Outdoor kitchens? Smoking!

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 23.37.33Eating outside is one of the best things about summer – if it’s ever warm enough – but increasingly, now it’s also about cooking outside, too. Hot on the heels of the “outdoor room” with its lounge-style furniture, outdoor cushions and twinkling lanterns, comes the outdoor kitchen – not just a barbecue, but stoves, grills, ovens and even sinks, all specifically designed for your garden. Maybe global warming isn’t all bad, after all?

Waters-Cooking-Station-Lynx-Grill-UNI-Estate-Wall-Granite-Colour-Granite-Counter-Top-7

California Grill
It’s no surprise that Orange County is the spiritual home of al fresco eating, with its year-round warmth. California brand Lynx design bespoke outdoor kitchens tat include five different sized grills, burners, griddle plates, smoker boxes and warming drawers, as well as cocktail stations (of course!), outdoor fridges and ice machines, and worktops, tailored to your space and lifestyle.
The original California Grill, that Lynx has been producing for 30 years, offers professional cooking and grilling for your garden.
Prices from £2860, 01275 343 000, www.lynx-grills.co.uk

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 23.46.42Morso outdoor fireplace
Combining Danish design with clean, cast-iron lines, this stylish outdoor stove is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at al fresco dinner parties. It functions both as a warming outdoor fireplace and also as an outdoor Tuscan Grill for perfect barbecued food. The fire itself can be turned according to the wind direction, while the tall chimney means your clothes won’t smell of camp-fire smoke in the way that fire pits do.
Morso Kamino fire £999 and Tuscan grill £90, www.morsoliving.co.uk

esse-fire-stone-optional-side-shelves-and-stand-450x450Esse Fire Stone
This British-made, steel, cast-iron and brick, wood-fired oven is a heavy-duty piece of kit, cooking at temperatures up to 550c, but it also looks good enough to adorn even the most glamorous patio or deck. It cooks pizzas in just two minutes, but you can also use it for baking, roasting, braising and char-grilling.
In fact, Esse – who have been making stoves since 1854 – asked two Michelin-starred chefs and River Cottage’s Gill Meller to test it out before they launched, so there’s no excuse for burning the burgers. £1800, www.esse.com

Perfect Garden Private View Event, The Manor House, Ayot St Lawrence.

Gaze Burvill
After years of clients asking for bespoke outdoor kitchens, Gaze Burvill launched its modular A la Carte kitchen range two years ago, and sales are soaring, despite a starting price of more than £2,000. Four different cabinets contain a sink, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances (a favourite oven with top chefs, including Aldo Zilli), a fridge and a warming drawer – which, as all Bake Off fans will know, is essential for proving your bread dough. www.gazeburvill.com

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 23.52.48Morso Forno
This futuristic outdoor oven is a thing of Scandinavian beauty – and it cooks a mean supper, too. Inside, the wide, low-ceilinged oven is shaped like an Italian stone oven and has plenty of space to push the firewood aside when it comes to cooking.
On the stone you can bake bread, pizza or slow-cook joints of meat. Add the Tuscan Grill into the oven and you can chargrill steaks and veggies.
Morso forno, £1,620 (small £895), www.woodburners.co.uk

Outdoor-GrillBig Green Egg
Yes, it looks like a huge hand grenade but this dome-lidded clay oven is actually a kamado – a Japanese stove where you can cook on direct heat, or indirectly using the deflector. You can also adjust the heat from 400c to 100c by releasing heat through a vent in the lid.
Think of it as an outdoor Aga, perfect for slow-cooking and roasting, but also for searing and crisping pizzas – serious al fresco chefs will love it.
From £750, www.johnlewis.com

