How time flies. Though it felt like an eternity ago that I was consoled in the aftermath of a winter breakup with a new rung on my property ladder, the 4 years of building the first phase of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment seemed to have flown by - almost like a time-lapse, but not unlike my many neglected browser tabs of Youtube videos, one that I forget to watch.
Throughout my colourful history of living in London, from period homes to modern conversions, none of the places I've lived in have been as lifestyle-centric as Battersea Power Station's mission to be "a truly mixed-used destination". Initially, I bought a place in Phase 1 because it seemed like good value for money. I had every intention to flip my place once it was completed; but as more businesses (shops, restaurants, etc.) begin to move into the complex's retail spaces I began to realise that living in the midst of this hub of activity could be very, very convenient indeed. And I'd know all about that - I've been to a few events hosted there. On top of that, many of my Malaysian friends and acquaintances have also bought flats there as holiday home, making Circus West the new 'Little Malaysia' for me.
Those are strong points for moving into Circus West, as well as being closer to my London friends who groan every time they have to schlepp to Shoreditch to see me. But enough about the location, the neighbours, and the buzz surrounding this newly-regenerated area - what about the design?
With every visit to the few completed apartments - whether they are the show unit or friends' finished flats - it becomes clearer that Circus West is going for the 'luxury hotel' feel. The materials and fittings are more than the standard builder-grade - forget cheap laminate; we're talking about a mix of imported, high-quality woods and metals; and even repurposed objects from the original power station. As a result, there are Art Deco touches throughout the building - from the stone relief carvings in the lobby to the light switches in the apartments.
My favourite feature about the flats is the Winter Garden - a covered balcony that spans the length of each apartment, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Although my Winter Garden is very narrow (a teeny1.5 metres wide!) it's rather long, at just over 15 metres, which should let in a nice amount of natural light. White wood floors in a chevron pattern complete the bright, airy feel of the space.
My least favourite aspect of the decor choices has to be how aggressively modern the fittings are. The colour palette of the kitchen (below) makes me feel especially stabby - walnut oak wall panels...clay-coloured kitchen counters...just, no. The bathroom I can just about tolerate despite the dubious tile and grout. I was actually so overwhelmed by the pervasively masculine colour and texture of the kitchen and bathroom that in a moment of madness I tried to work out how much it would cost me to gut out the kitchen and bathroom then completely redo it.
Luckily, I've come to my senses. It just seems wasteful and tedious to tear down and rebuild a perfectly functioning, brand new place, especially one that is meant as a home for a transitional period of my life; so I'll leave the renovations for my 'forever home' or a fixer upper.
Sneaking a peek into my neighbours' winter gardens.
I had to choose between a river view (right) for good, all day-long natural lighting. In the end I eschewed the North-oriented units, as stunning as the river views were, and picked my South-facing flat. I'll have to make do with a view of the roof garden (left) but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for a bright, warm flat - even if it means that I can't sunbathe nude without giving the opposite neighbours the complete penthouse experience.