When one became two

A shop, a storage space and a flat above. That’s how Portobello Road presented itself on paper but its subsequent transformation created one of the most innovative buildings comprising two flats and a stylish bijou retail/gallery space on this iconic London street.


Where Portobello Market turns a corner and joins its neighbour in Goldborne Road, there is a small collection of buildings that housed a Post Office, newsagents and restaurant as well as a pet shop and the most recent addition, Soho House’s Pizza East. Portobello Road had been used as a counselling centre and methadone distribution point before it was bought for redevelopment. With a little scope to increase the building upwards creating two properties presented a conundrum. The ‘Cubic’ answer was to just do it anyway and so started a project that has created one of the most surprising and interesting conversions to come to market in recent years.

Digging down to realise enough space for a one bedroom flat below ground, part of the total floor space has been given over to an atrium around which the kitchen, living area and master bedroom wrap themselves. As you progress up the building the existing external vernacular has been ignored leaving windows spanned between floors, disappearing into the ceiling on the first floor and then peeping up from the floor above in a wonderful Alice in Wonderland fashion. The beauty of this is that where there was once three floors, there are now four with the first and second floor reinvented as a two bedroom maisonette flat. New floor levels have been emphasised throughout with hand sawn blonde wood planks. Plaster render adorns the walls throughout and cabinetry has been disguised in a series of unique plaster finishes created by Cubic.


Elsewhere a truly individual package of bespoke elements exists in both flats and the retail space to the front. Kitchens utilise cast concrete work tops on Cubic’s own designed and handcrafted cabinetry. Radiators have been created from oversized copper plumbing pipes and industrial valves and on the stairwell wall reach over three metres high. Reclaimed lighting completes the look. The same care of workmanship has been applied to the retail unit to the front of the house. Retained as an investment, the two flats at Portobello Road were described by one journalist as “……a place where you expect something to happen.”