Outdoor-Kitchen-cassandra2Fire Magic
Create a fully-designed outdoor kitchen around seriously smart barbecues, incorporating sinks, fridges, grills, ovens and worktops – they can even build an enclosure around it to compensate for the British summer.
The stainless steel, American-made Aurora A430 barbecue (it feels demeaning to even call it a barbecue) comes with four burners, a rotisserie kit and a back burner as well as a built-in digital thermometer, and can be built into an outdoor kitchen from £2,999. www.fire-magic.co.uk
2013_10_10_21_41_02_14Smoker_360x310

Weber Smokey Mountain
Want to create authentic pulled pork or smokey southern-style ribs? Then you’ll need a smoker, aka the hipster bbq, which adds more flavour to a traditional barbecue and cooks red meat, chicken and fish low and slow for juicy meat that falls off the bone, and it can also be used for hot smoking.
From £299, www.weberbbq.co.uk

original_eco-grill-all-natural-bbq-and-campfire

EcoGrill
The EcoGrill All Natural Barbecue by Eco Consumer Products is made from sustainably sourced, hollowed-out alder, and is designed to prolong the burning time of the charcoal. The disposable barbecue and fire pit burns away to nothing, leaving no waste.
£10, www.eco-consumer-products.co.uk

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 23.29.35

This article first appeared in Metro on 4 August.

ALISON TYLER

 

 

Lime and Blueberry Ring Drizzle | The Times

Bake Off is back! Here’s a little taster to whet your appetite, courtesy of Mary Berry and The Times

blueberry lime ring

“Fresh limes and juicy blueberries add a lovely flavour, colour, and texture to this sponge. To get maximum juice, microwave the limes all together for 30–60 seconds before squeezing.”

Serves 24 200 calories per serving

Ingredients
225g butter (room temperature) or baking spread (at least 70 per cent fat), plus extra for greasing
225g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
2 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
Finely grated rind of 3 limes
100g blueberries
For the glaze
6 tbsp lime juice (from 3–4 limes)
175g granulated sugar
Special equipment
1.7 litre (3 pint) ring mould, 23cm (9in) diameter and 7.5cm (3in) deep; fine skewer

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C). Grease the ring mould. Cut about 8–10 strips of baking parchment, each 15 x 2.5cm (6 x 1in), and use them to line the mould.

2 Place the butter, caster sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the eggs, milk and lime rind and beat using an electric hand whisk for about 2 min until smooth.

3 Spoon half the mixture into the ring mould and level it, then scatter the blueberries over the top, keeping them away from the edge of the mould (this makes them less likely to stick). Spoon the rest of the mixture over the blueberries and spread it evenly with a palette knife to cover the fruit.

4 Bake for 35-40 min or until well risen and the top springs back when lightly pressed. While it bakes, make a glaze: mix the lime juice with the sugar and set aside. Leave the cake to cool in its tin for a few minutes, then loosen the side with a palette knife. Turn it out on to a wire rack set over a baking tray and peel off the lining strips.

5 While the cake is still warm, prick all over with the skewer. Stir the glaze, then spoon it over the warm cake. Leave to cool completely.

© Mary Berry 2014. Recipes extracted from Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect — Step by Step by Mary Berry, published by Dorling Kindersley, and available from the Times Bookshop for £22.50 (RRP £25), free p&p on 0845 2712134;timesbooks.co.uk

Source: Lime and Blueberry Ring Drizzle | The Times

Travel: Down on the farm

Taking your little ones on a farm holiday is a great way to teach them about the changing seasons, first-hand, to get a healthy dose of fresh air, and to get them so giddy with excitement about meeting and caring the animals that they won’t even realise they’re learning about where food comes from and how nature works.

So dig out your wellies and waxed jacket and join the Joules set for delicious taste of the Great British countryside.

the-dandelion-hideaway

The Dandelion Hideaway

Where is it: Nestled on the edge of the National Forest in Leicestershire, The Dandelion Hideaway has six canvas cottages dotted around the 250-acre farm and its woodland, arable and grassland.

