Posts filed under ‘Architecture & Design’

The bigger, better bathroom

Twenty years ago a bathroom was considered a functional room in the family home – necessary but not a priority. All that has changed: these days we spend more time in, and money on, our bathrooms. They are bigger – one developer reports that the size of their bathrooms has increased by 20-25 per cent in the past five years – and there isn’t a hint of avocado in the colour scheme. They help sell homes.

Cloncurry Street, London, SW6 for sale through John D Wood & Co.  Bath

There is also an increasing range of techno gadgetry to employ in today’s modern bathroom: underfloor heating keeps the tootsies warm, while fixed speakers in the ceiling allow you to listen to music while soaking in the tub with the lights dimmed. As we’re working longer hours, often in more stressful conditions, our bathrooms have become more indulgent.

Bucharest Road, London SW18 for sale through John D Wood & Co.bathroom

“When I started as an agent, bathrooms and kitchens were not as important as they are now,” says Rollo Miles, manager of the Ladbroke Grove office of John D Wood. “About 12 to 15 years ago all this changed. Out went the plastic bathroom suits and in came what I call the ‘designer spaces’.”

At the very top end of the market, statement bathrooms now resemble mini spas, sanctuaries where stress is soothed away. These designs are imitations of what is being experienced in five-star hotels: the size of living rooms, they come with rainfall showers, hot tubs and large plasma screens.

Bolton Road, Chiswick, W4 master bathroom for sale through John D Wood & Co. jpg

Barton Wyatt agency is currently selling a Wentworth home featuring gadgetry that allows you to start a bath and set the temperature from your iPhone, meaning you can hop on the train after work and jump straight into a steaming hot bath. Showers are also appearing with lights that turn on when the water has reached a pre-set temperature, like an oven. Guy Shaw of the Oxford Branch of John D Wood reports visiting one bathroom recently that had two pre-set temperature settings: one for the wife and one for the husband. The sign of a very precise couple indeed.

March 3, 2013 at 8:07 PM 2 comments

Spot the Celeb Pad

Guess the Celebrity

Who rubs their country neighbours up the wrong way? Who is having trouble offloading their “tart’s boudoir”? The rich and famous have the luxury of owning some of Britain’s most beautiful and historic homes.  Scroll through the properties in our gallery of celebrity pads and match the faces with the places. Leave us a comment below if you think you know the answers!

Open gallery


February 28, 2013 at 4:04 PM Leave a comment

Yo! Is this the home of the future?

“For sale – an eighty sq m apartment with a drop-down master bedroom suite, wall mounted desk-cum-spare bed, sunken sitting room, pop-down cinema, dining room hidden in the floor, a kitchen-in-a-cupboard and a wine cellar in the floor. Must be seen to be believed.”

That’s how the latest launch by Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe (pictured, below) might be described on Zoopla in coming decades if the hotel and restaurant millionaire can get his tardis-like housing idea off the ground.

Launched last week at interiors show 100% Design in London, Woodroffe has drawn on Japan’s tradition of flexible living spaces  to create a two-bed 320 sq metre house within the footprint of a small one-bedroom flat using space saving technology taken from yachts, cars and stage scenery.

To prove his point an apartment featuring all of his ideas, which he’s called Yo! Home, was built at the show and seen by 100% Design’s 25,000 visitors.

So how does it work? The bedroom suite drops down to hide a sunken lounge (so beware leaving your cat or partner asleep on the sofa when turning in for the night), a dining suite which rises out of the floor, a kitchen within a cupboard and a spare bed that doubles as a desk.

But, while few ideas like this make it into bricks and mortar, Woodroffe has a track record of turning his brainwaves into multi-million pound businesses including his Yo! Shushi restaurants and Yotel chain – so perhaps that estate agent description isn’t so far off as we might think. No concrete plans, ahem, have been revealed for when the first Yo! Home properties will be available, but it’s likely to be apartments built within an existing development, rather than Woodroffe building a block of his own Yo! Homes.

The kitchen within the Yo! Home – now you see it…

…now you don’t as it disappears behind a wall of cupboards.

The Yo! Home featured at 100% Design included a wine cellar that pops up from the floor.

October 4, 2012 at 1:26 PM Leave a comment

Meet Central Square – the development that’s selling cool

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Cool stuff sells, especially when there’s not too much of it available. That’s one of the lessons of Mount Anvil’s chic Central Square development in hip and happening Clerkenwell, EC1.

