Portobello Road, W11
Once upon a time, conversions of industrial buildings into uber-trendy loft apartments were all the rage. Warehouses, factories and even public toilets were turned into urban pads, some successfully and some not so successfully. One of the best examples, though, was The Telephone Exchange in Portobello Road.
Unlike some industrial buildings that simply did not lend themselves well to residential use, the floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings and terraces were the perfect setting for these trendy apartments. What’s more, the location could not be more perfect – a quiet little turning just off Portobello Road.
Stepping inside the front door, the open-plan reception room to the left of the entrance hall tempted you into the impressive space. The owners of this unique flat really made great use of the building’s high ceilings and resisted the temptation to cover the immaculate Crittal windows, allowing the light to flood the space. With a terrace just beyond, the view is onto the green expanses of Notting Hill’s towering plane trees above. Wide wooden floorboards reflected the light while minimal interiors including a Bulthaup kitchen with ‘floating units’ contributed to the aesthetic – a perfect blend of the industrial and homely.
Speaking of the dramatic renovation, the owners said, “The transformation took about a year from start to finish. Although we wanted to give the property a clean, contemporary edge, it was also important to us to make sure we framed this transformation against a backdrop of some original features. The elements we protected or reinstated were the original fireplaces, existing timber balustrades and the windows, and we even upcycled some of the old furniture that we ‘inherited’ when we bought the property.”
The Telephone Exchange is arguably the best industrial conversion in west London and is a little urban oasis in a buzzing location.