Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First-Class Living

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First-Class Living

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicole Swengley

TRANSFORMING part of a historic London landmark into a luxurious, contemporary home is not a challenge for the faint-hearted. Yet the opportunity to create a quietly opulent interior at his three-bedroom triplex apartment in the famous Grade I-listed St Pancras Chambers proved irresistible for investment banker Arran Patel.

"I wanted to create a home with elegant, modern, open-plan living areas that would sit comfortably within the bones of the original Victorian Gothic building," he says.

As one of three penthouses in Manhattan Loft Corporation's 52-apartment development, the property already had serious bragging rights when Arran bought it in 2010. Located bang next to the Eurostar terminal, it sits above the five-star St Pancras Renaissance hotel with access to Marcus Wareing's brasserie and bar The Gilbert Scott, and the hotel's spa and gym. Its views, meanwhile, take in most of the capital's major sights including St Paul's Cathedral, the BT Tower and the London Eye.

Still, Arran felt the apartment's interior needed "luxe-ing up" so he turned to designer Thomas Griem of Londonbased TG Studio (

"Essentially, I wanted to capture the grandeur of the building at its initial opening in 1873 while giving it a modernday context," says Arran. Spending about [pounds sterling]300 a square foot on a sumptuous renovation has, he says, "also resulted in significant value creation".

Says Griem: "It was a big challenge to work on such a famous building. We wanted to change the apartment's staircase, bathrooms, kitchen and master bedroom but the building's Grade I-listing meant nothing could be touched without permission from English Heritage." Though obtaining planning permission proved fairly straightforward, the refurbishment took two years to complete because the apartment's position on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors meant it could only be accessed internally. "Everything was carried up manually to the top floors," sighs Griem.

Working with consultant engineers, Arup, Griem removed a circular staircase between the middle and lower floors and replaced it with a cantilevered design, the supporting structure hidden by a bookcase. "We turned a functional staircase into a design feature," he says. Made from oak veneer, it has reinforced clearglass balustrades that usher light through the various levels. Similarly, reinforced clear-glass panels used for security on the open-plan, cantilevered middle and upper floors visually connect the three levels. The apartment's entrance is visible from the top floor while the original oak beams and rose window can be seen from all three levels.

The master suite, with its handsome, blue velvet Meridiani bed, occupies the entire top floor. Its open-plan, walk-in wardrobe was custom-built in oak and leather, while specially chosen Portuguese travertine stone cladding gives a cave-like feel to the en suite, with its extra-large walk-in shower. …

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