What do you think of when you start your search for a home and type ‘loft apartments in London’? We’re guessing your mind fills with visions of exposed bricks, loading bay doors, chunky beams and timber floors.
Perhaps you even remember the Halifax Card Cash ad of the 1980s? An eligible bachelor wakes up in his rugged warehouse pad next to the railway lines of Borough Market, where he lives with his cat. Having run out of Whiskas, he heads to the ATM on Southwark Street, buys a newspaper and heads home for a lazy read. The final shot of him sitting with his paper and cat by open loading bay doors is TV magic, not least because he appears to have moved to Metropolitan Wharf in Wapping!
With its Easy Like Sunday Morning soundtrack, the ad is one of the decade’s memorable moments. More than that, it’s probably the nation’s first major introduction to the idea of loft living.
Since then, a home created from an industrial space has become the definitive expression of an inner-city lifestyle. From early rough’n’ready conversions to glamourous reimaginings, the shift to urban living has brought seismic changes to interior design. Today, open-plan and sociable spaces are massively in demand and common in every type of home.
So let’s celebrate the revolution with six unique loft apartments in London. From local market makers to iconic landmarks and tucked-away secrets, let the tour begin.
(You can jump to the descriptions, galleries and plans by clicking on the pink headings.)
Let’s start things off in style with a massive space in Kings Cross at a splendid art deco factory that used to be where the Poppy Foundation made their Remembrance Day poppies. The building was converted into oversized lofts in 1996.
Back then, Kings Cross was on the outer edges of the city fringe renaissance. Today, it’s a thrilling place to live, work and play.
Having a home here is a loft dweller’s dream, and nowhere more than at York Central. The apartments were sold as shells, giving rise to unique designs by the ingoing residents.
Blessed with a glorious heritage of railways and canals, Kings Cross has a flavour all of its own. Creative studios, artisan retailers and terrific places to eat and drink occupy remarkable buildings, from cobbled yards to waterside settings. It’s capped off with 26 acres of parks, squares and public space, not to mention two spectacular stations.
For sale at £3,950,000
If you’re going to name your building after Andy Warhol’s seminal New York studios, you better come up with the goods.
Thankfully, the aptly named Manhattan Loft Corporation did exactly the right thing when converting this splendid Victorian building in Shoreditch. They developed the apartments as shells and then left it to the creative buyers to do their thing.
There are no cookie-cutter faux lofts here – it’s all rugged authenticity, and no less so than in this completely open-plan apartment. It’s a wonderful, unapologetic and quintessential industrial living space evoking the original essence of a loft lifestyle by having living, cooking and sleeping zones instead of carving it up into rooms.
The resulting and luxurious sense of flow across its 1200 sq ft (108 m²) is a vivid reminder that they really don’t make ’em like they used to.
Shoreditch is somewhere that needs no introduction. As the spiritual birthplace of loft apartments in London, it’s come a long way from being the cheap option for struggling artists.
Now, Shoreditch is synonymous with start-ups, vision and success. The tiny Victorian backstreets heave with former warehouses, workshops and factories, all rubbing shoulders with dazzling new architecture. It’s a scene that’s never lost its eclectic and electric form.
Teeming with underground bars, high-end restaurants and fashion-forward boutiques, the full creative spectrum is played out through a heady collection of galleries, studios, pop-ups and beyond – whatever’s coming next, it’ll probably start here.
Heading south and crossing London Bridge, we hit the South Bank’s cultural belt.
When you can count Borough Market, Tate Modern, the River Thames and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre among your local hangouts, there’s no questioning your choice of address. Living by so many Londoners’ favourites is complete nourishment for the soul in The Big Smoke.
La Gare Apartments were born from the conversion of an exquisite art deco printworks in the depths of Bankside. This triplex live-work home covers 882 sq ft (82m²) across the first and second floors, with a mezzanine in between.
The building is from the beginning of SE1’s revival, and many of its stylistic elements are now trademarks of loft apartments in London. Double height voids, galleried mezzanines, exposed brickwork, ships wire balustrades, glass bricks and vertical column radiators are all on show.
For sale at £775,000
Rotherhithe Village remains – and may very well stay – a locals’ secret. It feels delightfully off the beaten path; a remarkable feat when you consider the location. Less than a mile from Shad Thames by a riverside walk, and with access to Overground & Jubilee Lines, it really has no business retaining such a tranquil and undiscovered vibe.
Lining the Thames Path is a series of old warehouses. If you enjoy the sound of waves lapping down below, you’ll love our stop at Hope (Sufferance) Wharf. This 1460 sq ft (135m²) loft is character packed, with vaulted ceilings and chunky beams from its 3rd (top) floor position. The piece de resistance private roof terrace offers views of the Thames towards Tower Bridge and Wapping.
Step onto the street, and the seduction continues. Among a list of charming finds, Rotherhithe is home to The Mayflower pub from where the pilgrim fathers set sail. It’s joined by garden cocktail bar The Midnight Apothecary, modern British dining at Simplicity, and rather fine coffee and cake at The Watchhouse Café.
For sale at £1,200,000
Heading south from Rotherhithe, our next stop is artisanal hotspot Peckham for a fine pair of hidden warehouse gems.
The first is a converted helmet-making workshop. Elegantly restyled by the current owners to soften its edges, this remarkable space is now an incredibly warm, inviting and comfortable home that still proudly flaunts its factory heritage.
The interior unfolds over two floors and almost 1800 sq ft (165m²). You’ll find three bedrooms on the lower level, and a sprawling living space upstairs that opens onto a secluded terrace. Exposed bricks, beams and floorboards are everywhere, along with original loading bay doors, a wonderful open tread staircase, and even a working mini goods lift. It’s so good that we devoted an entire article to it.
Out in the neighbourhood, Peckham has developed an exhilarating scene. The independent cafes, pubs, bars and vintage shops along Rye Lane, Bellenden Road and in the railway arches beneath Peckham Rye station make for a real voyage of discovery, with somewhere to go from breakfast till bedtime.
For sale at £1,350,000
Staying in Peckham, and through a gate you could easily miss, we reach our final stop. This detached live-work warehouse of just over 2000 sq ft (186m²) has been lovingly refurbished and preserved by its owners who bought it 39 years ago.
Shielded from the street behind a row of shops, it’s hard to believe you’re in a buzzing inner-city. The tranquil air is further enhanced by a serene monochrome pallet. White-painted brickwork, timber ceilings, plantation blinds and window shutters sit alongside low-level school-style radiators, hardwood maple floors and a 2.5m stainless steel cooking island.
The lower level is split into a pair of creative studio spaces. On the first floor, a vast open-plan living space leads to a bedroom suite with a private bathroom. On top, the roof terrace provides a sky-filled place to get outside and covers the bulding’s entire floor plate.
With a successful planning application, you could create an additional floor for an extra room with walk-out terrace access.
For sale at £1,350,000
Did you enjoy this selection of loft apartments in London?
If you’re looking for an unusual place to live, sign up here for property alerts.
And if you own a unique home that you’d like to sell or rent, click here to request a valuation, or call us on 020 8187 4599 for a chat about your plans – everything starts with a conversation.