AN OLD optical works in Clapham may not be the first place you'd visit to discover a an emerging trend. But Macaulay Walk, a collection of new homes by developer Grainger, is transforming the site into Manhattanstyle loft conversions, bringing London's love affair with New York housing south of the river.
Situated in Clapham Old Town, the site dates back to 1891 when it was well-known to locals as Ross Optical Works. Now, award-winning Assael Architects and interior specialists MMM Architects have created 84 one, two and three bedroom homes ranging from heritage conversion houses to apartments to small offices, with four penthouses also in the pipeline.
The development blends the old with the new, effectively managing to retain a traditional, period feel, with original decorative brickwork and Victorian ironwork, while infusing it with contemporary Manhattan style using the high ceilings and large windows to flood the properties with natural light.
MMM Architects was previously the in-house architect for the Manhattan Loft Corporation, bringing a distinctive "upside down" layout to the homes; expect to sleep downstairs and cook upstairs.
Retaining the heritage of the site while building homes that would appeal to modern Londoners was a fine balancing act for the developer. "It's a hugely important historical site for the local community," says Mark Woodrow, development director at Grainger, "so it was essential for us to ensure we retained the building's original character and features to preserve the local heritage and complement the surrounding architecture."
Clapham Old Town is a quintessential London village with a variety of independent shops, restaurants, bars and a weekly foodie haven in Venn Street Market. The new homes are also next to Clapham Common, which boasts over 200 acres of green space. Getting to work shouldn't be a problem either with the Northern Line only a five minute walk away.
Six two-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom house is still available from £965,000. Call Savills on 020 7409 8756 or visit macaulaywalk.co.uk MACAULAY WALK, CLAPHAM, FROM £965,000