoke, from the bookmatched marble-lined bathrooms to the exquisite fireplaces, cornices and cabinetry. The interior walls are hung with work by named artists, including Damien Hirst.

More than 1,700 miles of hi-tech cabling runs through the house for touch-control of heating, lighting, curtains, blinds and the AV creature comforts, while the belt-and-braces security includes ram-proof garage doors, a vault and external CCTV cameras.

With a façade of full-height porticoes and classical columns, Grade I listed Cornwall Terrace dates from 1820 and is the earliest of all the terraces on the Outer Circle of the 487-acre park. Prices from £29 million. Call 020 7861 5487.

Highly commended:
Mole Hill, St George’s Hill Estate, Weybridge, Surrey, by Octagon Developments.

Acacia Lodge, The Green, in Royston, Hertfordshire
BEST NEW FAMILY HOME WITH UP TO THREE BEDROOMS: Acacia Lodge, The Green, in Royston, Hertfordshire, by Marchfield Homes


Acacia Lodge, The Green, Royston, Hertfordshire, by Marchfield Homes
A one-off home of great character, tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in the middle of this very attractive market town.

Reclaimed bricks and slates have been used to ensure this property slots seamlessly into the local conservation area.

With a small gated courtyard, a car port and garage, the house sold for £450,000. The developer is a family-owned company that mainly operates in and around Hertfordshire. Call 01438 311411.

Highly commended:
Swale Park, Thanet Way, Whitstable, Kent, by Weston Homes.


Tapestry Building, 16 New Street, EC2, by Westlin
Living in the Square Mile used to boil down to the challenge of a brutalist Barbican apartment or a plain-looking pied-à-terre. No longer. Fourteen fabulous Clerkenwell-style lofts have been created in a listed Georgian warehouse.

Tapestry Building, London, EC2
BEST CONVERSION (small developers): Tapestry Building, London, EC2 by Westlin
Interiors designed by architect Johnson Naylor mix contemporary finishes — ash floors and doors, glass walls — with the building’s raw fabric of vaulted timber ceilings, cast-iron columns, exposed brick and cargo doors.

These flats range from 1,372sq ft to 2,870sq ft and have an open-plan living space, concealed storage, bespoke joinery, walk-in wardrobes and a Hometech system controlling lights, blinds, heating, TV and audio. Prices from £1.4 million. Call Hurford Salvi Carr on 020 7250 1012.

New Street, opposite Liverpool Street station, is a pedestrianised lane that leads into Devonshire Square, an attractive courtyard office and retail complex. This is the eastern edge of the Square Mile, bordering colourful and vibrant Spitalfields, a convenient diversion from the pin-striped City proper.


Barnsbury Place, Islington, N1, by Mount Anvil
Few places in inner London have the tranquil charm of Barnsbury, a leafy conservation area north-east of King’s Cross. It is a delightful residential enclave — a mix of Georgian, Regency and Victorian architecture, from cottages to townhouses to villas — with a traffic management system that shuts out stray cars from the village’s heart.

Popular with City bankers and the “chattering class” of lawyers, writers, artists and academics, Barnsbury was where the young Blairs set up home back in the Eighties, before moving to Downing Street.

Barnsbury Place, Islington
BEST NEW CONVERSION - LARGE DEVELOPER: Barnsbury Place, Islington, N1, by Mount Anvil
Our winning development is a handsome Edwardian school transformed into 80 apartments plus three new blocks and a terrace of 15 newly built townhouses that sits back from the road behind iron railings and alongside a communal garden square and lawn — there are 141 homes in total.

Every apartment in the refurbished building has an individual layout and distinctive interior, with many original features retained. The main entrance foyer, once the assembly hall, has a 50ft-high atrium with a glass roof and a staircase with wrought-iron balustrading.

Houses have up to four bedrooms and 1,850sq ft of space plus a small front and back garden. Built of stock brick and Portland stone, they have no architectural flourishes and are rather boxy in shape, yet they are elegant enough and fit very nicely into the period streetscape. Door numbers are carved into the stone above a Wenge wood front door.

Houses have a white-gloss open-plan kitchen/day room and a skylight that opens up the top floor. Bathrooms have wet-room style showers, and there is underfloor heating throughout. On-site parking is provided. Prices ranged from £375,000 to £1.25 million. All sold. For other Mount Anvil developments in London, call 0845 177 0006.

