Large apartments in an old Victorian bakery near Battersea Park
Large lateral apartments in an old Victorian bakery moments from Battersea Park are attracting émigré Americans from Belgravia.
Behind the original low-rise façade of Parkgate House are modern open-plan spaces with frameless floor-to-ceiling glazing and zinc-clad walls, underfloor heating and oak floors. All have terraces and courtyard parking. Sizes range from 1,759sq ft to 4,800sq ft. Prices start a t £1.9 million. Call 020 7720 8077.
This patch, between Albert and Battersea bridges, has evolved into a trendy residential district, with a cluster of creative-sector companies newly arrived and a Royal College of Art campus.
"Americans, previously absent from Battersea, are putting down roots in the area ahead of the opening of the new US embassy at Nine Elms," explains Mark Hutton of estate agent Douglas & Gordon.
A big draw for buyers is the river hugging Battersea Park, a 200-acre oasis with an art gallery, children's zoo, lake, running track, tennis courts and the splendid landmark of the Peace Pagoda.
41 apartments in a former town hall in Bermondsey
Bermondsey Spa's deep cleanse continues with the launch of Bath House Lofts — 41 apartments in the listed Twenties former town hall (a bath house was in an annexe) at the heart of the 50-acre area near Tower Bridge. Behind the Corinthian columned façade is a magnificent communal lobby with sweeping staircase, triple-height ceilings, marble floors and domed roof. Apartments retain some of this scale and character and include impressive open mezzanine levels.
The once-derelict district has undergone a remarkable turnaround. During the heyday of the docks, it was a flourishing commercial zone, but was later ravaged by the Blitz and remained blighted until a decade ago when Southwark council and Hyde Housing Association devised a masterplan to reinstate the old neighbourhood.
Railway viaducts have been refurbished and new apartment blocks now surround splendid St James Church, built in 1829 as a monument to soldiers killed in the Battle of Waterloo. Prices from £320,000. Call Daniel Cobb estate agent on 020 7357 0026.
Hammersmith's former nurses accommodation turned into new homes
Hammersmith is a convenient place to live if Heathrow and the West End loom large in your life. Ravenscourt Park is a leafy corner of the area, with charming Regency and Victorian villas plus a pretty square that opens on to the park. Here too is the former Royal Masonic Hospital nurses' accommodation, a handsome listed Thirties building which developer Linden is refurbishing into 68 homes.
A rooftop extension maintains the red-brick building's fine symmetry, while an underground car park and a formal garden are being created behind the lodge-style concierge entrance. It could be a film set for Agatha Christie's Poirot.
The stand-out home is The Elford, a splendid 1,500sq ft period-piece whose elegant pavilion-like architecture features glazed end walls, porthole windows and a rare Art Deco fireplace. Called Ashlar Court, prices start at £750,000 for two-bedroom apartments. Call Savills on 020 7499 8644.
New homes in Ashingdon, Essex with rooms to discourage children's use of technology
Oddly, family houses often ignore the needs of children, with room layouts and interior design geared towards their parents.
At The Paddocks in Ashingdon, Essex, developer Bellway has seized on research linking lower reading scores among youngsters with their ownership of smart phones, computers, TVs and DVD players. It has created bedrooms intended to discourage children's use of technology.
Ed O'Donnell, the designer behind the project, says: "The more time children spend in front of a screen, the later their bedtime. Our aim is to release the inner child by making the bedroom a fun and inspiring place where their imagination can run wild."
Perhaps showing rather less imagination that the rooms are intended to inspire, the boys' room has an American log cabin theme to "provoke a sense of adventure", while the girls' bedroom is covered in pink pony prints and a mural of farm animals.
The girls' room also has twin beds to encourage the idea of "sisters or best friends staying in the same room, entertaining each other with stories" rather than solitary computing. The four-bedroom houses are from £414,995. Call 01702 544287.