Sunday, 17 December 2017

Top-floor flats have come right out of the top drawer

Top-floor flats have come right out of the top drawer

When developer Chesterton Commercial bought 15 Bell Street, they had more than the average conversion in mind. LUCY BOON found out how they did it

NUMBER 15 Bell Street may be the address of stationers Paperchase, but it’s also home to three newly finished top floor apartments.

Forged from a 18th century townhouse, the flats share a street entrance and hall staircase. Inside, however, you’ll find that each one is individually designed with a compelling layout.

Each one includes two bathrooms and two bedrooms, as well as living room, kitchen and “garden” — and this is all down to an excellent use of space.

There are cupboards built into walls where possible, and private roof terraces which are not overlooked by each other.

“This conversion demanded something special, worthy of its Bell Street location,” said project manager Oliver Bryant, who worked on the project for nine months, aiming to achieve something “better” than the average conversion.

“The building already had the benefit of planning consent for the conversions, and this allowed us to bring these quality flats to the market swiftly. All the flats have their merits, whether it be layout, privacy, roof terraces or size.”

It’s Oliver we can thank for the rain shower bathrooms, AEG kitchens and CAT 5 internet cabling, as well as individual thermostats for each room.

Oliver said he wanted to create something appealing to young couples/families and professionals looking to live in something a bit more head-turning than the average centrally located rental.

And with the government highlighting urban development as one of the main ways it plans to target the UK’s “broken” housing market, these flats are right on the money.

“The flats are hidden away, in a fantastic location, offering ample accommodation and private roof terraces,” said Oliver. All three flats have a crisp, clean palette in neutral dove grey and chalk white, set against oak floors and nude carpets.

Flat one has the most internal space, with two reception rooms — one of which looks out on to the buzz of Bell Street. There are also two separate ways to access the private roof garden, which is the second largest of the three, and is also the most secluded.

The bedrooms and bathrooms are also properly tucked away from the living room — all of which made Standard Property think this would best suit a family.

Flat two, on the other hand would probably best suit professionals or those wanting a buy-to-let. It has the smallest living room, and the bedrooms sit either side of the main living space. The kitchen is also not open-plan, which is a good thing if you’ve got people cooking at different times.

However, although this flat has the least internal space, the roof garden essentially doubles the liveable space in warmer weather. Yes, it’s flat two that has been given the biggest wow-factor feature with its James Bond-style mechanised roof door.

A Simon RIWA skylight opens at the touch of a button, revealing the roof garden with outstanding views of the town and hills. It’s only when you stand here that you realise just how close you are to everything (Waitrose is your “corner shop”).

And living at this address will become more and more desirable, with the forthcoming Market Place Mews development just behind it.

Market Place Mews will offer a high quality mixed development of 16,608 sq ft (1,543 sq m) of new retail and restaurant space in a mews style, for which planning consent has been achieved. The council has said the development should not result in the loss of any existing car parking spaces.

Flat three’s roof garden has a lovely view of Henley. Smaller than the other roof gardens, this could make a lovely summer oasis.

Probably best suited to couples/professionals, flat three will most of all benefit from the revamped Market Place Mews at the rear.

In fact, the kitchen/living room has even been given double French doors opening onto a Juliette balcony to make the most of the buzz.

The other advantage of flat three is its master suite with dressing room, plus extra storage thanks to attic space. There is also space for bikes/wellies/bins in the private alley that leads to your front door.

Certainly Standard Property wasn’t the only one blown away by these brand new apartments. Emily Holloway at Ballards in Hart Street, which is the dual agency with Savills, said: “We put them on the market on the Friday morning and by Saturday evening Ballards had sold them all!”

Sorry Henley, you’ll have to wait for Chesterton Commercial to start their next project if you want to buy a piece of their expertise.

Oliver said: “We are currently building a charming pair of semi-detached cottages in Nettlebed and also four quality apartments in Windsor town centre right opposite the castle.”

To register your interest, call Ballards on (01491) 411055.

At a glance...

FLATS 1-3, 15 BELL STREET, HENLEY

l Reception rooms: Flats 2 and 3 have one reception room each; Flat 1 has two reception rooms

l Bedrooms: two doubles

l Bathrooms: two

l Other: shared entrance from Bell Street, intercoms, post boxes, private roof gardens, head-turning design, qualify for residential parking (approximately £60 for the year)

l Space: flat one is 81 sq m / 881 sq ft; flat two is 57 sq m / 819 sq ft; flat three is 70 sq m / 754 sq ft

Guide prices: £425,000 to £475,000

Agency: Ballards on (01491) 411055

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