Buyers opt for opulence and a room with a view

The Prague Post

Renovated riverside apartments promise personalized luxury

“You can’t choose someone else’s flavor of ice cream.” That’s the credo of Alion Andersson, co-owner of King Street s.r.o., developer of River House, a new super-luxury apartment building in Prague 2 on the Vltava River. He’s talking about the individual nature of choosing apartment furnishings, but the decadent sentiment carries over into the company’s strategy of appealing to wealthy property investors with the unique charms of a renovated city center space.

“The castle, the view of the river – I don’t think we would have chosen to go this route if the building was one street back,””Andersson said.

At first, Andersson was only interested in purchasing one apartment, but since such prime locations are hard to come by these days, when he learned the neighboring apartment was also available, he asked how much it would cost to just buy the whole building, and the River House project was born.

“The building was remodeled five years ago by the previous owner,” he said. “There used to be two apartments per floor, but we changed it to one and added private elevator access.”

River House has a total of six apartments, three of which have already been sold. The sizes are roughly 240 square meters, and all have stunning views of the river and Prague Castle. These features were taken into consideration during the reconstruction.

“We moved the kitchen from the back to the front. Normally, everyone ends up in the kitchen anyway, and it’s better to see the view,” Andersson said. “On the river, you really have privacy; no one is across the street looking in at you.”

In the renovation process, King Street added an additional privacy feature: a one-way window/one-way mirror partition separating the bedroom and living room. Andersson said it’s not so you can spy on your guests, but so you can lie in bed and see the castle. The secret door even swings open a la James Bond.

The Art Nouveau building was constructed in 1905, and since then it has housed many important personalities, including a French diplomat, a Dutch ambassador and Jan A. Verleur, the main photographer and filmmaker for the European edition of Playboy. These famed former residents have lent themselves to the names of the building’s floors, i.e. the Diplomat, the Ambassador and the Playboy.

The Playboy is the only fully furnished flat. It’s done in a rich color scheme of chocolate, burgundy, gray and moss. Furnishings tend to be neutral in color with intricate touches nearing exotic. Natural woods and lots of mirrors make it a place at once extravagant and comfy, which is what Andersson said he was aiming for.

“I felt this could have been four or five bedrooms, depending on who lives here, but it’s not a place where a big family would want to live, anyway,” he said. “I just wanted a feeling of luxury and things that can be used on a daily basis.”

There are two massive bedrooms in each floor plan, and the master bedroom and bath seem to cover nearly one-third of the entire space. The layout is open, meaning the sleeping and bathing areas flow seamlessly together. The entire design is one of openness, with the kitchen flowing into the dining room, which ends in the living room. Standing in the entryway, you can look straight through to the master bedroom. Every apartment also has a small balcony.

Andersson said they didn’t want to go ultra-modern with the design, preferring to preserve the flavor of the building’s past. Original stained glass windows can still be found in the guest room bathrooms, the original ceiling moldings have been kept, and the facade has been preserved with no plans to alter it.

The building itself may be 100 years old, but the retrofit is definitely “now.” Materials such as Carrara marble and exotic wood were used, “smart” appliances fill the kitchens, and underfloor heating has been installed in all of the apartments.

Andersson says King Street’s future investments will probably stay in the super-luxury category.

“It’s hard to put a value on this. If we did what we did right, hopefully after people have looked at everything else, they’ll come back here,” he said. “People can take the space and add to it, whatever they want – chocolate sauce on top of their vanilla ice cream.”