What to do: Owners (and farmers) John and Sharon make friendly hosts and are keen to involve guests in farm life, from a guided walking tour of the farm with John to helping look after the hens and collecting the eggs, milking the goats and grooming the mini Shetland ponies. There’s also a farm shop and a brand new indoor children’s den play area. Budding Ray Mears-types might enjoy the new bushcraft skills courses, too.

5171996-large

When it’s bedtime: This may be “glamping” but you get all the creature comforts you could hope for, including proper beds, en-suite bathrooms with roll-top baths, a living area with a sofa, and a farmhouse kitchen complete with a dining table and a wood-burning stove. If you want isolation then opt for Bluebells Nest, a treehouse which sits by the wood and is perfect for two plus a baby (for larger families the adjoining Bluebells tent sleeps five more), while all of the other cottages sleep six – which will suit families with a growing brood. Older children will love the ‘secret’ third bedroom, housed in a wooden cabin within the tent.

Worth knowing: Pre-order one of Sharon’s farmhouse suppers that will be bubbling on the stove when you arrive, and the mini-tractors for toddlers are definitely worth pre-booking, too.

Canvas cottages sleep up to six, from £700 a week, www.coolrentalguide.com.

Pig bath

The Pig near Bath

Where is it: It sounds incongruous, a luxurious hotel based on a working farm, but The Pig is all about its surroundings. Set on a 500-acre farm, this Georgian house in deepest, rural Somerset is still within easy reach of Bath – a ten-minute drive away. The food in the hotel comes from the vast kitchen garden and fruit orchards, or is foraged from the land, while every egg comes from the farms hens.

Pig Bath

What to do: You may be on a farm, but there’s no roughing it here. Take a much-deserved hour of me-time in the Potting Shed Spa, which uses fab organic Bamford products; feast on the incredible food in the greenhouse restaurant, where almost all of the menu has been grown or reared on the farm or within 25 miles of the hotel; or don a pair of wellies and get muddy on the land. You can visit the pet pigs (rather than the bacon pigs out on the farm) and the chickens and quails, wander round the plot, greenhouse, smokehouse and orchards that feed the hotel, walk the nature trail around the farm, or head into the 20 acres of woodland and deer park in search of spring bluebells or summer wildflowers.

ImageGen

When it’s bedtime: There are 29 delightfully shabby-chic (but absolutely NOT chintzy) bedrooms, with railway sleeper floorboards, sumptuous four-poster beds painted in Farrow & Ball tones, woodland inspired fabrics and huge roll-top baths.

ImageGen-1

Worth knowing: If you’re really adventurous, you can go out with the hotel’s forager in search of mushrooms, wild garlic and other hedgerow bounty that makes it onto the daily menu. Each room comes with a free Nespresso machine and fridge larder stocked with complimentary goodies (it’s also handy for stashing baby purees!).

Double rooms from £139 a night, 0845 077 9494, www.thepighotel.com.

 makesureweusethis_regularguestswhosentinphoto

Nettlecombe Farm

Where is it: Relive your childhood holiday memories at Nettlecombe Farm on the Isle of Wight, where life feels reassuringly nostalgic. The 150-acre farm is just ten minutes from the beach at Ventnor and houses nine self-catering properties in cottages and converted milking parlours and stables.

iwcp_nettlecombefarm058

What to do: With donkeys, alpacas, goats, reindeer, Buff Orpington hens and a goose called Gordon and a peacock named Percy, Nettlecombe is not your average farm. Children are actively encouraged to meet and pet the animals and can even feed the lambs and piglets in spring. The idyllic setting, in rolling countryside, comes with three fishing lakes, a grassy play area with wooden play equipment including a tractor and Wendy house, as well as dedicated toddlers’ play area. The farm has also ensured that its facilities and accommodation are all accessible for disabled children so that everyone can enjoy the country life.

