The Rising Across the River

Along the Thames, south of the river, rejuvenation is taking place, like a phoenix rising- ‘new London’ is emerging.  Historically, north of the Thames has always been more desirable, its popularity tangible just by glancing at a tube map; one can see the connectivity north of the river is incomparable to the south; with more than 200 tube stations north, the south has only around 30 tube stations.

But there is a transformation occurring, long gone is the wasteland and Oliver Twist characters associated with the geography of the area, and in its place an exciting new cultural hub, set to thrive. Apartments spanning from Wandsworth to Woolwich are seeing professionals and investors flock to the area. Largely credited with the development of Canary Wharf, the creation of the Jubilee Line, the Docklands Light Railway and the London overground. One area of particular interest is that of Nine Elms, below we take a look why…

Nine Elms

Situated between Vauxhall and Battersea in the borough of Wandsworth, there are a number of exciting developments taking place in the area, including the Tower, Merano, the New Covent Garden Market and the New Thames Bridge. London’s Mayor Boris Johnson estimates that the regeneration will create around 24,000 more jobs and 18,000 new homes.

Historically home to timber yards, gasworks and breweries, Nine Elms now looks set to be a destination filled with restaurants, boutiques and green parks, with foodies drawn to the New Covent Garden Market. It is thought the area will house concerts, exhibitions and fashion shows and with the Tate Britain very close it is the perfect location for a cultural exchange of the arts.

The New Covent Garden Market received planning permission for its development last year. The wholesale market has been a focal point for the capitals fruit, vegetables and floral trade since 1974. The 10-year project will cost roughly around two billion pounds, and will seek to put it on even footing with London’s other famous food market- London’s Borough Market. There will be 50,000 square feet of market space, with a new dedicated food quarter focused on attracting new visitors. The New Covent Garden Market currently homes 200 businesses, with at least 2,500 people employed.

Battersea Power Station is an iconic building and it’s development therefore all the more exciting, with it seeming to draw a great deal of interest from investors. The London landmark looks set to be completed in 2016, originally built in the early 1930’s, the power station closed in 1983; it’s now set to be developed into apartments, shops and offices.

The New Thames Bridge will be a pedestrian and cycle bridge that will adjoin Nine Elms to Pimlico across the river. The exhibition, showcasing some of the 70 plus entries that were received, took place at the end of last month in the area (one of the entries can be seen on the left). The designs include the incorporation of waterfalls, lights and are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, and whatever the final design chosen it is sure to become a London landmark of the future.

Other notable developments set to take place within Nine Elms include The Tower, a residential building standing at 590 feet high; it will become one of Europe’s largest residential buildings. With a focus on sustainability and lowering environmental impact, the 56-storey tower has wind turbines on its roof.


Merano, once an office block in the 1960’s, will also house a range of new apartments, 34 in total, the 11-storey high rise building has a private sky garden and prides itself on the privacy of its tenants, it also boasts Harrods concierge as its service staff.

This area, once previously neglected, is a perfect location to explore the city, the Houses of Parliament are within walking distance and with a new tube station set to open in the area by 2020, it will be easier than ever to connect to other boroughs. Nine Elms was once associated with vagabonds, prostitutes, and pickpockets but is now likely to be known for its flash residential areas and as a hub for overseas investors in the future.








Living Small

An increasing number of people are choosing to downsize; opting to live in a smaller home, the benefits of ‘tiny’ living have long been enjoyed in countries such as Japan and the concept is spreading to the West. Smaller living spaces cost less as naturally the bills are cheaper, meaning the cost of living is reduced as well as the environmental impact. The key is simplicity; to be innovative with spaces, de-clutter your life, as Leonardo Da Vinci once said “small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it.” Below we take a look at some ‘tiny’ living spaces for inspiration.

