Authentic industrial conversions are less common in west London. New to the Warehouse Home property portfolio, the Penthouse Observatory has quickly become one of the most exciting warehouse apartments for sale this side of the capital. Occupying the entire top floor of a Victorian warehouse, which later went on to become a paint factory, the penthouse offers sizeable accommodation over 3,000 sq ft. Here, the property's most recent resident describes the conversion’s lofty rooftop conservatory and explains why they are finding it hard to leave behind.
How long have you enjoyed living in your property and what first attracted you to it?
I bought The Penthouse Observatory in November 2002. I moved in on 14th February 2003, after three and a half months of renovations. What first attracted you to it? The silence and extraordinary quiet, only five floors up from the street level, and of course the incredible 360 degree views of the full London skylines, right to the horizon in every direction.
Where did you reside before you lived in the Penthouse Observatory?
Opposite Kew Gardens, which was lovely as Kew Gardens was literally at the end of my driveway. Before then I lived in a loft of a beautiful building in Maida Vale, right on the canal. Previous to this I lived in St Quintin’s Avenue in Notting Hill Gate.
How long did it take you to find your property?
I really wasn’t looking for a new home when I found The Penthouse Observatory. I was helping a friend complete a job application in Wyfold Road and came across Brandon House. The gate was open and I was curious about the history of this 1880 Victorian Warehouse. I therefore stopped to ask someone more about it.
“Once I moved into The Penthouse Observatory I saw the sunset every single day, and was always amazed, on a daily basis, by how beautiful it is.”
Have you altered the building at all since you first purchased it?
I have completely renovated three times – initially when I first moved in 2002 to 2003. This is when most of the features that you see now were introduced. In 2010 I renovated again, moving out of The Penthouse Observatory to do so for three months. I wanted to bring the property back to an immaculate state and to modernise and freshen up the features. Recently I hired Helena Jackson Property Management on 12th February 2018, to complete a third and final renovation, as I would like to hand over the property to a new owner in really good condition. All in all, between the three renovations, I would imagine that I’ve spent at least GBP 550,000.
What is your favourite room in the Penthouse Observatory and why?
What I love about The Penthouse Observatory is the 55 sq ft reception room. This acts as a living room, dining room and sitting room. The room is incredibly peaceful and you are really in the elements, meaning that when the sun rises you can see the colours in the sky change in every direction. Before I moved into The Penthouse Observatory I didn’t realise that London has pink and orange sunsets literally every single day. In fact I don’t think I’d ever seen one. In contrast, once I moved into The Penthouse Observatory I saw the sunset every single day, and was always amazed, on a daily basis, by how beautiful it is. This room is also topped with the conservatory. So even when it rains, it is incredibly exciting because you hear the sound of the rain and see lighting across the London skylines, far in to the horizon in many directions. I used to be miserable when it rained in London, but once I moved into The Penthouse Observatory I looked forward to it! The gentle sound of the rain was very soothing, and on the rare occasion when there is a lot of rain, there is literally a symphony of water while you are warm inside by the fireplace. Also at night, pretty much every night of the month you can see the moon and the stars. Again, I’d never seen these in London, whereas at The Penthouse Observatory the stars and the moon are literally the ceiling, due to the amazing roof top conservatory.
How have you found living in the local area?
I loved living in the area for the following reasons – in Munster Road itself there are lots of small quirky cafes and restaurants. Unlike other areas in London, you never had to book and could be completely spontaneous in deciding which to visit. There are good Italian, Thai, Mexican, French and Indian, restaurants. They are all incredibly reasonably priced, including a Bring Your Own Bottle fantastic Thai restaurant. This meant I could literally afford to eat out every day as these cafes and restaurants cost not much more than a takeaway and only slightly more expensive than cooking at home. The other special thing about the area is Bishops Park and Fulham Cemetery. Both are five minutes’ walk and quite charming and beautiful. It’s rare to be able to live in London and have such extensive, quiet, rarely visited beautiful kept green areas. On specials occasions, or when I needed to entertain The River Café is walking distance. To have these kinds of fabulous restaurants and beautiful river walks so close by, is also very special for any city. Along the river, there are lots of pubs that have been there for hundreds of years and are still welcoming and delicious. In addition, it really suited me that the A3 & M3 are so close by, as exiting from London to visit friends and family on the weekend was very quick and easy through Hammersmith or Putney. Finally, having the airport only 20 minutes from home was very convenient indeed as I travel a lot. The unique thing about The Penthouse Observatory is that it is so open to the elements, that I often had to remind myself to go out. With the roof garden to entertain and spend time on and so much space, light and experience of natural elements within the property, I’d sometimes realise that I hadn’t noticed that I hadn’t left home for a week!
What is your favourite bar, cafe, coffee shop, pub or restaurant that is local to the Penthouse Observatory?
Too many to mention here, but, definitely all the cafes and restaurants in Munster Road will become anyone’s favourites. It’s very much a village atmosphere and the owners of these cafes, restaurants, coffee shops treat regular neighbours especially well and make sure that our loyalty is always compensated with neighbourly discounts.
Why are you selling the Penthouse Observatory?
People ask why I decided to sell now, at a time which is possibly tough and whilst the London market is relatively subdued. The reason is that I would like to invest quite a lot of the equity I have made in the property into charitable programmes in Northern Mozambique, specifically in an area called Quirimbas National Park. This is an area that suffers from great poverty and where people live on no more than $45 per annum. As a result, there are little to no schools, no health clinics whatsoever, and there is a great deal to be done, both from a humanitarian perspective and also for wildlife conservation and protection of flora and fauna. Indeed, the Quirimbas Archipelago is one of the world’s remaining pristine and valuable coral reefs and the marine life and reef require urgent preservation efforts. It has very recently become threatened by Exxon Mobil and other oil and gas drilling.
Where are you relocating to?
I have already moved to Saadiyat Island in Dubai. I am sad to let go of my London home, which I love very much. However, I have been very lucky to own more than one beautiful property and I do feel that now is time for someone else to enjoy The Penthouse Observatory. I guess it's a good deal because not only will the new homeowner get a beautiful new home, but they'll be funding investment into charitable work in Northern Mozambique, and new social enterprises on Saadiyat Island in 2019.