When it’s bedtime: The simple, stylish accommodation ranges from the converted blacksmith’s forge that sleeps three to farmhouses sleeping four or five and cottages that sleep as many as ten.

nettlecombe-farm-lake

Worth knowing: You can arrange a supermarket delivery for when you arrive so that you needn’t spend your holiday schlepping round the shops, while the laundry room will be a godsend. There’s a library – but whether you’ll find time for reading is another matter!

Various cottages that sleep from three (from £300 a week) up to ten (from £545 a week), 01983 730783, www.nettlecombefarm.co.uk.

dolphinholme-house-farm-north-west-england-lancashire-medium

Dolphinholme House Farm

Where is it: From your posh tent, beside the River Wyre – take a dip in it if you fancy a paddle or swim – you’ll feel at one with the fantastic natural playground surrounding you. The dairy farm, which is home to these glam tents, sits on the edge of the forest of Bowland in Lancashire, and is just fifteen minutes from the coast, should you fancy a picnic on the beach.

dolphinholme-house-farm-north-west-england-lancashire-large

What to do: The farm is home to hens (and children are encouraged to collect the eggs from the coop each day), dogs, cats, ducks and rabbits, as well as goats – it is primarily a dairy farm. You can help to milk, feed and care for the animals, then head to the Farm Larder to pick up some bread and cheese made using the milk ready for a picnic lunch. The all-weather play barn has a sandpit, swing and giant slide, but if the weather’s on your side, then go and build a den in the farm’s woodland.

web-farm_life_06

When it’s bedtime: As a Feather Down Farm Days site, you are guaranteed a top-notch tent that’s fully equipped with real beds and a wood-burning stove, and a working, flushable loo – which you’ll be thankful of when your little one needs to go ”right now” at 5am!

Worth knowing: Choose the “with frills” package and you’ll get your own private hot tub and shower, right outside your tent. And if you pre-book the premier service you’ll be greeted with your stove lit, candles aglow, beds made up, jacket potatoes in the oven and hot drinks in your tent on arrival – and relax…

Tents sleep six and cost from £245 for a four-night stay (01420 80804, www.featherdown.co.uk).

 

kinikini farm

Our favourite city farms – and they’re all FREE!

Heeley City Farm, Sheffield

This small-but-perfectly-formed farm sits on just four acres and is home to sheep, pigs, goats, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes and tarantulas. There’s a playground and fab café too, with farm-grown veg on the menu.

0114-258 0482, heeleyfarm.org.uk

 

Mudchute Farm, London

While Mudchute Farm is big – at 32 acres one of the largest in Europe – you won’t forget you’re in the capital thanks to the backdrop of Canary Wharf and the City. The River Café-trained chefs in the café are another reminder. Thankfully the horses, llamas, sheep, pigs, giant rabbits and hens will help you to forget all that for a while, at least.

020-7515 5901, mudchute.org

 

Gorgie City Farm, Edinburgh

It’s said that babies love looking at owls because their faces look quite human. So it’s worth betting that your tots will probably enjoy this farm, which has an owl, small pets and farm animals, as well as a play area, café, gardens and farm shop.

0131-337 4202, gorgiecityfarm.org.uk

 

Swansea Community Farm, Wales

Hidden away behind the old Walker’s crisp factory, you’d be forgiven for not realising that this farm existed. But it’s well worth seeking out: there are all sorts of farm animals alongside rare Welsh sheep and pigs.

01792 578384, swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

 

Bath City Farm, Somerset

In the heart of this Georgian city, you’ll find Aberdeen Angus cows, Tamworth pigs and Orpington chickens to name just a few. Several footpaths cross it and visitors are welcome to climb in over one of the many stiles or through a kissing gate rather than being directed through a single entrance.

01225 481269, bathcityfarm.org.uk

 

Stonebridge City Farm, Nottingham

Urban, edgy Nottingham is the last place you’d expect to find a farm. This one may be small, but its got lambs and rabbits galore, as well as a café, shop, sensory garden and play area.

