This beautiful apartment sits on the first floor of a handsome stucco-fronted Victorian house in leafy Belsize Park, in the centre of Belsize Conservation Area. Constructed circa 1860, the apartment was extensively remodelled and restored by the current owners in collaboration with Robinson van Noort architects. They sought to preserve the existing fabric of the building, with all its period details in place, while updating it for modern family life. Unfolding over 1,350 sq ft, the apartment has three bedrooms and a generous open plan living, kitchen and dining area, as well as wonderfully high ceilings throughout. A balcony sits to the rear, with pretty green views over the back of the terrace and neighbouring gardens.
Setting the Scene
Previously owned by a painter, the apartment enjoys exceptional light from both its south and north sides. Robinson van Noort’s brief was to create a space suitable for a young family, with a third bedroom that could be used as a study or family snug, while maintaining the apartment’s openness and wonderful quality of natural light. The architects successfully did this by fitting a set of 19th-century glazed doors to separate this area so that it could open to the rest of the apartment or be closed off to create a more private space. The rest of the apartment has been planned in the same way, cleverly capitalising on light and volume while ensuring that modern amenities, like additional storage and a luxurious en suite bathroom in the principal bedroom, are still abundant.
The Belsize Conservation Area is defined by mid-19th century Italianate villas such as this one. It was given conservation area status by the Borough of Camden in 1979, due to the fact that the semi-detached Victorian villas “show elaborate and consistent architectural detail and within the designated boundary there is little to detract from the unity of appearance. Belsize Village is also an area of considerable charm, the particular character of the village being one of the main justifications for designation”. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
Communal areas lined with William Morris wallpaper lead to this apartment’s front door, which is on the first floor. This opens straight into a wide hallway. To the rear of the plan is a voluminous and airy open plan living space, with exceptionally high ceilings. This south-facing room is bathed in glorious light, which enters through tall sash windows throughout the day. The space has been carefully updated: the room’s handsome original marble fireplace was retained, while new engineered oak floorboards have been installed underfoot. The kitchen, tucked around the corner, has a window above the sink, framing lovely views over gardens. Here, dark blue painted cabinetry is set against marble worktops. There is a brilliant freestanding island in the middle of the kitchen; with the addition of chairs, this would make a lovely breakfast area.
The apartment has a brilliant flow, with two doors leading out of this open plan area into the corridor. Here, a set of 19th-century glazed doors open to the study. The wonderfully flexible room has been used in previous years as a guest bedroom, and would make a cosy snug for winter evenings.
Two bedrooms are located at the front of the apartment; the principal bedroom has a luxurious en suite bathroom, tucked behind an internal window. The en suite’s stone sink has been fitted with two ceramic basins, with a shower is around the corner. The second bedroom shares the rest of the apartment’s wonderfully high ceilings and has a floor-to-ceiling sash window. There is also a separate shared bathroom, complete with a freestanding yellow-painted bathtub.
The apartment is filled with clever storage solutions, including a coat cupboard tucked next to the front door. A loft, the perfect spot for storing suitcases, has been created above part of the hallway. There is also a separate dressing room, which services the principal bedroom.
The Great Outdoors
A curved balcony sits on the south side of the building and enjoys the afternoon and evening sun, making this a perfect spot for watching the sunset over nearby rooftops. With charming views and wisteria climbing up the rear façade of the house, the terrace is surrounded by greenery. This is a quiet and peaceful perch from which to enjoy an evening drink.
Out and About
Belsize Park Gardens is in a fantastic position, just a short walk from the shops, restaurants and pubs of Belsize Village, Swiss Cottage, Haverstock Hill and England’s Lane. Hampstead Theatre, a gym, a spa and two cinemas, including an Everyman, are all in walking distance, as is a Waitrose on Finchley Road. To the north, Hampstead Village and the vast open spaces of Hampstead Heath are easily accessible. Many of London’s best independent schools are walking distance from the apartment, including The Hall, St Antony’s, South Hampstead High School, St Christopher’s, Trevor Roberts and Sarum Hall.
Three nearby underground stations are minutes from the house: Swiss Cottage (Jubilee line) Belsize Park (Northern line) and Finchley Road (Jubilee and Metropolitan lines).
Council Tax Band: G
Tenure: Share of Freehold
Underlying Lease Length: approx. 991 years remaining
Service Charge: Approx. £920 per annum
Ground Rent: approx. N/A
Before the Industrial Revolution (1760 to 1840), the land between the northern edge of London and the settlement of Hampstead was largely open land, mostly in agricultural use, with its scattered farms and farmhouses. At the time, the current conservation area was split between two landowners. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster owned the northern section of the Belsize area, since the early 14th-century, whilst to the south was given to Eton College by Henry VI in 1449.
The name Belsize is believed to be a derivation of the French for beautifully situated, ‘bel assis’. Indeed a map from 1745 shows Belsize House; a large house arranged around a courtyard, surrounded by extensive gardens with views over London to the south. There was also Upper Chalcot Farm (on the southern edge of the present conservation area), with a track leading to the farm which now corresponds with Englands Lane. Other than these two residences, the surrounding land was mostly farmed.
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