A room with a view: The city skyline as seen from the penthouse balcony at Central Square

There are just 35 apartments left for sale out of a total of 170 and it’s not difficult to understand why.

Firstly, Mount Anvil has been smart about the marketing – they’ve released the apartments in stages to keep the tension between supply and demand. There’s also a massive shortage of homes in this part of central London and a lot of people who want to live here.

Clean and cool: Central Square’s penthouse apartment

That’s all because Central Square’s allure straddles two worlds – the creative coolness of Clerkenwell and the money of the The City. It’s just a 12 minute trot to the heart of St Paul’s and residents can be at Bank in under 20. Stroll in the other direction and they’ll be sucking on Coronas at the hip bars of Exmouth Market or tucking into the latest fusion cuisine at the agenda-setting restaurant The Modern Pantry in under ten minutes.

Manicured lawns: The internal communal garden at Central Square

There’s no doubt the scheme has been incredibly successful – possibly the fastest selling central London development of the year. Brian De’ath, Mount Anvil sales director, says about 60% of those who’ve already handed over their cash for a slice of Central Square are owner occupiers, 35% are investors and 5% will use their bolthole as a pied-a-terre.

There’s a big overseas contingent too – De’ath says about 15% of buyers are non-domiciled in the UK, while a large proportion of buyers who are UK based also originally hail from abroad. Add to this a small, but significant, number of downsizers who’ve bought into the scheme – presumably attracted by the shiny newness of it all.

Every apartment has a balcony at Central Square

After all, this is a classic Mount Anvil development: it’s got super duper quality kitchens and bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows, every apartment has a balcony or outdoor space, the communal gardens are manicured and inviting, plus there’s a 24 hour concierge and underground parking.

There are also knock-out panoramic views of the City from the new three-bedroom interior-designed penthouse, which went on the market yesterday for £2 million.

And that’s the other side to this development – the distinct lack of first-time buyers. But with two bedroom apartments starting at £610,000 it’s a simple case of price point exclusion and Mount Anvil are the first to admit their target market isn’t the scrimping and saving first-timers, who are so well served by other developers further east and north. Having said that, there are 104 affordable homes available through the One Housing Group

Of course, if you do have a spare couple of million pounds kicking around, you could do a lot worse than the penthouse. Although those that are easily distracted should be warned – you may never tear yourself away from that view.

May 24, 2012 at 2:54 PM 1 comment

Britain to get first floating amphibious home

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

It sounds more science fiction than bricks and mortar, but Britain is to get its first ever floating home after planning permission was granted to a house that rises with flood waters.

The amphibious home – to be set just 10m from the water’s edge – is to be built on an island on the banks of the Thames close to Marlow in Buckinghamshire. It’s considered a major breakthrough for architects and designers who have been trying to find ways to mitigate the risk and damage of water in flood-prone areas.

Diagram showing the amphibious house when the Thames is at a regular height …

The modern 225 sq ft home, designed by London-based Baca Architects, will rest on fixed foundations but whenever a flood occurs the entire building will rise up in its dock and float, buoyed by the floodwater.

Diagram showing the amphibious house if flood waters rise

While the house will be a modern, highly-insulated, low energy building, including large high-performance windows, the architects have ensured that it is also sympathetic to the Conservation Area in which it is set. It will have pitched roofs and a chimney to complement the irregular roofline of neighbouring homes and an overall footprint that is no larger than the existing property.

How the amphibious home will look on the Thames

The garden will act as a natural early warning flood system, with terraces set at different levels designed to flood incrementally and alert the occupants well before the water reaches a threatening level.

And it looks good from the inside too

“The planning process obviously took a bit more time than some applications, involving our team in extensive consultations and cooperation with the local authority,” said Richard Coutts, director of Baca Architects. “From the outset of the design process we sought expert advice from the Environment Agency to determine the most appropriate construction model to mitigate flood risk on the site; and provide a safe dwelling, sympathetic to its setting, and fit for the challenges of the 21st Century.”

As you’d expect, building an amphibious home isn’t for the financially wet – the architects say it currently costs around 20% to 25% more than a similar sized house.

Watch a CGI of what happens to the home when flooding occurs

February 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM 1 comment

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The Zoopla property blog is maintained and edited by the Web Content Editor @ Zoopla Property Group Ltd Myra Butterworth.


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