BEST APARTMENT AND GRAND PRIX WINNER
The Penthouse, Wapping Lane, E1 — by Ballymore
Nowhere does London sell itself better than from the vast terrace of a spectacular penthouse, where the city’s treasures are laid out like a board game — Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, Big Ben, Canary Wharf, the London Eye and the River Thames.
Wapping, a low-rise neighbourhood with quiet cobbled streets and historic wharves and warehouses, is an unusual location for such a special London lair. The duplex penthouse, reached by its own lift, is at the top of a new 18-storey tower on a bend in the river. It offers awesome 360-degree views — and as much space outside as inside.
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With a circular floor plan and a perimeter of glass walls, there is a view from anywhere in the apartment. Spaces flow into each other rather than being sectioned off. The centrepiece of the lower level is a fabulous open-plan kitchen and living area, while the floor above, reached by a sculptural spiral staircase, is taken up by a recreational space with a wraparound terrace.
Sited between the City and Canary Wharf, this is one for a banker with a fat bonus who knows that if it was further west, the property would be at least twice the £3.2 million asking price.
Winner among small developers (producing fewer than 100 units a year): Northbourne Lofts, Clapham, SW4 — by Manor London Ltd
Conversion of a Fifties office building in Clapham has yielded four classic lofts with slick, modern interior design set against exposed brickwork and beams, with a gunmetal staircase linking a mezzanine level. Prices start from £900,000. Call 020 8022 7428.
Winner among large developers (producing more than 100 units a year): Bath House Lofts, Spa Road, SE16 — by Hollybrook Ltd
Bermondsey has left behind its Cockney past of brawny dockers and pearly kings and queens to become one of London’s trendiest districts. Plugged into the South Bank cultural quarter and within walking distance of the City, it is also one of the capital’s best- connected places.
Bath House Lofts, overlooking refurbished Bermondsey Spa park, was once the local town hall, an imposing Art Deco listed building with a façade featuring Corinthian columns and a magnificent communal lobby with marble floors, a sweeping staircase and gallery crowned by a domed roof. Before conversion into 41 apartments, including “affordable” penthouses with up to 1,450sq ft of space and big terraces, it was used as a set for BBC drama Spooks. Prices ranged from £450,000 to £1.35 million.
Together with housing charity Peabody, developer Hollybrook is working up plans for another SE1 project — Newington Triangle, between Elephant & Castle and Borough.
HOME OR DEVELOPMENT OF OUTSTANDING ARCHITECTURAL MERIT
Winner: Banyan Wharf, Wenlock Road, N1 — by Regal Homes
This head-turning canalside project in Shoreditch has the distinction of being Europe’s tallest “cross-laminated timber” building. The green and innovative CLT construction system allowed architect Hawkins\Brown to “rotate” floor plates at different angles — like a Rubik’s Cube — to create apartments with dual- and triple- aspect views across the water and beyond.
The façade is meticulously clad in engineered cedar, while the homes have large, private terraces. Residents can also make use of tranquil communal gardens.
It is a mixed-use building with commercial space at street level, helping to enliven the waterfront. A number of shared-ownership flats are for sale, priced from £150,000 for a 25 per cent share. Call Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association on 020 7704 7388.
BEST FAMILY HOME UP TO £750,000
Winner: The Berwick, Courtauld Place, Braintree, Essex — by Croudace Homes
This sizeable, traditional-looking house comes with the bonus of a detached garage with a studio/guest suite above.
BEST FAMILY HOME £750,000-£1.5 MILLION
Winner among small developers (producing fewer than 100 units a year): Bronlei Woods, Bramley, Surrey — by Kilpark Properties
These four unmistakably modern houses with bold exterior architecture and light-filled, intelligently designed interiors are a spectacular departure from the country-cottage vernacular that is more usually offered by commuterland house-builders.
Standing on an elevated plot in the village of Bramley, near the historic county town of Guildford, the houses are in the Grand Designs mould. Guarded from view by mature trees, they have glass walls, minimalist double-height spaces, roof terraces and concealed underground parking. Prices at Bronlei Woods start from £875,000. Call 01483 796810.
Winner among large developers (producing more than 100 units): The Yeoman, Froyle Park, Guildford — by Linden Homes
A spacious, barn-style semi-detached house that captures its rural setting in the grounds of a listed Jacobean mansion.