This 280 square foot home was designed by Chris Heininge, the small space was transformed to include a kitchen, bathroom and even a bedroom on the first floor. The bedroom has ample space to fit a queen sized bed, whilst downstairs it comes equipped with a DVD player, microwave/oven, TV, stove and fridge. The bathroom even has a large closet for extra storage space and has had a Jacuzzi bath and shower fitted. The house itself is small enough to fit on a 20’ flat bed trailer, whilst the roof can be removed and the upper walls folded down so transportation is easier. This tiny home costs $70,000 in the US, which with current exchange rates would be roughly £46,000. The home can be shipped to Britain at the buyers expense.

The ‘Hermit cabin’ designed by Arvesund, a Swedish based company is the perfect ‘backyard home’, just one single room the hermits cabin’s exterior and interior is made from attractive barn timber. Each hermit cabin is custom made, with insulated floors, walls and roofs.









Studiomama beach chalet is another fine example of minimalist living, this 388 square foot beach hut was the brain child of London designer Nina Tolstrup. The beach hut has both a dining and living room area, a kitchen, bathroom, and the chalet benefits from two bedrooms. The beach chalet is elevated on stilts to prevent flooding and has a large front window with spectacular views of the sea.

This 205 square foot ‘Box Home’ manages to fit a living, dining, bedroom and bathroom area into a silver rectangular prism design. Clad with wood inside and its exterior covered in metal, it was designed by Sami Rintala. The inside of the prism is fairly dark, but this does nothing to deter from its striking modernistic look.

This ‘Single Hauz’ is a visually impressive design; modern and sleek this small home was designed by a Polish architectural firm called ‘Front architects’, this prototype is designed with a single person in mind. The raised design means the ‘single hauz’ can be built above water; made using concrete, steel and wood, the ‘single hauz’ is an attractive option for those wanting to opt for a simpler living space.


Larger homes have always been associated with wealth but as more and more people see the benefits of de-scaling and downsizing their lives, the rise in smaller properties and living spaces looks set to increase. As the Greek philosopher Socrates once said “the secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less,” as more embrace the benefits of smaller living spaces, it may herald the future of architectural design for homes.

London’s Flagship Stores Showcase their Creative Christmas Displays

This year London town flagship stores have come over all whimsical and seized all things magical and make-believe, enchanted forests, fairytales and festive fantasy. We take a look at some of the iconic department stores creative takes on this years Christmas.


400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, London. W1U 1AB

This year Selfridges have embraced the classic fairytale theme; their windows depict the stories of Sleeping Beauty, the Ugly Duckling, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin, Paddington Bear and Santa Clause. An installation with the words ‘Destination Christmas’ hangs above the Oxford Street entrance with a large Golden Goose at its centre. Inside the store 197,000 baubles in five different colours hang from the ceiling, alongside 1,005 decorated Christmas trees. The storytelling theme sees the Ugly Duckling depicted by a mannequin wearing an AF Vandevorst dress made with feathers. Sleeping Beauty is sat next to a spinning wheel, a spiders web hangs down behind her, with glamorous high heels and jewelled bags attached to it, under the warm hue of the lights the glow emitted from the golden spray paint they are all covered in is magical.

Linda Hewson, the creative director of Selfridges describes this year’s window display as “doing fairytales and enchanted stories with a Selfridges twist.”


87-135 Brompton Road, Kingsbridge, London. SW3 1RT

This year Harrods have transformed their store with their theme ‘The Land of Make Believe.’ The windows showcase International and British designer goods, including fashion, beauty and toys. Designers such as Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson were brought in store to revolutionize the Brompton Road store ready for Christmas. The collections displayed in the windows are flanked by large extravagant toys, such as teddy bears, a jack in the box, an army of toy soldiers, a rotating ballerina and a troupe of white mice dressed in Harrods traditional green uniform. The mice also feature in Harrods first animated film, which tells the story of Harrods famous Christmas lights that adorn the building every year. Deborah Bee Director of Creative Marketing said “The Land of Make Believe brings the festive magic of the store to life.”

Liberty of London

Regent Street, Soho, London. W1B 5AH

Following the trend of Christmas classics and magical touches that Harrods and Selfridges seem to have employed, Liberty’s windows this year depict the ‘12 days of Christmas’, the concept entitled ‘The Imaginarium’ sees the window displays interpretating the well known lines of the Christmas carol. Two turtle doves are realised by two taxidermy white doves that are embellished with crystals, they are taking flight off the back of an intricate silver and white sleigh. Rich blues, oranges and gold’s set against Narnia-esque whites, silvers and glitter, crystals and mirrors.

