There’s nothing seemingly historic about this duplex penthouse on the 13th and 14th floors of Marathon House, a modern-ish high-rise in London (Map). Thankfully for someone who loves big views, modern buildings are not the issue in London that it can be in Paris where old almost always beats new.
For those not familiar with Marylebone (pronounced Marla-bone), it’s just north of Mayfair and borders the 410-acre Regent’s Park. It’s highly residential and lighter on tourists. But as you can see, it’s still quite close to the action. The tall light slightly left is the Shard while slightly right you can see the arc of the London Eye Ferris wheel. Truly, London is at your feet.
This 4,079-square-foot apartment has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. It’s listed with Simon Tollit and Hannah McDougall of Sotheby’s International Realty for £7,950 million ($9,857 million) which works out to $2,417 per square foot.
I say you’re Sherlock’s neighbor because the closest underground station is Baker Street, which, as fans will recall, is the street Mr. Holmes fictionally lived on … number 221B to be exact. It’s also just down the road from Euston Station, the home of Eurostar where Sharon Quist of Dave Perry-Miller and I alighted from a train to see this beauty (Brits don’t “hop off”).
While Marathon House is not typically historic, it’s got an interesting pedigree. It was built in 1959 and designed by Gollins Melvin Ward and Partners as a riff on New York’s Lever House. It was originally the home of C.C. Wakefield, the makers of Castrol oil before being converted to apartments in 1990. It’s the first curtain wall glazed building in the UK. Without balcony space, it definitely has a commercial feel.
Being London, there’s a floor plan. You may recall my thoughts on “thick” and “thin” high-rise units. This is definitely in the “thick” category. As you can see, the 13th floor is given over to the bedrooms and study. The master, on the right, is as complete a suite as you’d find anywhere with a large walk-in closet (dressing room) and en suite bathroom with bathtub and separate shower. Also on the level are three additional bedrooms (somehow the room with the connected bath is called a study while the room without a connected bath is called a bedroom. Go figure. You can also see the laundry room next to the entry at the bottom.
Upstairs is a very large open-plan kitchen, living and dining room. In European fashion, the kitchen is pretty enclosed but obviously quite large. There may be some opportunity to open it up depending on if any of the walls are structural. The other oddity is the TV room sitting in the middle of the floor. As you’ll see in the pictures, it’s really well done, but in a questionable location. Looking at the two levels, the same structure is repeated so I’m guessing structural. However, the kitchen looks very openable. Either way, a 51’ x 32’ room with three full faces of glass is a luxury in any high-rise. In London, it’s heart stopping.
Just walking in the door you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. The open glass staircase is a bit of architectural foreplay hinting at what’s to come. The peek-a-boo window at the end of the corridor is just another fondle for the eyes. Resist. The real McCoy is upstairs.
Like I said, heart-stopping. At the top of the stairs you enter your aerie over the city in what must have been some CEO’s office. Quist and I agreed, whomever wins the lottery first, buys this. The runner up supplies the champagne. Win-win.
You just can’t tear yourself away. Luckily we were able to have a seat and enjoy a chat while fawning about the views with every other word. Trust me, it’s not hard to do. It really is that good. Before you think all that large-format tile is cold on London feet, fear not, there’s underfloor heating throughout. The ceiling vents supply the A/C.
Seen here, the TV room loses much of its odd location preconception. Sure you think open would be better until you’re standing in 51’ x 32’ room. Unless it’s a wedding venue, it requires some definition and separation. The palate-change adds to the separation and reduction of the “airplane hangar” size of the space.
Seen at night, it offers jewel box views of London’s twinkling skyline. However, I think I’d move the TV to the blank wall and twist the sofa around to that you’re facing the TV and the windows.
Even though not open concept, this is a smashing kitchen with plenty of room for guest congregation. Enormous fridge and freezer with wine smack in the middle. The breakfast bar faces the right way towards the views. Gaggenau appliances and induction round out a fantastic space.
Another view of the kitchen because I can read your mind. You wanted to see more of this spectacular room. You can see the doorway is quite large and that there are doors to close off the kitchen (why?). But imagine if that wall were taken down? The views would be … insert superlative here.
That master suite shows a designer worth every pound and pence they charged. Minimalist space with more city views. Motorized Lutron shades throughout mean you can close out the city once you really, really have to sleep. Afterwards, Quist and I decamped to The Savoy to discuss. Since I called dibs on the upper living floor, Quist called the master bedroom. I suppose it’s a compromise I can live with.
The closet would not be amiss in any Dallas home. I especially like the pull-out shoe racks. They remind me of a kitchen pantry and keep dust at a minimum.
The master bath is certainly white. Quist agreed we’d both really be looking for some way to incorporate color here. A shocking red towel or a lime green bathmat … anything. But that easy fix aside, this is really bang-on wonderful. Especially nice is the enormous backlit floating mirror along with the shower that allows occupants to overlook the city as they shampoo, rinse, and repeat.
Lest you think they petered out on the other rooms, here’s another of the four bathrooms. Clearly no scrimping here. For most high-rise owners, this would be a magnificent master bathroom.
Being a view guy, I’ll leave you as I found you.
Remember: When I’m not stirring up trouble in Dallas, Texas or Honolulu, Hawaii for Candysdirt.com and SecondShelters.com, I’m off scouting interesting locations for a second home. In 2016, my writing was recognized with Bronze and Silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. If you’re a Realtor with second home clients who’d like me to feature their journey, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org