BEST FAMILY HOME MORE THAN £1.5 MILLION
Winner: Asquith, Spencer Park, Wandsworth — by Landview Properties
Each of these four new townhouses bordering Wandsworth Common also has private access to the “secret garden” of four-acre Spencer Park, a green sanctuary for the exclusive use of local residents — celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and presenter Johnny Vaughan among them — with tennis court and children’s play area.
Each summer, owners of the 26 houses that share this exclusive space adorn the park with candlelight and enjoy a splendid dinner party. On several occasions the Beckham family has visited this Narnia-style haven.
Ranging up to 4,500sq ft, the new townhouses have six bedrooms, a family “super-room” with a wall of glass that opens on to the rear garden, and a subterranean level with cinema, gym and guest bedroom suite. Prices from £4.5 million. Call Savills on 020 3430 6900.
BEST FIRST-TIME BUY
Winner: 243 Ealing Road, Alperton, by Network Living and Hill
Unsung and still relatively undiscovered, Alperton in north-west London is emerging as developers hit upon its hidden assets — the Grand Union Canal and the quick Piccadilly line Tube link to the West End.
A B&Q superstore has made way for 441 homes alongside the canal and is part of a £520 million Brent council initiative to transform the area into a residential haven, with a new school, shops and business premises.
Flats are spread across seven contemporary-design buildings connected by communal gardens, which include an orchard and play areas. There is an on-site car club, too, while the Tube station is a 200-metre walk from the development. Prices from £254,950, with shared ownership options available. Call 020 8997 3373.
BEST LUXURY HOME
Winner among schemes of fewer than 100 units: Crossacres, Wentworth Estate, Surrey by Octagon
After decades of building magnificent homes, Octagon has pushed the boundaries yet again with this 16,000sq ft trophy mansion on the star-studded Wentworth Estate.
The “Georgian-influenced” home sits in a lavishly landscaped 2.3-acre plot with ornamental swimming pool, retractable fountains and tennis court. Once over the threshold, visitors are captivated by a curving marble staircase that wraps around a 25ft handmade Murano glass chandelier suspended from a domed skylight at the top of the house.
In every other respect, the house is meticulously finished and equipped with bespoke pieces of furniture and accessories. Magnificent living spaces are for formal and informal use, and there are five luxury bedroom suites. But it is not always predictably opulent.
A “secret” family room is hidden behind full-height kitchen cupboard doors, while a subterranean spa and cinema is a more casual addition. And, of course, there is a climate-controlled garage for eight cars. All yours for £17.5 million.
Winner among large developers (producing more than 100 units a year): Ebury Square, Belgravia, SW1 — by Berkeley Homes
This redevelopment of a dowdy police tenement block has brought 71 swish apartments to an improving patch on the Belgravia-Pimlico border. Classic-contemporary architecture gives a nod to nearby Eaton Square, while the grand entrance lobby with original artworks has the feel of an exclusive hotel. Interior design is sumptuous yet tasteful and amenities for residents include 24-hour concierge, leisure complex and underground parking.
BEST LONDON HOME
Winner: Penthouses at The Filaments, Wandsworth, SW18 — by Mount Anvil
Once a light bulb factory, The Filaments puts other Wandsworth housing schemes in the shade. It is a new town centre hub — seven buildings with 416 homes and low-cost premises for local small businesses such as accountants, internet entrepreneurs, lawyers, architects and designers who want to be able to walk or cycle to work.
Duplex penthouses at the top of a 15-storey tower clad in anodised aluminium and copper have glamorous open-plan interiors — black-gloss kitchen, walnut staircase, double-height windows — and huge terraces offering panoramic views. Prices from £1,275,000. Call 0845 077 9770.
BEST OUT-OF-LONDON HOME
Winner: The Yeoman, Guildford — as before
BEST REGENERATION PROJECT
Winner: Parkside, Oval Quarter, SW9 — by Oval Quarter Developments
Despite continuing problems with landline and wifi connectivity, the two-bedroom flats at this Zone 2 scheme priced from £499,000 have struck a chord, and not just with our judges. Young singles and couples, keen to stay in the capital rather than commute, have been snapping them up .
