London Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2017: high-tech designs, luxe interiors and eco-friendly features scoop top prizes

The winning homes from this year's awards range from family homes to sky-high penthouses, featuring smart tech and eco-friendly ideas to create fabulous bases for city workers...

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Our 2017 New Homes Awards champion excellence across the housing spectrum — from compact starter flats and flexible family homes to fantastic factory lofts and swish new mansions.

Judged by readers from a carefully selected shortlist, this year’s winners were impressive for their thoughtful, space-creative interiors with more than a touch of glamour; their easy-living technology, eco-friendly features and creative use of private outdoor space. 

Winner: Fitzroy Gate, Isleworth TW7

Developer (small scale): Beechcroft

Georgian grandees built their country mansions along the rural upstream reaches of the Thames, and a rare one survives at Fitzroy Gate, a seven-acre walled estate with private parkland running down to the riverbank and a large wooded island.

Commissioned by a royal chaplain, the stately home later became a convent and is now a splendid new address, with grand apartments in the listed white stucco mansion, mews cottages created from an original stable block and four triplex houses in a converted Edwardian chapel. One of the chapel homes even has an original choir gallery, now a mezzanine bedroom with arched stone window surrounds and stained glass.

New-build additions, including a crescent of family townhouses, have been thoughtfully combined with the meticulous restoration. It feels like a sanctuary. An ornamental lake with swans is part of new flood defences, and residents have fob access through gates to the upgraded Thames Path.

Best Conversion: The Chapel, St Joseph’s Gate

Winner: The Chapel, St Joseph’s Gate, Mill Hill NW7
Developer (large scale): Berkeley Homes

Absolutely divine. Most church conversions sub-divide the interior to create numerous rooms or even separate homes, but this spectacular renovation preserves the original architecture in all its glory, with its central nave forming a dramatic open-plan space with a 45ft-high vaulted timber ceiling.

St Joseph’s Gate is a listed former seminary that looms into view as you head north out of London. Standing in seven acres of landscaped grounds, the college buildings were used as a film set for BBC drama Call the Midwife and have been converted into 49 flats dripping with original features.

The 8,000sq ft Chapel residence has 15 stained-glass windows, granite pillars, a rotunda and orangery. A newly formed cube, used as a master bedroom suite, is an impressive architectural intervention. Price, £6 million.

Winner: Penthouse at Gladstone House, 190 Strand, WC2

Developer: St Edward

These 216 apartments - the first new homes project on Strand for more than a century - provide a welcome new look for a two-acre site previously occupied by drab Sixties office blocks.

GRID Architects took its cue from grand classical buildings around the site for its robust yet intricate design. The Portland stone façade and mansard roofs with metalwork filigree panels tie in with a streetscape that includes St Clement Danes Church, former BBC World Service HQ Bush House, and the Australian High Commission.

Sumptuous Art Deco-style interior design, inspired by the nearby Savoy hotel, is bold yet tasteful, with coffered ceilings, bespoke joinery and marble and polished nickel finishes.

Our winning flat occupies an entire floor - 3,649sq ft of space including a fabulous 920sq ft dual-aspect living room with floor-to-ceiling glass. There’s also a vast 1,884sq ft wraparound terrace with views across the Thames.

The grand entrance lobby is staffed by a concierge, there are basement storage rooms, underground parking, spa, private cinema and virtual golf. Prices match the glitz. One remaining penthouse is for sale at £9,395,000.

Winner: Hurlingham, Gregories Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
Developer (small scale): Oakeve Ltd

Prosperous Beaconsfield has a dual personality — a genteel old town that grew at the crossroads of the coaching routes to Windsor and Oxford, and a new town dating from the arrival of the railway in the Twenties. With a 30-minute commute to Marylebone, it’s perfect for people who want to be in the country without feeling remote. This tasteful Arts & Crafts-inspired mansion with a grand entrance on a prestige road has nearly 10,000sq ft of well-proportioned, lavishly designed space with user-friendly “smart” technology and all the modern creature comforts, including a cinema room.

Winner: The Iron Foundry, Lower Guinea Street, Bristol 

Developer (large scale): City & Country

Part of the Bristol General Hospital redevelopment, this daringly stylish modern apartment block is a superb architectural counterpoint to the Edwardian Baroque style of the retained original buildings, being turned into characterful homes by heritage specialist City & Country.

Sixteen flats with full-height glass walls sit behind a grid frame of dark steel and bronze panels providing sheltered outside spaces with views across a boat basin. Prices from £745,000.

