Set behind a striking, classical façade, this lateral three-bedroom apartment lies on the lower-ground floor of a Grade-II listed Georgian townhouse between Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell. Finished in a palette of rich jewel-like colours, the interiors are flooded with natural light from two private courtyard gardens. Having recently undergone a full refurbishment by the interior designer Alicia Mellish, the current owner has been careful to respect the early 19th-century integrity of the building while incorporating contemporary additions like a bespoke kitchen. A 10-minute walk from Russell Square, the apartment is wonderfully connected in its central location.
Setting the Scene
Built circa 1811, the grand townhouse is a fine example of Neo-Palladian architecture. Refined in form, the building takes inspiration from classical greats such as Palladio and Inigo Jones. With a plain brick façade and stucco band on the first floor, the exterior is elegant yet refined; the only point of embellishment is the around entrance, which has a stucco door surround, pilasters, projecting cornice and a radial fanlight. Listed in 1973 for its historical importance, the house was converted into apartments, with great attention paid to the conservation of the building. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
Entry to the home is via a long hallway, which forms the main artery to the apartment. With concealed spotlight lighting, the hallway has been finished in a neutral, putty shade with contrasting Farrow and Ball green trims on the skirting and doorframes.
At the front of the plan, an expansive kitchen and reception room are lit on both sides by a front window and a large French door overlooking a private, internal courtyard. Hardwood flooring runs underfoot, and cabinetry has been painted in a complementary vibrant ‘Raddichi’ by Farrow and Ball. An antique mirrored backsplash and hardy Corian stone worktops are topped with Pooky work lighting. There is room for a dining table to seat eight comfortably, and there is a separate reception space with bookcases and a concealed television cabinet.
Adjacent to the kitchen and reception room is a bedroom, currently utilised as an office and studio space. Tongue and groove panelling and bespoke shelving have been painted a soothing shade of green. Opposite the room is a handy utility, which could also be used as a second office.
At the rear of the plan is the large primary bedroom suite. The room has been painted in a deep green by Farrow and Ball and has two large French doors overlooking one of the courtyard gardens. A bank of wardrobes and an en suite shower room complete the space.
The bright second bedroom also overlooks the courtyard. Next door is a slate-clad bathroom with a bath, an overhead shower, a vanity and a WC. There is also a useful storage room with fitted shelving.
The Great Outdoors
The apartment has two large, private courtyard gardens. The smaller of which sits between the reception room and studio; perfect for al fresco dining of a summer, the space has been finished with chequerboard tiles underfoot. The second, larger garden runs along the length of the bedrooms and utility on the plan, the courtyard has been laid with artificial grass and is large enough for entertaining or enjoying a summer breeze.
Out and About
Set between Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell, the Gray’s Inn Road is brilliantly located for central London’s best offerings. The British Library is nearby, as is the Charles Dickens Museum, the Foundling Museum, the Wellcome Collection, and Sir John Soane’s Museum. The Brunswick Centre is a 10-minute walk away and has a variety of shops, a Curzon cinema and a large Waitrose supermarket.
Lambs Conduit Street is just around the corner, offering an eclectic strip of independent boutiques, including Anya London, Alder and Green and Mochee, and creative food cooperatives in The People’s Supermarket. Lambs Conduit Street is lined with excellent restaurants and bars also regarded as one of London’s best restaurants; Noble Rot keeps an award-winning wine list and a menu of fine ‘Franglais’ dishes, while Ciao Bella has become something of an Italian institution. The restaurants and bars of Clerkenwell, Exmouth Market, Covent Garden and Soho are all within walking distance, too, as are the colleges and institutes of the University of London.
Despite its central location, there is plenty of green spaces nearby. The apartment on Gray’s Inn Road is nestled between St Andrew’s Gardens to the front and Coram’s Fields to the back. A short stroll to the south is Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London’s largest residential square, much of its design is attributed to Inigo Jones.
The nearest station is Russell Square, a 10-minute walk, running services on the Piccadilly line. Kings Cross St Pancras is approximately a 15-minute walk with frequent trains running all over the country and Eurostar connections to the continent.
Underlying Lease Length: approx. 235 years remaining
Service Charge: approx. £5,000 pa
Ground Rent: approx. £250 pa
Council Tax Band: F
The home of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn (one of England’s four Inns of Court), Gray’s Inn Road has historically been known as a hub for law and legal professions in London.
Originally the principal route from London to Hampstead, Grey’s Inn Road formed part of an ancient trackway and has been populated since the Palaeolithic times. Just off the Road, a gravel bed was the excavation spot for a 350,000-year-old hand axe discovered in 1679. Later acquired by the British Museum, the artefact was aptly named the ‘Gray’s Inn Lane Hand Axe’ and is an important object associated with the history of early British settlements.
Originally recorded as Purtepol Street (forming part of the larger Portpool Manor), the road took its current name from Baron Reginald de Gray, who founded Grey’s Inn in the 13th century. By 1468, the road was known as Gray’s Inn Lane, or ‘Graysynlane’, solidified as Gray’s Inn Road by the mid-19th century.
Given Bloomsbury’s status as London’s university and scholarly centre, Gray’s Inn Road is home to multiple institutions, including University College London, Westminster Kingsway College and the City University of London’s Inns of Court School of Law.
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