A Seventies council estate has been bulldozed to make way for this new neighbourhood, being built according to “garden city” design principles, with low-rise blocks and lots of open space. There are 808 new flats and houses, allotments and one of London’s largest new parks, which incorporates a showpiece community centre. Call 020 7582 7288.
Winner: Virido Concept House, Trumpington, Cambridge — by developer Hill and architect Pollard Thomas Edwards
The lucky Rayner family are living rent-free for a year in this low-energy, hi-tech concept house at a new “settlement” of homes, schools, shops and community facilities on former green belt land south of Cambridge city centre.
Called Virido — Latin for “going green” — the zero-carbon home has been built according to Passivhaus principles, a German system that dramatically reduces energy demand. Lorna and Dave Rayner, whose children are Harry and Ebony, expect to pay less than £250 a year in energy bills.
They are blogging about their experience — visit be-zero.co.uk — while academics at Leeds Beckett University are monitoring the home’s performance and keeping tabs on the family’s health and wellbeing.
“Last winter we were so warm we were surprised to see snow outside,” says Lorna. “We have always tried to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, while being realistic about what we can cut from our lives.
“It is great to live in a house that isn’t wasteful of energy. Sunshine pours in through the numerous large windows and the design of the property and garden means you really feel a connection with the outside.”
Green housing is not just about double glazing and combination boilers, it is about how properties fit into the local environment and promote responsible ecology. The success of Virido has paved the way for 208 homes, half of which will be managed by the local council. The others will go on sale later this year. As well as brimming with green design, the homes are architecturally pleasing, clad in brick and timber, with an open-plan layout.
Solar panels and sedum roofs with plants help to retain rainwater and attract insects and birds.
BEST DEVELOPMENT IN AFFORDABLE HOMES SECTOR
Winner: Thames View East, Barking — by Pollard Thomas Edwards & Hill
Unpopular council tower blocks in Barking have been replaced by houses with bay windows, their front doors opening on to pedestrian-friendly streets, along with newly landscaped open space, establishing a genuine sense of community right from the start.
The scheme of 276 local authority homes also made use of an innovative finance model — an overseas investment fund that pays for new council homes on council-owned land.
BEST SMALL DEVELOPMENT
Winner among small-scale developers: Piano Yard, Kentish Town, NW5 — by London Buildings
On a former piano warehouse site, this mews-style terrace of new homes is inspired by the architecture of the New Orleans French Quarter, which is characterised by decorative metalwork balustrading and balconies.
An elevated walkway above a quirky communal courtyard garden links the two sides of the mews. Internally, the design emphasis is on light and volume, with floor-to-ceiling factory windows and doors, plus simple retro finishes. Priced from £775,000, the homes were quickly snapped up. Coming soon is another niche project — nine Scandi-style houses in Maida Vale. Call Pilcher Hershman on 020 7399 8600.
Winner among larger-scale developers: The Annie McCall, Lambeth, SW4 — by Henley Homes
At this Victorian maternity hospital, closed 30 years ago, loft-style flats have been created in the listed buildings, while new artists’ studios and a lodge have been built in the grounds. Prices from £590,000. Call 020 7740 2640.
BEST LARGE DEVELOPMENT
Winner: Orchard Gate, East Malling, Kent — by Millwood Designer Homes
Redundant horticultural research laboratories dating back to the Twenties have been given a new lease of life with this tasteful development, built with reclaimed materials to give the sense that the homes have grown organically over time.
“This is one of those rare moments when we can play a part in creating a new hamlet in the heart of the Kent countryside and ensure the future productivity of the surrounding orchards and fruit farms,” says Jeff Elliott, deputy managing director of Millwood, which has joined forces with a charitable trust to revive the site.
Millwood’s design inspiration is 17th-century timber-framed yeoman farmhouses. At Orchard Gate, terrace and detached houses with allotments cost from £330,000. Call 01732 448270.
A share in the future
Oval Quarter, named as our Best Regeneration Project, appealed to Francesco Lisotto, 29, above, a retail manager for John Lewis Partnership, who bought a £375,000 two-bedroom apartment in the first phase “because it was an opportunity to buy early into a fast-improving area”. Previously he rented in Streatham.
He went down the shared-ownership route, putting down a deposit of £7,500 and buying a 40 per cent share. His monthly outgoings on mortgage, rent and service charge are £1,500.