Occupying the volume and expanse of a former factory building is this spectacular four-bedroom house, with private courtyard garden and separate studio apartment. It is located on Berens Road, opposite the historic Kensal Green Cemetery and around 15 minutes’ walk from Golborne Road and Portobello Market. The house extends to approximately 3,700 sq ft overall, and enjoys a rare level of privacy and security with off-street parking for two cars.
The first stage of the conversion was conceived by a former collaborator of architect John Pawson, retaining much of the fabric of the original building, including decorative tin ceilings, exposed-brick walls, concrete lintels and visible timber beams throughout. The current owners purchased the house in 2008 and have created a beautiful and authentically modern family home which remains true to the building’s heritage.
The house is situated behind two sets of electrically operated gates and accessed via a driveway paved with bricks salvaged from one of the factory’s original exterior walls. High wooden gates in turn lead to a romantic courtyard garden, filled with mature planting and accented by a concrete and metal water feature set against clusters of black bamboo.
An open-plan living and dining room with double-height vaulted ceilings and feature wall occupies the central ground floor space. Natural light pours in through a huge skylight and floor-to-ceiling glazed doors at each aspect. These open onto the main courtyard and a second, smaller internal courtyard to the rear of the building, containing tropical planting and decorative lighting.
Each ground-level floor is of poured and polished concrete, as are the bench and hearth for the open fire in the living room and various other interior walls throughout. Also on this level is the kitchen, with stainless-steel worktops and glazed sliding doors to the central courtyard, a zoned workspace also sitting adjacent to the main courtyard, a utility room and guest WC.
The main house has four bedrooms, three on the upper level and one on the ground floor, which has an en-suite bathroom and access to the internal courtyard. The master bedroom is almost 300 sq ft and is flooded with light from an overhead skylight (with electrically operated blinds) in addition to low-level and clerestory windows. The master bedroom also has its own en-suite walk-in shower with dressing room and study areas, the latter accessed via a doorway and small wooden staircase.
A family bathroom, with bespoke metal bath, serves the two further bedrooms at the opposite end of the house. These rooms are accessed via the galleried library area and mezzanine open-plan sitting room. From here, full-height glazed sliding doors open onto a south-facing terrace with exterior stone staircase leading down to the main courtyard.
Across the main courtyard and facing the kitchen, is a separate, wood-panelled studio. Formerly used as an editing suite and having undergone extensive renovation, the building contains a state-of-the-art 7.1 speaker home cinema, concealable at the touch of a button, in addition to a separate, tiled shower room and WC.
The house is excellently located on a quiet residential street opposite the Grade i-listed, 72-acre open space of Kensal Green Cemetery, and approximately 500 yards from the northern end of Ladbroke Grove (and the Grand Union Canal towpath). Chamberlayne Road is a three-minute walk, with its fine selection of independent cafés, restaurants, delis, pubs and shops – including a butcher, greengrocer, specialist bakery and one of London’s finest florists. Local favourites include Vicki’s Café, Sacre Cuore pizzeria, Ida (a family-run Italian restaurant), the Paradise By Way of Kensal Green and the Parlour gastropubs, as well as nearby Pizza East Portobello. Queens Park is easily reached on foot, as are Golborne Road and Portobello Market.
The nearest underground station is Kensal Green (around five minutes’ walk) which has access to both the Bakerloo Line and London Overground services. Further Overground services run from Kensal Rise station (15 minutes’ walk), with connections to Richmond in one direction and Highbury & Islington in the other. Ladbroke Grove tube station is easily reached for access to the Hammersmith & City Line and the area is excellently served by a wide range of bus services into central London and elsewhere.