Published in City A.M., Nov ’19
When you think of Los Angeles, you probably imagine broad, sun-drenched streets, palm trees and the kind of airy, modern villas that we see on TV and in the movies.
It doesn’t have much in common with rainy London – but that didn’t deter the designers of a new home in Notting Hill, who set out to replicate the LA vibe on the site of a former car garage.
Project manager LXA and architect Gebler Tooth utilised space between existing buildings to create The California – a spacious five bedroom, five bathroom home off Hereford Road, which also has two large reception rooms, a patio and a roof terrace. The property’s size is masked by its discreet street entrance, a feature which the designers have likened to Marrakech’s famous riads.
“It is a Narnia site – it has a tiny little entrance gate at the front, and then you walk through a narrow corridor and the whole building opens out in front of you,” says David Rees, managing director at LXA. “It feels secure because you’re 50 yards away from the street, and there are three levels of security before you get in – which makes it a great family home.”
Inside, a 20ft atrium links the three storeys, bringing light into the home which was largely built underground due to planning constraints. The roof can be opened in the event of LA-style weather, and is thought to be the largest retractable glass ceiling in a London home.
“You feel as if you are outside all the time,” Rees says. “A lot of other properties in the Notting Hill area are classic Victorian semis, but this is a completely unique proposition. It is a contemporary, modernist building.”
The interiors are elegant and minimalistic, with dark wood flooring, white linen soft furnishings, olive accents and modern art pieces on the walls. The home has also been fitted with under-floor heating and computerised smart lighting.
LXA and Gebler Tooth developed the home speculatively, but it has now been bought by a London family who were attracted by its unique features. “They felt there was nothing else like this around,” says Rees. “They didn’t want to change anything, and they even kept the art that we put on the walls.”