0115 9505113, stonebridgecityfarm.com

 

 

 

Great farms for day trips:

Big Sheep Little Cow, North Yorkshire

With a pig called Flossie and a tortoise named Flash, this compact farm has a vast range of animals that you’ll get to meet, hold, groom and feed as you take an exciting guided tour around the farmyard. It’s ideal for little ones as it’s not too big and the animals are friendly, too (even our 11-month old enjoyed stroking the anmals). The indoor soft play area is worth the entrance fee alone – the whizzy slide with its ball pool-landing is not to be missed!

Entry £6.95 (under 1s free), Bedale, 01677 422125, www.farmattraction.co.uk

 

Home Farm, The Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Specialising in rare breed sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and horses (as well as some noisy ducks and geese), this traditional farm is neatly arranged for little legs and has some fun extras including mini tractors, a straw bale maze and a milking machine. There are daily animal feedings and children can help to groom the donkeys, too.

Adult £7.90, child £5.20 (under 5s free) or half price for National Trust members, Royston, 01223 206000, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

 

Godstone Farm, Surrey

Nestled in a the folds of the Surrey and north Kent weald, this picturesque outdoor farm is ideal for sunny days thanks to its huge outdoor play area. The animals are spread out around a winding path down the gentle hill to the farmyard where you’ll find a “touch” barn of animals that children can pet and also hold (think rabbits, guinea pigs and hens). You can join in with feeding the pigs and ducks, take a hay-wagon ride, or head to the enormous play barn that will tire out even the most energetic of toddlers,

Entry £6.25 (under 1s free, 1-2 years £2.25), Godstone, 01883 742546, www.godstonefarm.co.uk

 

Pennywell Farm, Devon

The award-winning Pennywell Farm is not cheap but the entry includes half-hourly events and displays, a tractor and trailer ride, a train ride, and even a go-kart ride. The farms most famous residents are the micro pigs, which are just too cure for words, but you’ll find all the usual farm animals and smaller petting animals, too.

Adult £12.95, child £9.95 (under 3s free), Buckfastleigh, 01364 642023, www.pennywellfarm.co.uk

ALISON TYLER

Related Posts

  • 45
    Want to go to a festival but worried you can't now that you have little ones? Don't worry, try these out for size. Have kids, will party Wilderness What: Set in the rolling Cotswolds, on an 800-year-old deer park, this is possibly Britain’s poshest festival with food from St John,…
    Tags: family, camping, family-friendly, travel
  • 42
    Make the most of spring's arrival with a new season lodge, Shepherd’s hut or quirky cabin – it’s camping, but weather-proofed for fresh evenings. Swinton Bivouac, Yorkshire Sitting in 20,000 acres, Swinton Bivouac is a cluster of handcrafted, gingerbread house-cute log cabins hidden on the edge of the woods, with incredible…
    Tags: camping, farm, travel, family-friendly
  • 39
    This weekend we bought a tent! Yup, me, ex travel-editor of Glamour, miss luxe hotel, boutique boltholer and five-star spa-goer, I am going camping. Not even glamping, but real, genuine camping in my own tent, that I'll have to pitch before I can sleep in it. So it's not quite…
    Tags: camping, travel, family
  • 35
    Yes folks, we did it. Last week, we went camping en famille - after the rain and thunder had passed on Tuesday, that is. At midday on Wednesday, with the car packed and an hour to till we were due to set off, we still didn't know where we were heading…
    Tags: camping, travel, family
  • 33
    It's that time of year when nothing beats an ice cream, a paddle in the sea and a relaxing rest on a British beach, just watching the hazy horizon and breathing in the briny air. I was at Birling Gap on Saturday with my kids throwing pebbles into the water…
    Tags: travel, family, days, family-friendly

 In praise of church conversions

 

Church conversions offer heavenly architectural features, soaring heights and quirky contemporary living spaces – usually at the heart of a community

