INSIDE A LUXURY WEST LONDON HOME
If you are looking for properties where luxury meets period detailing, then G&T London are the company for you. Co-founder Gal Adir takes Mark Kebble behind the scenes of a West London transformation to explain how they work
Let’s start at the beginning Gal – how long have G&T London been in existence?
G&T London has been in existence since the early part of 2011. Our first project was in SussexGardens, W2.
What was the initial ambition behind the company when you set up?
The initial ambition was to create truly spectacular turnkey properties in areas where we felt there were great amenities but properties were undervalued. It is only a recent trend that W2 has become so expensive and sought after. This is driven by significant gentrification around Paddington including the projects in Paddington Basin and Crossrail.
Why London as the focal point?
London is a thriving city full of life and excitement and we felt there are many areas within Zones 1 and 2 which are undervalued but benefit from great potential. Our aim was to create benchmark properties that would sell well above any other comparables in the area and try and establish new standards for finish and quality.
Was it an easy decision to go into business with your wife, Tania?
There was no decision. Tania said it’s about time we combine our joint skills and go ahead and do it. So we did.
What do you look for in a property before taking it on and giving it the G&T London touch?
This is probably the most important part of the process. We are real ‘suckers’ for period properties and period construction and get very excited when buildings have a history, character and a past. Most buildings we work on have been around for more than 100 years and if they could talk they would have plenty of stories to tell. The key thing for us is location and light. We find that well located properties that are awash with natural lights are the most pleasing to develop and sell.
Looking at some of your projects in more detail, what was the brief for Cleveland Terrace?
Cleveland Terrace was one of those projects where we decided to go all out and test our skills to the max. The building was grand. White stucco fronted with ornate detailing and roman columns. The property was previously lived in by an artist who used it as her studio for over 30 years, but the property was very run down and many of the original features were very badly damaged. We took it upon ourselves to reinstate all the period features. Tall two piece skirtings, dado rails, picture rails, ornate coving and cornicing all was reinstated, but with a contemporary colour twist and clever lighting. We also took a piece of Onyx as a back lit panel for the kitchen bar.
It looks like you made the most of the space you have available – what would you say was the biggest undertaking with this project?
This project did not involve any structural work and most of the rooms were retained in the same size. The biggest challenge was reinstating period features and ensuring they work seamlessly with existing features such as the large round sash windows. A lot of craftsmanship went into introducing the new floor with sunk in radiators, concealed air conditioning, acoustic ceilings, air handling, home automation etc… The property from a finishing quality and basis was very challenging.
I love the kitchen/dining area look. What can you tell me about the approach to this?
The kitchen approach was to use a matt lacquer and carry the units all the way to the ceiling which with over 3m clearance was quite a feat. The island itself was completely constructed out of suede finish matt silestone composite and the individual Onyx panel was carefully integrated to it. Making the island top, counter top and side returns all from the stone involved very intricate piecing on site by our stonemasons and the single piece of onyx is so fragile that it had to be handled with extreme care to ensure it does not crack. We also wanted to integrate all the appliances but make them seamless. Looking onto the kitchen you can only see the microwave and coffee maker while in fact there is a full size dishwasher, fridge freezer and hob and so that we can avoid hanging any extraction from the ceiling we have a down draft extraction on the island itself allowing the look to be totally seamless. Even the tap and basin were matched in colour for the counter top. The idea was to make the kitchen more of a piece of furniture that is integral to the room rather then a statement.
I love how you approach bedrooms in your properties. Why are you keen on giving them a different look and feel?
Each bedroom has its own individual colour, motif and story and that is why the colour scheme is very different. Whether it is the different paint used, the change of wallpaper, the different drapes and even the furniture, each bedroom should always feel unique and individual. A tranquil place where one can escape the world outside and wind down. The master bedroom is in a room that is identical in size to that of the living room and kitchen. However the room has been broken into a bathroom with a window, a wardrobe area, the bed and a sitting corner with a chaise lounge. The tall bed headboard is matched to the wallpaper behind it which begins at the dado rail and once again we ensured the colour of the wardrobe blends with the colour of the wall. The room has iPhone controlled lighting and music as well as curtains. All is meant to be absolutely seamless.
There’s a mix of the old (original sash windows) and new (technology) here – do you love combining that?
This is my personal passion and Tania does not always agree here! We opted for a whole flat music system so each room and bathroom can select what they are listening too either by utilising the built in radio and music library of the system or can stream music from each individual iPhone. The whole system is controlled via an iPad, which also controls the lights throughout the master bedroom and living room. We try to blend technology seamlessly including for TVs, 7.1 surround sound as well as a remote controlled operated bio ethanol fire place.
Looking at Portman Mansions project in Marylebone, there’s so much natural light flooding in. Something you always want to take advantage of?
As per one of my previous answers we purchase projects based on light and location and Portman Mansions was no difference. The flat benefited from six floor to ceiling sashes in the living room / kitchen area and this is why we had integrate those two rooms that were previously separate. We want to create a lateral and large open space that would be flooded with natural light and also benefit from having a light and airy feel. This was achieved by using a ginger paint on the floorboards so that light will be well reflected together with clever use of mirrors and glass furniture.
I love the fireplace effect – what was the idea behind that?
The idea was to open up the space, but still create some form of separation between the kitchen and living room while creating a statement wall that would hold a TV on each side, one facing the living room the other facing the kitchen. The wall itself was covered in fine suede and the fire place was made open to both sides as to allow one to see through.
The kitchen also looks stunning. What was the idea behind its look?
The idea behind the kitchen was that it would not look like a kitchen. The main tall cabinets are sunk into the wall as to look like integrated wardrobes and the main island is again a combination of glossy lacquer cabinets and countertop. This contrasts the saw cut oak finish on the main wall units and gives the kitchen the feeling of a social place where one can stand around with friends and have a glass of wine or a bite to eat
Looking at West London generally, do you like the architecture around the area?
What we love most about West London are the long rows of undisturbed Victorian terraces and white stucco fronted buildings. The same way that Islington is unique for its undisturbed Georgian Terraces and squares, in the west the white stucco fronted terraces have gardens that are crescents, making for a very different feel. It is very grand and each façade tells as story. We love it.
And heading north, your Myddelton Square projects in Islington are stunning. Exposed brickwork is a big thing – why?
The exposed brickwork is the more shabby chic rustic look that the market in Islington looks for. The west is a lot more refined and finesse is important. In Islington and in the east the exposed brickwork makes for a more rustic finish combined with distressed wood flooring and edgier materials. We try to use furniture and fittings with more copper and bronze rather than the polished chrome and stainless steel we use in the west. The other thing is Islington and the surrounding areas in the east are still very much catering for the local London buyers market, while in the west the focus is a lot more on foreign buyers. Those buyers expect high finishes, sumptuous materials, expensive fabrics and wall coverings.
Finally Gal, what’s to come from G&T London?
G&T London has a phenomenal pipeline in store for the next 12 months. We do not wish to give too many details, but expect additional projects in Islington and Camden as well as for the first time projects outside the M25. Watch this space.
Find out more by visiting gandtlondon.com