Even in a neighbourhood full of illustrious addresses, Pont Street, with its ornate terraces built in the Queen Anne/Dutch Revival style, has to rate as one of Chelsea’s grandest. NZ Architects were handed a dream of a brief when they were asked to carve out a garden penthouse from apartments spanning three blocks of the distinctive red-brick buildings, so characteristic of this area.
With 4,300 sq ft to play with, and some inherited perks – such as incredible views north towards Harrods from the top-floor barbecue roof terrace, and south over Cadogan Square from the three interconnected reception rooms – NZ, in collaboration with Kitesgrove design studio, have created something pretty special. It’s a high-spec eyrie, five and six storeys above the bustle of Chelsea that merges old and new. It also combines interior and exterior, to provide a calm and cosy haven, with beautifully proportioned living areas, multiple garden views from different vantage points, and quiet, luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms.
“Our concept was to create a new focus, a verdant, airy garden at the heart of the home, around which all the spaces revolve,” explains Nicholas Zervoglos of NZ Architects. “This creates an element of surprise on arrival, as well as a two-level entertaining space, which celebrates the heritage roofscape and long-distance views over London.”
A lift delivers you to an entrance hall directly facing the new garden. Hidden from the street, the space is planted but also furnished as if it were a sitting room. The same three-tone grey stone paving runs from the hall out into the garden and effectively makes the inside and outside one space, while the geometric pattern of the tiles gives a subtle, dappled-light effect. Slim, steel-framed Crittall-style windows mark the divide, and are repeated as screens between the old and the newer rooms for a sense of lightness and transparency.
Combined with the cool whites and greys of the walls, warm oak parquet flooring in the original spaces, and painstakingly restored listed beams in the high-ceilinged living rooms, the overall effect is to make the home feel both contemporary and classic with, as Zervoglos puts it, “a unique sense of place”. In addition, interior design specialist Kitesgrove has sourced fabrics and trimmings from premium brands to complete the look of simplicity and luxury, such as Holland and Sherry wool and Vanderhurd embroidery.
The current owner is a collector of art and design, and wanted the refurbishment to embrace bespoke craftsmanship and customised pieces, giving the space a sense of intrigue and discovery. As Kitesgrove comments, the property has a wonderful feeling of space and light, with a playful interaction between exterior and interior. This really is a unique apartment filled with character, comfort and a sense of home.