John Lewis

278-306 Oxford Street, Marylebone, London. W1A 1EX

Oxford Street’s John Lewis store have incorporated their advertising campaign of the story of a little boy and his penguin friend Monty onto the rooftop or their store, which has been transformed into ‘Monty’s Winter Garden’ and inside the store John Lewis and Microsoft have collaborated to create ‘Monty’s Magical Toy Machine.’ Every window of the flagship store features Monty and his friends, coupled with the slogan ‘For the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of’, whether it be Monty and friends frolicking on electrical appliances, baking up a storm in the kitchen or dancing alongside six mannequins modelling party wear. John Lewis embraced the theme of Monty the penguin this year, with an array of merchandise available in store too.

Harvey Nichols

109-125 Knightsbridge, London. SW1X 7RJ

Harvey Nichols launched Christmas with their ‘Into the Woods’ campaign, which sees sisters Snow White and Rose Red in a themed online fashion film, in dramatic fairy tale fashion. The store has rolled out the ‘Enchanted Forest’ theme in their Knightsbridge stores Christmas windows, with scenes depicting the fantasy woodland and mannequins transformed into woodland creatures. Dressed in must have designs from McQueen, Lanvin and many more, the mannequins are illuminated by beams of light reflecting off grand metallic tree trunks, that have been draped in this years most wanted accessories. The 3D forest scenes took 600 hours to build following a year in the planning, 210 Christmas trees also contribute to decorating the iconic store. Head of Display Janet Wardley said “we wanted to bring to life a fairytale landscape that makes you immerse yourself into the magic.”

It is beginning to look a lot like

In the market for a fast sale?

Selling your house can be a time-consuming affair lasting months, the average length of time across the UK is 65 days, places such as Powys in Wales have a much slower selling rate with the average sale taking a pain-staking 113 days. If you live in Cambridge, the fastest selling spot, you’re likely to sell your house within 27 days and Lewisham, Sutton, Waltham Forest, Hackney, Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley in London also have very good selling potential, with property selling very quickly. However if you aren’t lucky enough to live in an area in demand there are a number of ways, which we’ve outlined below that can help to fast track the sale of your home.

1. Appearance

Technically your home is on the stage so it needs to look its best, company ‘Housewow’ is a home-staging firm available to hire, they recommend spending 2% of the asking price on sprucing your home up. It is worth deep-cleaning carpets, buying flowers, de-cluttering, plumping cushions, hiring furniture, painting the walls neutral colours and creating space.

2. Time and Flexibility

If you can keep your home looking its best at all times and are prepared to take viewings at very short notice, especially over the weekend, you’re increasing your chances of a quick sale. Listing your house on a Friday means that those planning their weekend house-hunt will see your property, as it will be at the higher end of the property search engines due to its recent listing. Also it helps if you can agree to move on a date that suits the potential new buyer, even if it is of an inconvenience for you, if you do as much as possible to please them it will increase your chances of a sale.

3. Price

It isn’t always best to go for the highest valuation believe it or not, although the appeal of the estate agent who says it is worth £10,000 more than the last is great, it can cost you money in the long run, if the market changes and your still sitting on the house a year later it could well have lost you that possible £10,000 and more. It is better to go with an agent with a strong portfolio of success in selling property like your own.

4. Broadcast

The more people who know you are selling the more likely you’ll find someone to sell to. Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and of course word-of-mouth.

5. Pack up

Put your things away, the clutter of your daily life and the photos that record it aren’t appealing to a new home buyer, they want to envision their future home and by clearing out your memories it enables them to do so, if you can do this before the photos are taken by the agent all the better.

6. Area

If your not selling in a conservation area make your next investment in one, it is an almost guarantee for buyers and sellers that the value of houses in conservation areas are unlikely to drop.

