In the mood for some lounging around? You’re in the right place! Grab a brew and make yourself comfortable as Danny, Hannah and Simon share their favourite picks of unique London living rooms.
As one of the main deciding factors in choosing a home to buy or rent, living rooms say a lot about who we are.
Even if we never quite turn the bedroom into a sumptuously sensual sleeping zone, or the bathroom never becomes the spa-like sanctuary we dreamed of, the living room generally ends up looking the part and reflecting our style.
Fusing radical thinking and forward-looking design, our chosen selection of unique London living rooms includes a converted wharf, courthouse and school building. We’ll also take in a purpose-built loft at an iconic landmark tower, plus a couple of one-off passion-project houses.
Are you ready? Then let the tour begin!
Danny: For me, The Cork House is like a slice of Ibiza in the proper old East End. I could never say that in the official description, so thank goodness for this blog! There are so many elements to the house that I could go on for days, but I’m under strict instructions to keep my musings to the living room.
Can I say cork-clad cocoon? I’ve never said it before, but it just seems right. I can’t think of a cosier sounding word than cocoon, and I can’t think of a better way to describe the unique feeling of sitting here. Cosy, modern, secret, nurturing: it’s definitely a cocoon.
The black cork walls under an exposed timber ceiling are something I’ve never seen before, and they are pretty breathtaking. Then there’s a whole wall of glass doors that fold back to open the room into the courtyard. The effect is spectacular and is duplicated in the dining room next door, making a huge L-shaped cut-out that seems architecturally impossible. But there it is.
The Cork House is for sale at £995,000. Click here to view the image gallery, plans and description.
Hannah: There are loads of double-height living rooms in London, and then there’s The Old Library. You get a real sense of arrival through double glass doors; then, the ceiling lifts up above your head. The apartment feels like a giant, airy box with tons of sky on view, even though it’s on the ground floor. The whole experience is very cinematic and really encapsulates what open-plan contemporary living is all about.
There’s also an unmistakable Hollywood-party pizazz. I wouldn’t be surprised to walk in and find A-listers draped over couches, laughing on the mezzanine or spilling onto the terrace. It’s a place where your friends and family would be gagging for an invite to dinner!
The Old Library is for sale at £1,295,000. Click here to view the image gallery, plans and description.
Hannah: This apartment is full of drama. As you walk into the living room, you’re greeted with a curved wall of floor-to-ceiling glass. Then there’s that view! Looking out at Tate Modern is great for losing yourself in people watching as the South Bank’s cultural life happens right outside. Across the street, the cluster of trees is a brilliant contrast to the City’s shining skyline that rises up behind.
The staircase is also a real showstopper. Almost everyone who viewed let out an involuntary “wow” on seeing it. In fact, we still get a constant stream of enquiries from the photos, even though we rented out the apartment months ago! Developed by Manhattan Loft Corporation around 25 years ago, Piers Gough’s design for Bankside Lofts has proved surprisingly timeless. It still feels incredibly current, and that’s not something you can say about many buildings from the 1990s.
Danny: I don’t see many converted courthouses. They haven’t been turned into apartments in the way that so many Victorian school buildings have. Does that say something about society? I couldn’t say. Nonetheless, converted courthouses are a rarity. And when the building is a 1901 Queen Anne Revival style, and the interior design carries such a strong influence of Singapore, they’re even rare still. I think we can safely say we’re in unique territory!
I loved coming here for viewings, not least because of all that dark wood. We can shy away from it in favour of lighter oak and birch, but the richness here is truly striking, and the photos are stunning. (I can’t wait to do one of these about bedrooms because the master suite here is truly something else.) But living rooms it is, and I love the three distinct spaces of living room, dining room and kitchen that open into each other. You can use them separately or hold a massive banquet running all the way through. Amazing!
Simon: This place feels like owning a piece of history. The building is named after Alfred Dunbar, an 18th-century wine merchant who stored his barrels here. Everything’s here: loading bay doors, exposed bricks, beams for days and fabulous industrial windows. It’s such a massive space, and keeping little details like the original winches and pulleys makes it absolutely pop.
Before we sold it, people were always surprised on viewings because the apartment isn’t an apartment; it’s actually a freehold house! I love the outlook over Limekiln Dock, a small inlet off the Thames that alternates between lapping waters and a muddy beach with the changing of the tides. And if you pop your head outside the loading bay doors and look to the right, you can see the boats sailing up and down the river beyond the unusual pedestrian swing bridge at the entrance to the dock.
Simon: This house isn’t built yet, so I can’t say what it’s like to stand inside, but I’m so excited about the concept that I just had to include it. Cloud House is going to be like nothing else. It’s a sort of futuristic art deco fantasy, with heavenly views through full-height arched windows. Where do you ever see those? The plans, images and sheer imagination of the architect bode really well for the finished design. Actually, I could easily see the house become a favourite jewel in London’s architectural crown.
I really hope Cloud House becomes a feature of the Open House festival because it could inspire a radical leap in home design. I love how it’s an utterly visionary space that still manages to revel in art deco influences. Most new buildings want nothing to do with the past, but we have a rich architectural history. It’s loved by millions, defines our cities and gives people genuine comfort. If we can celebrate the best of it while creating living spaces for the future, then I’m all for it.
Want to see more unique London living rooms?
Even though our tour is at an end, you can still enjoy more inspirational homes. Click here to discover six of the best London workshop conversions and coach houses. Next month, join us for six of the best reimagined Victorian houses – we’re looking forward to seeing you there!