Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Loft Ideal; HOMES AND PROPERTY;There Are Those Who Pretend, but Paul Brookes Believes a Loft Should Be a Loft

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Loft Ideal; HOMES AND PROPERTY;There Are Those Who Pretend, but Paul Brookes Believes a Loft Should Be a Loft

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SPITTLES

There are those who pretend, but Paul Brookes believes a loft should be a loft

ARCHITECT Paul Brookes knows a thing or two about lofts. He's worked on 11 projects for Sapcote, the school-conversion specialist, and is the man behind a new development in Battersea called Full Height. The name gives away his design priority at the scheme: to create double-height, double-volume spaces rather than apartments masquerading as lofts.

He says too many housebuilders have hijacked the loft label and put up poor imitations of the real thing. "We've tried to avoid any compromises - by arbitrarily putting in mezzanines to increase the floor area, for example.

When you are in one of these lofts, there's no danger of hitting your head on a steel beam. We have even lowered the floors to create extra ceiling height."

The building is another redbrick Victorian school with massive windows allowing light to flood in. A total of 43 lofts are being built.

Brookes says a key consideration was how much void area to give each loft.

The bigger the void the smaller the saleable floor area of each home.

Developers normally put in mezzanine levels because the usable floorspace is increased: in strict commercial terms, lofts are valued on the basis of pounds per sq ft of floor area.

Yet the void area in lofts is what makes the interiors so dramatic. Giles Underhill, of Foxtons, the selling agents, says it is time for a new valuation method. "A better benchmark would be to quote prices in pounds per cubic foot. However, it does require buyers to have an understanding of space," he says.

Developers and estate agents often talk in terms of pounds per square foot because it gives an immediate insight into value. …

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