7. Paperwork

Have the title deeds prepared, it is almost always delays in legalities that slow a sale down, if you’ve had an extension you’ll need to have evidence of the planning consent too. It is delays that give a prospective buyer the chance to re-consider and pull out so do everything in your power to minimize the risk of it occurring.

8. Communicate

Endlessly send emails every few days to all those involved: estate agents, solicitors, and surveyors. Approach the sale of your house as a business deal, if you treat it with professionalism and punctuality it will make others follow suit, they won’t want to look incompetent in front of others so will work hard not to.

9. Brochure

The quality and detailing of the brochure is important, it is worth including information on the neighbourhood, floor plans and a detailed description of each room. If the agent cannot do this find another one.

10. Incentives

Consider offering the agent a very small percentage if they manage to exchange within six weeks, say an additional 0.5%, it could be the impetus they need to ensure you a fast sale

Peckham- No Longer for Only Fools

Why Now?

In fact, Peckham has long ago shifted the idea it was ‘only for fools’, if you have money to invest it is best to put historical prejudices aside and seriously consider the area of South-East London; with crime and murder no longer defining the area, it has been attracting a new crowd from Shoreditch and East London. With trendy bars and pop-up summertime hangouts and an evolving art scene it is the place to be. The closeness of the art schools in New Cross and Camberwell has attracted a new set that only further encourages the big art scene.

There is a new middle-class vibe to Peckham, with an overflow of buyers from East Dulwich and Clapham, and with spacious parks, excellent schools and cheap property it is attracting more and more families.

What investment is there in the area?

Peckham has already benefited from investment in the late 90’s, with the demolition of many old council estates and a variety of private investment, there is a vast variety of bars, restaurants, galleries, cafés and boutique shops.

The ten-storey Peckham Rye car park is being called upon by a group of young artists to be transformed into an arts centre, with the £10 million pound project estimated to create 500 new jobs.

There are also plans to refurbish the Peckham Rye station and rumours of pedestrianising Rye Lane that is still awash with pound shops.

According to the premier estates GJM Gareth James Property in the area Peckham is the “hottest investment spot in the UK for properties under £1.5 million”.

Where to buy?

Peckham has some fantastic architecture, for instant the Georgian and Victorian houses situated on Bellenden Road, once an area best avoided reach up to and more than £1 million pounds these days. SE15 is an area where there are numerous growth opportunities so it is good for those looking to invest. North Peckham could be a wise investment; Queen’s Road prices are still relatively low but should still see a hike following regeneration of the area. In terms of a buy-to-let portfolio Peckham is invaluable, with the rent yields above the London average.

Transport Links

Peckham has benefited by the East London line extension, on the new over ground service you can reach London Bridge within 7-10 minutes, Victoria within 13 minutes. Direct trains also run to Kings Cross within 23 minutes, as well as Blackfriars, St Pancreas, Farringdon and Elephant and Castle.

Its close proximity to London Bridge also makes Peckham attractive, as it is easy to reach The South Bank, where visits to The Tate Modern, The London Eye and The Globe Theatre always prove popular.

Lovely London this July

The City is enjoying lighter evenings and finer weather and what better way to enjoy the delights of London this summer than to visit one of the following attractions the City has to offer.


Lovebox festival is held over two-days in East London’s Victoria Park, this year the festival takes place over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of July. This year’s headliners are Chase & Status; arguably the UK’s biggest electronic act. Lovebox festival is now in its 11th year outdoors after beginning in 2002 in London’s night club 93 Feet East, founded by Groove Armada, the festival has grown steadily over the past decade. Lovebox’s line-up this year includes Katy B, David Rodigan, Knytro and A$AP Rocky, Nas, M.I.A and Soul II Soul. The festival takes place daily from 7am until dusk, see for more details.