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.58.07

It’s not just buyers that love a church conversion, for developers they are a dream project, the chance to create a landmark residence, with unique living spaces. But taking on the double-height windows, crumbling spires, and leaking lead roofs is not a job for the feint-hearted, and it takes an experienced architect to sensitively configure the space. There is little more depressing than a badly converted church. Get it right though, and the results are remarkable.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.59.19

The 19th-century Saint Paul’s Church in Battersea was in a sorry state when developer Nick Laurence spotted it in 2013, but given the how rarely they come to market he jumped at the chance to buy it. “I was captivated by its potential and I could see that we could retain the church’s originality and ecclesiastical architecture, yet make intelligent adaptations to the existing structure and layout,” explains Laurence.

Today, the outside of the church looks much the same, although there’s a new roof that Laurence’s team travelled the country to source and completely reconditioned stained glass windows – but inside it has been divided in to four completely bespoke apartments across three new floors, the Apse, the Cloister, the Spire and the Tower.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.59.05

 

Throughout, the renovation has been as sympathetic as possible. “The church brought with it an innate sense of calm and a sanctuary away from London’s fast pace, so we sought to perpetuate that with the most natural materials that would complement rather than juxtapose the original edifice,” says Laurence. “We worked closely with our interior designer, Sarah Reed, to identify and retain as much of the church’s identity as possible.”

The three-bedroom Apse apartment is framed by double-height stained glass windows, while open plan living, dining and kitchen areas offer contemporary counterpoint. Any additions that have been made are based on century’s old stonework and hues, with tactile surfaces finished in oak, limestone, marble, linen and velvet to reflect the church’s timeless feel.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.58.33

“The Apse is a great example of how we’ve expanded on the existing structure with a new staircase, conceived to resemble a pulpit, with a thick rope bannister to evoke the ropes that ring church bells. We even handmade Gothic style arched doors.”

A mezzanine floor, complete with a library built into a huge arch that was the former altar, overlooks the living area and also harbours a hidden door in the library wall that leads to the jewel in the crown of the apartment: a 550-square-foot master bedroom suite.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.58.42

But it’s the Spire apartment, that includes the church bell tower, where the renovation of this project really comes to life. Laurence has turned it into a folly within the apartment – it is breathtaking, and offers its lucky owner panoramic views of the city. While some would have dismissed it as an unworkable space, Laurence has installed a viewing platform, which is wired for sound and illuminated by a five-metre-long, hand blown glass chandelier.

“We had a team of 12 joiners on site constructing a specially made wooden spiral staircase to provide access to this stunning space,” he explains.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.59.39

“Even after being on site for 18 months – at times with a team of 40 experts, overcoming obstacles and working with the challenges of a 160 year old church – I still find the building utterly compelling,” says Laurence. “Every visitor is awestruck.”

It’s rare to find such a well-restored and sensitively converted church, especially one that was formerly in such a state of disrepair – perhaps of this derelict building it was a case of divine intervention.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.58.20

The apartments at The Sanctuary are on the market from £1,650,000. Douglas & Gordon’s Battersea office on 020 7924 2000 or Winkworth’s Battersea office on 020 7228 9265.

Divine inspiration, three more ecclesiastical conversions:

St Joseph’s Gate, Mill Hill

Throughout the design and transformation of this Grade II-listed seminary, set in seven acres of grounds, the developer Berkeley has retained a host of original features, including the ornate Victorian staircases, imposing, feature windows and ornamental ironwork, all meticulously restored to its former grandeur. There are 59 luxury apartments in the gated development, starting from £899,995, and the showhome launched last week, contact 020 7718 5202, www.knightfrank.co.uk

 

The Lourdes Collection, Fulham

This historic Victorian Fulham church newly converted into nine luxury apartments, with a very modern feel, is moments from West Brompton underground. There are still three, two-bedroom apartments available, from £975, 000, 020 7368 4830, www.marshandparsons.co.uk

 

Oakfield Court, Bristol

Further afield, this new development launches in September and comprises 16 one- and two-bed apartments over four floors set within a beautifully converted church in Bristol’s highly desirable Clifton area. Expect kaleidoscopic stained-glass windows, high-vaulted ceilings, and even the church’s original arches – all have been retained and restored as part of the sympathetic conversion.

