Penthouse dream: Flat at top of Grade II-listed ex-power station is transformed into £3m apartment
Russell Dawkins and his wife Danielle Kingdon had to think fast when, in June 2013, a cycling accident unfortunately left Russell in a wheelchair. At the time, the couple were living in a Victorian property built over seven floors, and the accident meant they would need to make major changes to their existing home in order to remain in it.
At first, they were adamant that they could make the house work for Russell but soon decided that moving to a smaller home would be a better solution. Around the same time, an apartment belonging to a friend’s parents became available. As it was conveniently located close to the couple’s friends and their daughters’ schools, this seemed to be the perfect solution.
Situated in West London, the flat was unusual because it sat at the top of a Grade II-listed former power station which was built in 1901. During the 80s, the power station had been converted into apartments and this large, top floor property was spread across two floors, providing excellent lateral space for Russell’s wheelchair.
In October 2013 the couple had their £2million offer on the duplex accepted. Since the original conversion, not many changes had been made to the apartment. The main entrance opened onto the lower floor which housed bedrooms and bathrooms. Stairs led up to a kitchen, dining and living room and doors which opened onto a roof terrace.
Two balconies overlooked the downstairs rooms and the property benefited from a mezzanine level too. Steel supporting beams criss-cross below the vaulted ceiling, but some had been boxed-off or hidden by dividing walls.
With Russell still recovering in hospital, Danielle turned to two friends; an interior designer and a builder, and they immediately went to work on opening up the top floor flat and creating a much more practical layout.
Initially, they removed all the walls on the first floor, creating a dramatic, open-plan space. Downstairs some walls were adjusted to make bedrooms and the bathroom bigger.
On recommendation from their bathroom supplier, the couple decided that a Stiltz Home Lift would be ideal. It would provide Russell with easy access between the two floors and still look stylish. The lift was spacious enough to accommodate Russell’s wheelchair, but compact enough to be incorporated discreetly into the kitchen design.
With no lift shaft or load bearing walls required, it was easy for the Stiltz team to install the Stiltz Trio Thru Car Wheelchair Lift thanks to its self-supporting structure and unique dual rail system.
Unlike most traditional home lifts, Stiltz lifts are not powered by loud hydraulic equipment. The home lift has a very quiet self-contained drive system which is housed – out of sight – at the top of the lift. The lift simply plugs straight into a normal 13amp power socket; just like any other household appliance.
The couple made many more fantastic changes to the property during a 12-month period and the upgrades were finally completed in October 2014, at a total cost of around £450,000. The fantastic-looking apartment is now estimated to be worth around £3million.
Danielle said: “Russ needed access but we still wanted our home to look stylish. We were told about the Stiltz Lift which has one of the smallest footprints on the market and is really discreet, so we hatched the idea of incorporating the lift within the kitchen units.”
The Dawkins/Kingdon case study appeared in the May, 2016 edition of Real Homes magazine. Click on the link to view full range of Stiltz Home Lifts here.