Mix of tranquillity and elegance
London's West End has long been famous for its stylish garden squares, calm green oases around some of the city's most desirable homes. Reflecting that successful template, a new development at 3 Merchant Square, W2, will combine that sense of tranquillity and understated elegance, while being just a few minutes away from many of the attractions that have come to characterise the city.
Merchant Square offers one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses. There will be 159 units available over 19 floors but, in the initial phase, only floors two to 11 are being released. Larger homes can be created by combining two or more apartments.
'With a canal-side location and a new garden square, this is the second residential building that is part of a larger mixed-use development,' says Alex Finch, director of Jones Lang LaSalle, which is handling presales in Hong Kong. The project is targeting completion at late 2014.
'We have tried to think of everything,' Finch says. 'Merchant Square has been designed to meet the needs of modern city living, but focusing on comfort, convenience, pleasure and security.'
Many of the apartments have large balconies with sliding doors, while floor-to-ceiling double glazing elsewhere allows natural light to flood in and maximises views towards Hyde Park and the city skyline beyond. Certain units will also enjoy an enclosed glazed balcony or 'winter garden', with a temperate, partly outdoors environment, adjoining the living room and master bedroom.
All main rooms and bedrooms will have a thermostatically controlled system to heat and cool, and bathrooms will be equipped with electric underfloor heating and heated walls. 'In addition, the ventilation system will incorporate a heat-recovery function and, in each apartment, there will be ceiling-mounted smoke detectors and residential sprinklers,' Finch says.
The standard layouts have a hardwood bar as a 'buffer' between the dining area and kitchen. The proposed designs in the kitchen will feature custom-fitted cabinets, reconstituted stone worktops, a solid timber breakfast bar and pop-up sockets.
The cooking appliances, by Miele, include a ceramic hob, single oven with pyrolytic cleaning and a microwave. And white goods, from Siemens, will include a dishwasher, fridge freezer and washer dryer, carefully matched and integrated. 'The aim is to make cooking and dining at home a pleasure and all the materials have been selected for quality and to blend seamlessly with the look of the living area,' Finch says.
Bathrooms will be luxurious and spa-like, creating a sanctuary in which to pamper oneself. The specifications call for large-format ceramic porcelain tiles for all walls and floors, white-enamelled steel baths in family bathrooms, and sizeable walk-in showers in master en suites. A wall-mounted vanity unit, demisting mirror and feature lighting will add to the sense of indulgence.
Most bedrooms are designed with walk-in wardrobes to make storage easy and hallways will have fitted cupboards with timber veneered doors. The lighting scheme will use LED, low-voltage and fluorescent fittings. A control system will provide dimming and scene-setting functions in all rooms.
Each apartment will be wired for high-speed data services, media connectivity and home entertainment systems. There will be ceiling speakers in main living rooms and master bedrooms, and a cabling 'backbone' will make it possible to install integrated audio-visual products or standalone televisions for satellite services.
All the apartments will have a video-entry system and CCTV cameras will monitor internal and external public areas. For extra peace of mind, a concierge service will be on call 24 hours a day.
'We are seeing strong demand for central London properties and expect that to continue,' Finch says. 'Overseas buyers can take advantage of favourable currency exchange rates to secure early and off plan.'