Autumn 2019

Real Estate & Property
Notting Hill’s Showstopper

"Standfirst">Banda has transformed a Victorian building in London into 15 showstopping apartments each with access to the garden square. Each apartment is different and has its own character and charm.

Overlooking one of London’s premier garden squares in Notting Hill, a Grade II listed Victorian building now offers 15 stunning apartments to discerning investors.

The property – 13-19 Leinster Square – will be a sublime mix of heritage architecture and contemporary design, a mix of old and new which offers the best of both. The focus is on absolute and uncompromising quality throughout, emphasised by the provenance of the materials and expertise of the craftsmanship, says Banda, the designer/developer behind the exquisite project.

The interior layout of 13-19 Leinster Square has been reconfigured to create five maisonettes, eight lateral apartments and two penthouses. Each home will have south-facing views over the garden square.

Banda has traditionally been known for smaller design/development projects and has now gone global with large-scale private projects in locations such as London, New York, the Alps and Oxfordshire in the UK.

Arabian Knight had the opportunity to tour this property and speak to Edo Mapelli Mozzi, Founder of Banda and Barak Alberro, Head of Design.

“Formerly a hotel, the property has transformed by Banda into 15 showstopping apartments each with access to the garden square. Each apartment is different and has its own character and charm. Given the property is listed, we have sensitively restored the building, enhancing its original features including intricate traditional ceiling cornicing and its beautiful white stucco façade,” says Alberro.

Asked what drove them to this property, Mozzi says there were several things, but first and foremost was the building itself. “At Banda, we love to breathe new life into old buildings, so when we saw this stunning white stucco fronted Grade II listed building, we saw a really exciting opportunity to transform it into beautiful new homes whilst restoring the building to its original grandeur,” he elaborates.

Its location was also attractive. This part of Notting Hill has been undervalued for many years, but Banda recognised its potential to offer buyers an exciting investment proposition. It’s also situated overlooking a beautiful garden square and is just moments from the bustling streets of Notting Hill, making it an ideal location for a residential project like this, he adds.

Listing out the advantages of the location, Mozzi says Leinster Square is one of London’s finest traditional garden squares. Residents living here will have exclusive access to this tranquil landscaped garden all year round. The location just off Westbourne Grove is also particularly special. It’s filled with independent shops and restaurants creating a unique buzz and a village-like quality. It is also well-connected and is just moments from the West End and Knightsbridge is just across the park.

Will the property appeal to discerning Middle Eastern investors?

“It’s a location we think will certainly appeal to Middle Eastern investors. We have seen a growing trend amongst savvy Middle Eastern buyers who are starting to look away from the traditional ‘golden postcodes’ of Mayfair and Knightsbridge and are exploring other excellent locations where there is value to be found.  We also think the traditional English architecture of the building, complemented by 21st Century technology and contemporary interiors will appeal to this market,” continues Mozzi.

As it’s a listed building, the apartments feature many original features including restored cornicing and ceiling roses – they are different in each apartment, which gives each one a sense of character and identity, says Alberro.

The kitchens are all bespoke and Banda has worked with globally renowned kitchen designer Obumex to deliver bespoke hand-crafted kitchens in three different styles, the ‘Dirand’ kitchen which features a Calacatta Oro marble cantilevered island in the townhouses, the ‘Minimalist’ kitchen in the lateral apartments, and a ‘Banda’ kitchen with two different shades, one light, and one dark in the two penthouses. All offer state-of-the-art Gagganau appliances.

“A real stand-out design feature in our first show apartment is a brass dining room table designed by The Banda Design Studio (it will form part of our furniture collection set to launch in the Autumn). The aged look of the brass provides a glint of warmth and colour, and also an immediate natural ‘lived in’ feel,” says Alberro. 

The property benefits from a concierge service as well as private access to a beautifully landscaped garden square. “We took the decision not to create a gymnasium or spa on site because there is such a wealth of options just around the corner in Notting Hill, with amazing fitness studios and health and wellbeing stores located within walking distance. We think our residents will want to explore their neighbourhood and enjoy a variety of fitness classes and options nearby,” says Alberro.

Detailing some of the interiors features, Alberro says: “We have restored the building’s many original features wherever possible and so our focus with the interiors has been to showcase these as much as we can. We have opted for an organic feel to the interiors and have worked with some amazing craftspeople to create bespoke pieces that really bring the whole space to life. Each element of the design tells its own story.”

The homes, which are available now, range in size from beautifully appointed apartments to much larger penthouses. Prices start from £5.9 million.

The dressed three-bedroom lateral apartment measures 2,705 sq ft. This apartment is located on the first floor and upon entering you walk into a spacious light-filled hallway with dual aspect overlooking gardens to the front and rear of the property. It has direct private lift access via the ground floor reception. There is Versailles parquet oak wood flooring throughout the principal areas, with herringbone in bedrooms 2 and 3.

The apartment has been designed in keeping with the original fabric of the historic building, and the interiors – while more contemporary – are sympathetic to this heritage. The integration of old and new is seamless throughout.

The grand hallway features three striking barnacle-covered urns salvaged from a 15th Century shipwreck, sourced in Copenhagen. The space is scattered with breathtaking select investment pieces, design classics and art as the starting point. In the hallway, this includes the mid-century antique bench with rattan seating, made from jacaranda and cane by Joaquim Tenreiro. They were chosen and sourced directly from Brazil for their elegance and generous proportions.

As the cliché goes, location is the key and how is the property market doing in this locality, we ask. “We are seeing strong levels of interest from a range of buyers, both domestic and overseas purchasers who are looking to capitalise on the favourable exchange rate. This part of London is performing extremely well, with sales up nearly 30 per cent as 41 more deals were done in the last 12 months than they were in the previous year.

“It is also significantly better value than neighbouring locations so there is still room for capital growth over the next few years,” he reiterates.

While the apartments are available now, Banda will also be introducing some beautiful townhouses which will be ready in the Spring next year.

About Banda’s global ambitions, Mozzi says: “We have a stunning project which we are doing on behalf of a private client at The Steinway Tower in New York (111 West 57th St NYC). Here, we have taken inspiration from the incredible views from this magnificent building and kept the look slick and modern, in keeping with the architecture of the building. We’ve used a mix of materials such as the bespoke bathtub in Calacatta Viola marble and a bespoke suede upholstered headboard with an elegant grey marble surround in the master bedroom.

“Our ambition is to grow internationally, continuing our approach to work with historic buildings to create truly exceptional homes,” he says.

“Banda’s mission is very much about creating magnificent homes – we don’t wish to simply build great properties, we want to create amazing environments in which people can feel happy, fulfilled and enjoy throughout their life.”

Banda has created several boutique developments since the company started, including Radstock Street, a collection of eight apartments which picked up the prestigious the ‘Best Apartment Development’ by The Sunday Times British Home Awards in 2017. Other projects include Richmond Brewery, Rosemoor Studios and Parkgate, all of which have successfully sold.

“As well as property development, we also have our own in-house design studio and we will soon be launching our own furniture collection which is hugely exciting,” he adds.  

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