Somerset house Summer Series

One of London’s most spectacular settings for live music is Somerset House, and now in it’s fifth year in partnership with American Express the Summer Series is back from the 10-20th July. Headliners this year include Bastille, Franz Ferninand, The Cat Empire and Daughter. The Summer Series opens daily at 19:30, with general admission costing £28.50 plus a booking fee. For more information see

London Zoo Late

London Zoo late night openings begun in June and continue every Friday in July, with admission from 18:00 and tickets costing £17.50, (or £38 with a drink, queue jump and animal mask) there are events in the Zoo including talks, comedy, theatre, carousel rides and an acoustic stage. There are 175,000 animals in London Zoo and July is an opportunity to visit them during the balmy summer evenings. Alongside the main attraction of the animals there is wine tasting, pop-up bars and street food vendors. London late nights in the Zoo are for age 18+, for more information visit their website at

BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall

Penned as one of the greatest classical music festivals the first night of the Proms begins on July 18th and opens with Elgar’s biblical oratorio ‘The Kingdom’, lasting two months in total this year will commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war, the focus being on the works of many wartime composers and as well as music and songs that document the conflict. For information on how to purchase tickets please see

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Held in Hampton Court Palace from 8th July to 13th this summer, it is the largest annual flower show of its kind. Not only can you gaze at the beautiful floral displays but you can also pick up tips of gardening and how to grow your own fruit and vegetables, the effect of climate change on your gardens and appropriate garden products to purchase.

There are roughly fifty gardening displays, including water gardens and innovative garden designs. The marquees are filled with hundreds of the best flowers the UK has to offer and floristry is a large part of the six-day event. For more information visit

An over-night stay with a difference

Looking for a romantic night away in a hotel with a twist? We’ve found the following four hotels across Europe, which will mean your vacation is one with a difference; from a private Fort, to a cave, a hotel made entirely from salt and a suite set 155 metres underground.


The abandoned caves of the Basilicata village in the South of Italy have been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel over the past ten-years. The caves are a designated part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The ‘Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita’ hotel is situated in eighteen caves in total, all of which are known to have been inhabited for the past 2,500 years: since the Bronze Age.

The hotel is just part of the buildings that have been carved into the mountainside; the Sassi, which literally translates to ‘rocks’. The hotel is the brainchild of Swedish-Italian entrepreneur Daniel Kihlgren, his vision means the caves interiors have been kept minimalistic with a touch of luxury including candles, fireplaces, deep bath tubs and windows with spectacular views of the Italian hills.

The dining area is set in the 13th-century church, Cripta della Civita, where you can enjoy a locally sourced breakfast; the hotel is the perfect romantic setting, with double rooms from £150 per night.

No Man’s Land Fort in the sea is a hotel that is only accessible via helicopter or speed boat, with neighbours no less than a mile away it is an escape that could be straight from a Bond movie. The private island was built between 1867 and 1880 and will open as a resort to members of the public this autumn. The property is Grade II listed, with 22 bedrooms, a gym, nightclub, rooftop hot poll, a museum and a poolroom. The fort lies in the Solent between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and was originally built to house roughly 80 soldiers as protection in the event of an attack from the French Navy. The resort is currently on the lookout for a manager before its launch later in the year.


The ‘Palacio del Sal Hotel’ in Bolivia is completely constructed from salt, with the majority of walls, floors, ceilings and furniture all made from the white substance. The hotel is located in the Port of Colchani, just 25km away from the city of Uyuni and on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. The hotel is constructed of around 1 million 14-inch salt blocks; guests can relax inside the hotel in the sauna, steam room or saltwater pool and whirlpool rooms, although they are prohibited from licking the walls, as it may cause degradation of the hotel. The hotel sleeps up to 48 guests at any given time, with prices starting from £85 a night.

A visit to Sala Silvermine, Sweden could mean a visit to the world’s deepest hotel room, in such that as a guest you will sleep 155 metres underground in a previous working mine. It is cold, dark and damp but beautiful, maybe best avoided by those who suffer claustrophobia though. Winding galleries and deep cavities surround the Mine’s suite; guests need to wear warm clothing, as it is only 2 degrees Celsius in the mine, although the suite is a comfortable 18 degrees. A member of staff is contactable throughout your stay above ground via an intercom radio and bathroom facilities are situated 50 metres from the mine suite.

Six places to consider when buying-to-let?

In our last blog post we looked at why London yields such property price potential on the buy-to-let market, this time the spotlight is on the following six areas and what the benefits of investment there are in these locations.