Dollar Bay: home/development of outstanding architectural merit

Winner: Dollar Bay, Isle of Dogs E14

Developers: Mount Anvil and Citystyle Homes
Architect: SimpsonHaugh & Partners

This elegant slender tower close to Canary Wharf has been designed to emulate two glass crystals joined in the middle and perfectly balanced at the end of a dock, floating between the water and the sky. The join in between takes the form of a glazed shadow gap, offering ventilation and light to internal areas. “It feels like a flow of lava between two powerful and statuesque pillars of crystal, giving the impression that each block is pulling away from the other creating a dynamic that reinforces the idea that each block is different,” says architect Ian Simpson.

Rising to 31 storeys, the tower has 125 homes, each with a winter garden protected from the elements by mechanical louvre windows. A spectacular 4,000sq ft four-storey penthouse with sky garden crowns the building. Only a handful of flats remain for sale.

Winner: London City Island, Canning Town E14
Developer: Ecoworld Ballymore

For many years edgy Canning Town languished outside the property market, a rough, working-class district where housebuilders feared to tread, and which was boycotted by courier firms. Few would have believed it would one day be home to the English National Ballet company and The London Film School, but both organisations are moving to dazzling new headquarters at London City Island, a “mini Manhattan” being built in a loop of the River Lea as it joins the Thames. 

The 12-acre site, once an industrial eyesore, is on its way to becoming a buzzing waterside district, with more than 1,700 homes in vibrant-coloured apartment blocks plus boutiques, cafés, delis and restaurants, an arts club, lush gardens, an exotic outdoor swimming pool, and small parks and squares.

Ringed by roaring dual carriageways, it could hardly be a more urban setting. As an island, it is a self-contained address, but a very accessible one, boosted by a striking new “cat’s cradle” pedestrian bridge to Canning Town Tube and bus station, one of the capital’s best transport hubs. Flats cost from £399,950.

Winner: Virido, Great Kneighton, Cambridge
Developer: Hill

Latin for “going green”, Virido is part of a new settlement of homes, schools, shops and community facilities on former green belt land south of Cambridge city centre.

The zero-carbon homes are built to Passivhaus principles that slash energy demand. As well as brimming with green design, the homes are architecturally good-looking, forming “quads” of low-rise houses clad in brick and thermo-timber, with an open-plan layout. Sunshine pours in through large triple-glazed windows, while solar panels and sedum roofs retain rainwater and attract insects and birds.

The homes weave into the local environment and promote ecology by opening on to a nature reserve, ponds, shared compost areas and veg gardens. Prices from £370,000 to £700,000.

Best first-time buy: Clock House Gardens

Winner: Clock House Gardens, Welwyn, Hertfordshire
Developer: Stockwool and Developing London

Herts is trumps for commuters, and with prices from £140,000 to £270,000, this scheme of 50 affordable homes has proved a hit with design-conscious first-time buyers. Low-rise cube-shaped blocks clad in brick and timber and with sedum roofs border dense woodland on one side and the roaring A1M on the other, but noise and pollution are minimised by the architecture and clever landscaping, which exploit the natural contours of the site.

Winner: City Wharf, Islington Developer: Fabrica

If you want a central waterside home but cannot afford an address overlooking the Thames, your next best option is an inner-city canal basin. Walk along the Regent’s Canal towpath west from Limehouse and eventually you will get to Wenlock Basin, right on the cusp of Hackney and Islington boroughs, where wharves and factory premises are making way for smart new flats.

City Wharf comprises a contextual group of warehouse-type apartment blocks clad in “rusty” Corten steel, glazed brick and oak and with communal roof terraces and courtyard gardens right on the water’s edge. The 327 flats were designed with young metro types in mind. 

Kitchens have a wine fridge as standard and there is basement storage for 300 bikes.

Winner: Aria House, Craven Street,  Charing Cross WC2

Developer (small scale): Moreno Masey

This ambitious architectural project used redundant “air space” above the listed Playhouse Theatre on Victoria Embankment to create a stunning duplex with uninterrupted river views from St Paul’s Cathedral to Big Ben.

A double-storey steel frame replaces ugly plant rooms. Clad in traditional slate and leadwork, the flat wraps around the theatre’s ventilation tower and has extensive terracing. Noise from Charing Cross station is minimised with super-acoustic insulation and motorised screens on to the terraces.


Best apartment: The Chilterns, Marylebone

Winner: The Chilterns, Marylebone W1

Developer (large scale): Galliard Homes

A multi-storey car park made way for this dazzling development of 44 homes that has brought a new level of opulence to Marylebone. 

The architecture of vertical textures and colours emulates old-style vinyl records on shelves and was inspired by the Beatles’ Apple Boutique, once a few yards away. Its chic entrance lobby doubles as an art gallery, with exclusive specially commissioned David Bailey photographs, while below is a wine cave. The winning three-bedroom home is a 2,640sq ft lateral flat with marble-lined bathrooms and a bespoke kitchen. Prices from £3.5 million.