Prices from £225,000, 0117 317 1999, www.knightfrank.co.uk

 

ALISON TYLER

Related Posts

  • 48
    For Catherine Beagley, the sales and marketing director at Berkeley Homes (West London), the restoration and conversion of the former Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, couldn’t have come soon enough.   A Wimbledon girl all her life, she can remember the days when this was a working neurosurgical hospital and…
    Tags: apartments, windows, conversion, homes, property, london
  • 38
    Last year’s housing market was shaped by optimism – house prices rose by 5.6 per cent nationally (10.6 in London), and above the 2007 peak for the first time, to reach new record levels (£186,350 nationally, and £503,431 in London), encouraging developers to build more homes and councils to approve…
    Tags: london, homes, property
  • 37
    Can you build a contemporary home in a conservation area sensitively? Here's one that succeeded, against the odds... Ken Martin is a man who drinks a lot of coffee, 4,200 cups in the last two years to be precise, according to his intelligent Gaggenau coffee machine that takes pride of…
    Tags: homes, london, architecture, property
  • 36
    A micro-development of just three townhouses in a quiet, leafy Clapham street just off the Common by world-renowned architects Squire and Partners, famed for their flagship projects such as Chelsea Barracks and One Tower Bridge – it’s an intriguing combination. So when I met Henry Squire at one of the…
    Tags: windows, property, homes, architecture, london
  • 34
    The stellar refurbishment of the Barbican's Brutalist fourth tower proves that you can go back to the future, without creating something hackneyed or ersatz Central London new developments generally don’t come with an iconic Grade II-listed building, mature gardens the size of a small park, ponds complete with ducklings, secure…
    Tags: apartments, architecture, london, property

A home fit for an architect

A micro-development of just three townhouses in a quiet, leafy Clapham street just off the Common by world-renowned architects Squire and Partners, famed for their flagship projects such as Chelsea Barracks and One Tower Bridge – it’s an intriguing combination.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.35.53

So when I met Henry Squire at one of the contemporary interpretations of a Victorian villa one sunny morning last week I wanted to find out more. It turned out that he hadn’t had far to come; his father and business partner, architect Michael Squire lives just two doors down.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.29.56

“This is the street I grew up on, and Dad moved here 30 years ago, so when we saw this old Eighties office block was up for sale – which never made sense on this very residential street – we just had to buy it,” explains Henry.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.30.18

Who better then, to take on the project of creating three new family homes than someone who already knows all the neighbours, and knows what people in the area are looking for.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.30.44

While they are undoubtedly “wow” homes they don’t look out of place and don’t overshadow or bully any of the neighbouring properties. There’s a modesty and simplicity about them from the outside – the huge picture windows still feel discreet somehow, while the bespoke metalwork on the balcony have been designed to mirror detailing that can be seen elsewhere in the road.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.34.58

Inside it is huge, with clean lines, and confident oversized parquet floors to match the spacious hallway, cloakroom, living room and library spaces on the upper ground floor. But there is still a sense of the Victorian villa here – in the drawing room there’s a real stone, marble-plinth fireplace; rich American black walnut timber has been used for all of the windows; the staircase curves up through the entire building and you can look up through all of the three floors to the top of the house.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.33.19

“We could have put in a lift, but I was just against it morally,” explains Henry. “I know we might lose a couple of buyers because of it but a family house like this shouldn’t have a lift – and you’d rarely climb all six floors at once. The same goes for comfort cooling, I just don’t believe a house like this needs it, you can just open the windows.” Although Henry does admit that they have installed comfort cooling in the bedrooms – these are the kinds of demands that international buyers want, and it is changing the shape of development in London, but Henry is confident about who will want this house and why.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.35.15