Highly commended:
50 Hallam Street, W1, by Amazon Properties.
Old St Michaels, Braintree Essex, by City & Country Group.

Special commendation:
Beaufort House, 22 Sussex Square, Brighton, Sussex.

The Penthouse, Austen House, Winchester
BEST NEW APARTMENT: The Penthouse at Austen House, Winchester, Hampshire, has a spectacular living space with a vaulted ceiling


The Penthouse, Austen House, Winchesterm, Hampshire, by Beechcroft Developments
This developer has a talent for converting heritage buildings into wow-factor apartments — in this case a spectacular 2,442sq ft space at the top of what was one a library, built by the Victorians in historic Winchester town centre.

A private lift opens on to the sumptuous foyer of this spacious three-bedroom apartment and that might be wow factor enough. However, the pièce de résistance is the breathtaking dual-aspect, open-plan living space, which comes with a handsome barrel-vaulted ceiling and roof windows.

The home, with a £900,000 price tag, was, not surprisingly, snapped up. Only a ground-floor flat with two terraces remains for sale, priced at £390,000. Call 01962 849415.

Special commendation:
10 Queen Anne Street, W1, by Artesian.

Highly commended:
Penthouse at the Pier, Ingress Park, Greenhithe, Kent, by Crest Nicholson.


Richmond Letcombe Regis, Letcombe Regis, Oxfordshire, by Richmond Villages
Our winner is a new purpose-built village for the “active elderly” in rural Oxfordshire. Set in splendid landscaped grounds, the site was once an agroscience laboratory. Homes are sprinkled around the new estate and facilities include a swimming pool and spa, nature reserve, piano bar, library, lakeside restaurant and convenience store. Call 01235 773970.

Highly commended:
Frenchlands Gate, East Horsley, Surrey, by Beechcroft Developments.


The Square, Eastgate, Chichester, West Sussex, by Seward Properties.
Regeneration is all about “place-making” — creating a sense of arrival and shaping a location where people want to live, work and play. This development is the focal point of a council-led regeneration initiative in the heart of the famous cathedral city. A scheme of 25 townhouses and 41 apartments plus ground-floor retail and restaurant space has sprouted on a challenging site previously occupied by an outdated Sixties swimming pool and a disused furniture depository.

A chunk of land belonging to bordering St Pancras Church was released for development, too, resulting in a vibrant new town centre hub, with elements of contemporary architecture becoming a foil to the ancient heritage buildings. Prices from £329,950 to £675,000. Call 01243 790581.

Special commendation:
Jeremiah Smith House, Marsh Farm, Luton, by VE Parrott (Oakley) and Aldwyck Housing Group.
The Mews, Bridgewater Road, Weybridge, Surrey, by Consero London
BEST NEW SMALL DEVELOPMENT: The Mews, Bridgewater Road, Weybridge, Surrey, by Consero London

Highly commended:
Kinetica, Dalston, E8, by Telford Homes.


The Mews, Bridgewater Road, Weybridge, Surrey, by Consero Homes
Old habits die hard in the Surrey stockbroker belt, where trophy neo- Georgian and Victorian mansions flourish. This niche development of well-crafted townhouses behind Regency-style façades springs a surprise. Each house has four floors of modern, flexible space, including a basement with direct access to an underground car park. At the rear, a family room has concertina doors that fold all the way back, opening on to the garden.

There is a media room and the kitchens are by Poggenpohl; an extra layer of security is added for lock-up-and-leave owners who spend long periods away. Prices from £1.3 million to £2 million. Call Consero Homes on 01483 458875.

Highly commended:
St Peter’s Green, Holbrook Lane, Chislehurst, Kent, by Asprey Homes.


The Hamptons, Green Lane, Worcester Park, Surrey, by St James.
A slice of New England in suburban south-west London, The Hamptons is like no other in the capital. On a blue-sky summer’s day, it could be a film set for a Ralph Lauren fashion shoot.

The Hamptons, Worcerster Park, Surrey
BEST NEW LARGE DEVELOPMENT: The Hamptons, Worcerster Park, Surrey by St James Developments
Built on a former waterworks, residents arrive via a tree-lined avenue that opens on to a town square with community hall and clocktower.

Apartments, Shaker-style cottages and houses are set out in lanes and crescents on the perimeter of the site. Painted in hues of red, blue, white and grey, and bordered by white picket fencing, they have gables, porches, shutters and verandas.