Nunhead is bustling with young professionals and young families, with a busy high street and the cemetery offering spectacular views of St Paul’s Cathedral it offers a slightly cheaper alternative to investment than East Dulwich and Peckham. The average property value in Nunhead is £511,142, with flats available around the £250,000 mark. Transport wise Victoria station is only 15 minutes away and St Pancras 25 minutes.

KFH Estates agent recently sold the one bedroom flat on Kirkwood Road, pictured left, for £250,000.



This residential spot is popular with those in their twenties and recent property developments in Canada Water have

benefited the area. Sellar Property Group, the creators behind London’s famous ‘Shard’ also plan to build 1,030 new homes in the area, alongside new shops, a cinema and play areas. The Daily Mail’s Harmsworth Quay print works will undergo development, introducing a further 1,000 homes if ‘British Land’s’ get the go ahead. The average property price in Rotherhithe is £411,052, however there are cheaper options available. There is an over ground station and Canada Water tube station nearby links to Victoria within 20 minutes.

The one bedroom flat pictured below, is on Rotherhithe New Road, Surrey Quays with a guide price of £304,000.



Forest Hill

Forest Hill is a very affordable area and with the overground train you can be in the thick of it in Central London within 30 minutes, not only is SE23 convenient it also has an array of very attractive Victorian houses. Investors and first-time buyers may consider looking into Horniman Gardens where homes enjoy fantastic views of London. The average property costs £362,783 making SE23 a desirable investment. The overground from Croydon comes through Forest Hill before heading north to Shoreditch and Highbury.                       The two-bedroom Georgian house for sale below is on the market for £600,000 and includes an attractive 61ft garden.




The average asking price of £300,000 is attracting an array of buyers- old and new, first-time and investors. Morden boasts 120 acres of Parkland and the River Wandle runs through it, there are a variety of leisure facilities in the area and it is home to one of the largest mosques in Europe. The Morden underground is on the Northern Line so transport to the city is convenient. This attractive three-bedroom semi-detached is open to offers over £360,000.


Once a run-down East London borough, Walthamstow now houses a lot of middle-class families, with its links to outdoor spaces such as Epping Forest, it is a big pull for those with children. There is a close community focused around Walthamstow village, where there are a large number of shops and restaurants. The average property price is £282,142 and Walthamstow Central is only around 20 minutes to Oxford Circus.

This first floor one-bedroom flat on Stocksfield Road is a fantastic investment opportunity and is priced at £180,000.





Before the 1990’s Wapping was a sought after address, however it was somewhat left behind with no notable development of the restaurants and retail shops, the once charming cobbled streets, inns and wharves appeared depleted. However change is on the horizon with the development of ‘Fortress Wapping’, the former print works of News International, it is part of the 15 acre space that will be redeveloped into London Dock, with a quarter that will see 1,800 new houses, cafes, squares, restaurants and a new school. At the same time Tobacco Dock, a listed warehouse complex, will be turned into what developers hope to be the ‘Covent Garden of the East End’, with an array of hotels and boutique shops. Pictured below is an artist’s impression of the re-developed print works.













Property Price Potential

A look at what to consider when buying-to-let in London 2014

 Why should I invest in property in London?

With low savings rates and the uncertain stock market the buy-to-let market in London has become an attractive prospect for those looking to invest their money. With rising rents and improvement in mortgage deals, buyers are being tempted once more but where is the best place to buy-to-let and what should investors consider? Below we look at the city’s investment potential for the forthcoming years. Continue reading

Innovative Staircases

Stairs and ladders have been around since prehistoric times arguably they are one of the oldest builds in architectural history, first emerging as a solution to a problem, their function to establish a connection between two spaces on different levels. These day’s staircases are a long way from merely functional, these innovative staircases or alternatives below are interactive, activity based and in some cases architecturally striking, proving that the staircase is no longer just a means to an end.

The Staircase Slide

Arguably the most enjoyable way to travel from upstairs down, these staircase slides are sure to keep not only the children entertained.

Alex Michaelis Slide side-by-side Continue reading