For sale: Period penthouse with luxury appeal
PUBLISHED: 12:17 24 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:17 24 August 2015
Creating a modern-look luxury penthouse in a listed Gothic building presented a design challenge but a cash injection and two years of work by TG Studios led to this sumptuous home, which is now on the market
Nowadays, St Pancras station is one of London’s most iconic buildings. As a gateway to the Continent, with Eurostar trains terminating here, the Gothic Revival spires and spindly red brick offer European visitors their first glimpse of London architecture, while the Victorian hotel has been renovated for the modern age, boasting a fashionable bar and restaurant. So it’s hard to believe that this quintessentially London building, a counterpoint to Charles Barry’s Houses of Parliament in the same style, was slated for possible demolition until 1977.
The building’s recent eight-year refurbishment (following years of neglect and an appearance in a Spice Girls video) included the conversion of the upper floors of the former hotel into 67 residential apartments, with three penthouses, arguably some of the most covetable dwellings in London.
One of these penthouses, located in the west tower was bought by a young banker, Arran Patel, who is now selling the flat, which he bought in 2010.
He hired interior architect and designer Thomas Griem of TG Studio to transform the unit from the standard developer specification into a personal, luxurious home that captured the grandeur of the original hotel but with a modern edge.
Giving a contemporary penthouse feel to a building that is so abundant in period features proved a particular challenge for Griem and his team because of the Grade-I listing.
“This is definitely one of the more unusual projects I’ve worked on because the building has that very unusual Gothic Revival look,” says Griem. “It was a special one because St Pancras is such an amazing building, but it was also very challenging because it’s such an important building.
“Getting permission to make changes was difficult. Everything was listed: the beams were original and the staircase.
“The hardest thing was working out how to keep all the beams but create a cool penthouse. When we first saw the flat, it really looked like a barn, very ‘country’, and nothing like what a penthouse is supposed to be. I’m proud that it now looks like a very special, urban penthouse.”
This was achieved through a combination of structural changes – including replacing the original circular staircase with a cantilevered structure with clear glass balustrades, the supporting structure hidden by a bookcase to create a design feature – and use of the highest spec finishes.
Speaking to the Evening Standard in 2013, Patel revealed that he had spent about £300 a square foot on the renovations, which paid off in “significant value creation.”
The fruits of this expenditure can still be seen in sumptuous flooring, wall coverings, technology and appliances – all of which had to be carried to the penthouse by hand because of the building’s listed status, meaning that the work took two years.
Griem used his signature Arabescato white marble from floor to ceiling in the bathrooms and Schotten & Hansen wood in Oak Oyster throughout.
“I’d say they do the best wood flooring in the world. It’s very expensive but it’s amazing looking and also, maintenance wise is lasts and lasts and lasts,” he says.
A Leicht kitchen with Gaggenau appliances and a fully integrated, iPad-controlled AV system are further luxe penthouse essentials.
Josh Marks, sales negotiator at Knight Frank who are overseeing the sale, says “This apartment in particular is all very high spec. The vendor’s quite young so it’s all quite cool, rather than period style.”
Marks highlights the light and views as stand out features of the flat, which has triple volume height in some areas, with 44 ft high ceilings.
“In this apartment you’ve got floor-to-ceiling triple volume windows, enclosed with these wooden beams,” he says. “It’s pretty incredible when you walk in and you’ve got amazing views from three aspects. There are views towards the City on one side and also across the whole front of the building, because it’s on one side of the L-shape.”
Unusually for a five-year-old property, the penthouse is almost as good as new.
“It wasn’t used as much because the client moved to New York, so in a way, it’s pristine,” says Griem.
“Usually in a new build, as soon as you actually do anything in there it’s used, but this apartment doesn’t look used. The incoming purchaser would be buying almost a new house.”
The three-bedroom penthouse is for sale with Knight Frank (020 7586 2777) for £6,550,000
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