Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A 'Very Private Person' and a Convoy of Sleek Limousines

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A 'Very Private Person' and a Convoy of Sleek Limousines

Article excerpt

MONDAY Today is something of a Battersea bonanza. I am visiting four loft apartments in three buildings, each owned by a different person, yet all for the rental market.

Better known for its nappy-valley families, Battersea was actually the forerunner in bringing New York-style "loft living" to London, by converting former redundant Victorian civic buildings into oversized residential spaces. Today I'm seeing three places in converted schoolhouses and one in a former library. Not a nappy in sight.

TUESDAY Today's extraordinary space occupies an unusual site in the international and bustling metropolis that is Faversham, Kent. I drive down a rough track -- my Land Rover feeling its purchase finally vindicated -- and at the end, opposite the creek and next to a boat yard, is... a converted warehouse.

The building was constructed in the 1800s to store crops and send them to London by barge, but now it's 6,000sq ft of downright dramatic living space with, of course, its own private oneacre paddock. It is an unlikely combination of elements, but if you ever found yourself looking to combine loft living with Country Life, you couldn't do much better than this.

WEDNESDAY Less and less in London's East End, but still, every so often, we get to see a classic and authentic warehouse conversion where someone has kept the building as one property. There are not many left now. Most have been sold on and either chopped into smaller and slicker apartments, or knocked down to make way for a new block.

Anyway, today's charmer was a button and belt factory for more than 60 years and is now a freehold house. Much original character remains intact and, more unusual than even the space I'm standing in, is the mature garden out back.

Momentarily, I find myself expecting a straw-bearing horse and cart to clop on by, but carriages in Hackney are of a different sort these days. …

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