South Bank

When I stepped into Judith’s living room, I had the weirdest feeling: it was exactly as I’d imagined it moments before. It reminded me of my old flat, especially as it has patio doors that look onto a balcony.

My flat was on the Willesden High Road, possibly the only road in London that has got more grotty and not the least bit gentrified in the last ten years. Meanwhile Judith lives in the lovely Oxo Tower on the South Bank. But her balcony and my old one are pretty similar – south facing, rather windswept, in a very urban setting and packed to the gunnells with plants. Judith has done what I never quite managed with mine – she’s added height using steps and little tables. She’s also got some jaunty bunting.

My balcony got me interested in gardening and it also kept me sane. Spending time on it was noisy but therapeutic and I loved gazing at a sea of green from my sofa. It sure beat the view directly below, although my young nephew loved it – he once asked to come and visit me so that he could ‘watch the police cars’.

2 Responses to “Oxo Tower”

  1. Balconies – I’m sure you probably know that the new London Housing Design Guide (which new builds must conform to from April 2012) stipulates a minimum balcony of 5 square metres (about 54 sq ft) for a 1 bed flat with bigger ones as you step up the bedroom numbers. This has got to be a good thing – especially, if like my flat, there are integral flower boxes. What developers are now doing (if they can afford it) is putting ‘winter gardens’ on to new flats i.e. balconies with full width glazed screens which you can close off when the wind and rain get a bit whippy. There’s a lot of that about in Scandinavia.

    I think there’s a gap in the market for tiny plant tables/shelves which slip nicely on to these invaluable extra rooms and give that crucial height which you mention.

    • Interesting! Well that is definitely a good thing and I love the sound of winter gardens. I think I was actually quite lucky with my old balcony – it was pretty big. It was about the only good thing about it!

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