This week: Macklin Street, Covent Garden, London WC2
What: A very large warehouse conversion in the heart of London’s theatre-drenched Covent Garden featuring a terrace with a unique retractable roof, a basement indoor swimming pool and plenty of space and artistic connections.
We say: At nearly 13,000 sq ft, this is a vast warehouse conversion, which also manages to be discrete – tucked away on a Covent Garden side street with little to suggest the seven bedroom property inside.
This Grade II listed warehouse was built in 1851 and was originally used by scenic painters as a workshop to produce the sets for a range of West End theatres, including the Royal Opera House, which is just around the corner.
Entering Macklin Street through an unassuming door, visitors are brought into a lobby featuring a calming aquarium and modern staircase which, once climbed, delivers them into the original brick-exposed warehouse, which is almost impossibly large and airy.
Converted for residential use 13 years ago, this 19th century building still has many original features, including the large rectangular and half-moon windows, now with retractable shutters.
The property’s publicity shy house manager who looks after the home for the current owner – a Dutch art collector – explains that remnants of the original pulley system – used by the set painters 150 years ago to hang up their large canvases – can still be seen high up on the reception room walls.
A true convert
The house manager points out what is essentially a “massive box” constructed inside the very large first floor reception room which extends all the way to the top of the building – five floors high. It’s inside this internal construction that three of the property’s bedrooms are found.
This ingenious layout takes advantage of the home’s greatest strength - its massive height and many of the rooms feature internal terraces that look out onto the ground floor reception room.
The remaining bedrooms, studies, library, reception rooms, kitchen, bathrooms, garden and guest rooms are spread across the property’s five floors – each accessible by glass elevator. At the very top of the building is an impressive terrace, barbecue and look out area, which, when the roof is retracted, gives way to incredible views of the London skyline and rooftops, including the nearby Freemason's Hall. The basement of the home features an indoor swimming pool, steam room and wet bar and there’s also a cellar and five-car garage.
Who's at home
The property is currently owned by an art collector who found a dual use for the property: as a home and gallery space and it has been a venue for many London art shows.
The home was also used as a pop-up workshop for artists creating London’s Elephant Parade, in which 260 brightly painted elephants took over the capital in the summer of 2010 before being sold off to benefit the endangered Asian elephant.
The house manager says there’s been a lot of interest in the home already from a very mixed demographic. “We’ve had older retirees and young business men look at the property and it’s been a mix of British and people from overseas,” he says.
“It would be perfect for an art lover. But what’s so nice about the home is that it’s so unexpected. You’d never know what was inside by looking at the outside of the building. You walk inside and you really don’t expect it.”
The property is on the market through Hamptons International for £8.9 million.
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It would be perfect for an art lover. But what’s so nice about the home is that it’s so unexpected