Winner: Langdale House,  Roehampton Gate

Developer (small scale): Richstone Properties

On a precious plot bordering Richmond Park, local builder Richstone created one large home of 8,500sq ft over four levels, with terrific lateral spaces to suit modern family lifestyles. The standout feature is a 1,000sq ft open-plan kitchen/dining/living space with a wall of glass that invites the garden in. Bespoke finishes include an elliptical walnut staircase and a hand-built, temperature-controlled wooden wine cellar. At 880sq ft, the master bedroom suite is bigger than most two-bedroom flats.

The house also incorporates a garage, self-contained flat, gym and cinema room. The quarter-acre garden with mature planting and lawns has its own irrigation system. Price, £7.5 million.

Winner: Penthouse at Abell & Cleland, John Islip Street, Westminster 

Developer (large scale): Berkeley Homes

Millbank is a bit of a residential secret — a quiet pocket of London, with a well-kept mix of private, council and charitable housing and a growing number of swish new apartment blocks enticing buyers from pricier Mayfair and Belgravia. Abell & Cleland, the redevelopment of two former ministry buildings, offers 277 flats overlooking lush gardens. The showpiece penthouse of 2,894sq ft over two floors has four bedroom suites, a glass-walled living space and terrace with river views. Price, £8.5 million.


Best family home: Merchant Terrace

BEST FAMILY HOME (over £1.5 million)
Winner: Merchant Terrace, Hammersmith W6

Developer (small scale): Fruition Properties

St Peter’s Square is a coveted Hammersmith address, a conservation area where Merchant Terrace slots in, with eight handsome in-keeping townhouses, each with a flexible internal layout. Over six levels, united by an elliptical staircase, there is separate access to the house from an underground parking space. An open-plan family room on the ground floor opens on to a courtyard, while above is the main living area and a raised garden. A secluded roof terrace is the third outdoor space. 

BEST FAMILY HOME (over £1.5 million)
Winner: The Kensington, Chigwell, Essex

Developer (large scale): London Square

London Square uses traditional garden square architecture as a template. At Chigwell, houses are laid out around three separate but linked village greens. The heritage-style homes have modern family-friendly interiors including a big open-plan kitchen/diner/lounge. The Kensington is a classic detached house with 3,122sq ft of space, private driveway, garage and garden in a gated estate.

BEST FAMILY HOME (£750,000-£1.5 million)
Winner: Danny Lodge, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex

Developer: Matt Architecture

Danny Lodge, a contemporary version of the traditional Sussex barn, is four times the size of the Victorian cottage it adjoins near the South Downs National Park. The two buildings are connected by a glazed walkway, while the barn’s black zinc cladding and large windows are design nods to the agricultural land surrounding it. Extended by more than 4,000sq ft, the enlarged home combines wow factor with practicality.


BEST FAMILY HOME  (up to £750,000)
Winner: Preston Grange, Canterbury

Developer: David Wilson Homes

Now that high-speed trains have put the charming cathedral city of Canterbury within an hour’s commute of St Pancras, affordable nearby villages in the Kent Downs are finding favour with London workers. Preston Grange is a development of 70 well-priced homes built in classic Kentish style, with clay tiles, weatherboarding and brick.


Best affordable homes project: Upton Village, E13

Winner: Upton Village, Plaistow E13 

Developer: Peabody

For this mixed-tenure project of 168 homes including family townhouses at former Plaistow Hospital in east London, five historic buildings were kept and mixed with new-build blocks with shared roof gardens. Over half of the homes are “affordable”, either for rent or shared ownership.

Winner: Old Clockhouse Green, Challock, Kent

Developer (small scale): Cox Developments

This new hamlet of six homes is on a former orchard site, part of a historic fruit farm owned by the developer, who created a timeless cluster of properties that appears to have been part of the landscape for many decades, achieved through the use of reclaimed materials, handmade picket fences and the planting of 1,100 trees and hedge shrubs.

Winner: New Ground Co-housing, Barnet EN5

Developer (large scale): Hanover Housing Association

A refreshing and uplifting scheme of 25 flats for female “seniors”, part of a housing co-operative in Barnet.

With 75 per cent of pensioners in the borough living in three- or four-bedroom houses, architect Pollard Thomas Edwards worked with the group to design bespoke accommodation serving residents’ needs. The result is a T-shaped site layout focusing on shared facilities and communal gardens that gives every home a pleasant view and direct sunlight. Self-contained and compact, the homes still have enough room for guests or children to stay.

Winner: London City Island
Developer: Ecoworld Ballymore

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