At the top of the building, three storeys up, a top floor media room have balconies on either side of the building, below it are six bedrooms, three of which have balconies. The master suite is luxuriously generous in size with a large, dressing area and a vast en-suite bathroom where Filetto marble combines with large porcelain tiles by Domus to create a serene, contemporary-but-not-too-cool finish.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.32.31

“We’ve deliberately kept it feeling neutral with room to personalise the space,” says Henry.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.34.31

“If we’d tiled it wall-to-wall there’s no opportunity for a buyer to make it there’s, so as the architect you have to hold back and restrain yourself a little.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.32.50

The real selling point of this home, beyond its fantastic proportions and high quality finish, can be found on the lower ground floor.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.31.31

A separate, glass-sided staircase leads downstairs and is a taste of what to expect. Once downstairs you arrive at an entirely open-plan super-room that houses the kitchen, dining room, family snug, and a light-filled garden living room, separated by the rest of the room by a glass “sock” as Henry calls it. Sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors span the entire back of the house, opening up the garden and living space seamlessly, while the walnut floor running the length of the inside gives a feeling of continuity. It is incredibly impressive without feeling brash, or smug, or over-the-top.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.31.12

“We could have put in a £250,000 kitchen, but again I just don’t think the house it needs it,” says Henry. “There’s not that much difference between a £50,000 kitchen and a £250,000 kitchen and it was important to us that it blends with the space well and functions well – this one is from SieMatic.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.31.46

The Ceaserstone Osprey worktops and Filetto marble splashback feel as expensive as they look, while the copper pendant lights by Tom Dixon add a dash of contemporary colour into the mix. But you can see it would make a hard-working family kitchen in what is the ultimate family space. It’s a 21st-century version of knocking through the walls of a Victorian home that so many families have done up and down the capital, “our interpretation of the bourgeois break-through,” says Henry.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.28.34

Is it every architect’s dream to build their own home, I wonder? The answer, if this project is anything to go by, is “yes”. Henry’s father Michael Squire has actually moved into one of the three houses, leaving just two left for sale. And if it’s good enough for one of the world’s leading architects…

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 15.27.48

The houses at Macaulay Road, Clapham are priced at £6.75 million, contact Savills on 020 3430 6900, www.savills.com.

ALISON TYLER

Related Posts

  • 53
    Can you build a contemporary home in a conservation area sensitively? Here's one that succeeded, against the odds... Ken Martin is a man who drinks a lot of coffee, 4,200 cups in the last two years to be precise, according to his intelligent Gaggenau coffee machine that takes pride of…
    Tags: house, building, don, homes, architect, london, kitchen, houses, space, architecture
  • 42
    The stellar refurbishment of the Barbican's Brutalist fourth tower proves that you can go back to the future, without creating something hackneyed or ersatz Central London new developments generally don’t come with an iconic Grade II-listed building, mature gardens the size of a small park, ponds complete with ducklings, secure…
    Tags: building, design, architecture, partners, london, property, british
  • 38
    For Catherine Beagley, the sales and marketing director at Berkeley Homes (West London), the restoration and conversion of the former Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, couldn’t have come soon enough.   A Wimbledon girl all her life, she can remember the days when this was a working neurosurgical hospital and…
    Tags: building, windows, homes, property, design, london, british
  • 36
      Church conversions offer heavenly architectural features, soaring heights and quirky contemporary living spaces – usually at the heart of a community It’s not just buyers that love a church conversion, for developers they are a dream project, the chance to create a landmark residence, with unique living spaces. But…
    Tags: windows, homes, property, london, architecture
  • 34
    A raft of new sky-piercing towers is springing up at Canary Wharf - allowing new residents to live the high life, in more ways than one Berkeley Homes has built a reputation on being a bit special, as their managing director Harry Lewis says “we don’t do any ‘standard’ products,…
    Tags: homes, property, london, british, design, architecture, partners