After Thames Water closed reservoirs in 1997, areas of grassland, wildlife habitats and pools emerged on the 60-acre site. This was too precious an asset to build on so St James set about creating a 645-home estate set among lakes and parkland. Today, the grounds include an amphitheatre used for concerts, tennis courts, a children’s play area, nature trails and cycle paths.

According to the developer, "buyers are drawn to the place first and then decide which home they can afford.”

Scandinavian design is the inspiration for the final phase of homes, a slight departure in architectural terms but in keeping. Called Providence Place, the new buildings are said to be reminiscent of grain mills and quayside warehouses (albeit with modern solar roof panels) and make use of natural timber and warm-coloured rendering. Prices are from £369,950. Call 020 8337 3425.

Highly commended:
One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, SW1, by Project Grande.


New Meridian Village, Manston Road, Ramsgate, Kent, by Explore Living
Improved rail links are boosting Kent’s historic seaside towns after decades of decline. Ramsgate, benefiting from £90 million of regeneration around the Royal Harbour Marina and train station, is a good-value, up-and-coming location for buyers priced out of London.

New Meridian Village has 156 homes ranging from studios to four-bedroom houses, with properties laid out in clusters, or car-free “home zones” where children can play safely. Prices start at £119,995 and come with value-added extras such as iPod docks and digitally controlled showers switched from outside the cubicle. Call 0845 872 1004.

The Old Hospital, Maidstone, Kent
BEST NEW STARTER HOME (large developers): The Old Hospital, Maidstone, Kent, by Higgins Homes


The Old Hospital, Church Street, Maidstone, Kent, by Higgins Homes
First-time buyers do not have to compromise on stylish living space to get an affordable home, as this sensitive redevelopment of Maidstone’s former County Ophthalmic Hospital shows.

Grand refurbished common parts, including an imposing central staircase, are pleasures. The main building has 17 apartments, while grouped around courtyard gardens are new-build blocks.

The developer’s impressive Step Up scheme allows buyers to get on the ladder with only a five per cent deposit. Prices from £139,950. Call 01622 661511.

Highly commended:
Vellum Court, 2 Hillyfield, Walthamstow, E17, by Telford Homes.
Hawkins Wharf, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex, by Weston Homes.


Greengate House, Plaistow, E13, by London & Quadrant.
A striking Edwardian building near Docklands stands in stark contrast to the shimmering steel-and-glass towers of nearby Canary Wharf.

Greengate House, Plaistow, London
AFFORDABLE - BEST NEW FAMILY HOME: Greengate House, Plaistow, London, by L&Q
Originally a YMCA, it was later a theatre and then a university art and design faculty. Now it has been given a new lease of life as a development of 64 spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments for shared ownership and rent.

Behind the elaborate brick façade is a refurbished reception lobby leading to a newly built wing (pictured) and flats grouped around a landscaped inner courtyard.

Eco-friendly architecture includes “green roofs” and biomass boilers.

Prices from £155,000 (£46,500 for the 30 per cent minimum stake). Call 0844 406 9800.

Highly commended:
7 Dufours Place, Soho, London W1 - by Octavia Housing and Soho Housing Association.


Claredale Street, Bethnal Green, E2, by Tower Hamlets Community Housing and Karakusevic Carson Architects
This phoenix-like development has risen from a discredited concrete council estate. Surrounded by an eclectic mix of architecture, ranging from Victorian terraces and interwar factories to a listed Sixties tower, the new scheme is a cleverly scaled mixture of individually designed flats and houses that together form a coherent and convincing streetscape. Call 020 7566 6300.


Roden Court, Hornsey Lane, N6, by One Housing Group
The leafy slopes of north London offer spectacular views of the capital. And there are few better views than those from Roden Court in Highgate, where a pair of slim new towers clad in green zinc sit back from the road behind a dense line of trees.

These new apartments form part of a redevelopment of a sheltered housing estate. Established woodland at the rear of the site has been retained and will become a garden for a new courtyard complex of homes clad in crisp white render and cedar. Call 020 8502 5758.

Highly commended:
Falcon Works, Southwark, SE1, by Hexagon and Alan Camp Architects.
The Silk Gardens, Parmiter Street, Bethnal Green, E2, by Family Mosaic.

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