Why a duplex apartment can offer the best of both worlds
Flats and houses both have their obvious advantages, but you can get the best of both worlds - to some degree, at least - from a duplex apartment.
Flats tend to be cheaper and the cost of some of their features - communal gardens, roof repairs, etc - can be shared with the other properties in the same block.
Houses, of course, usually have more space and fewer immediate neighbours and so tend to enjoy more privacy. They also usually have more than one storey, and their living accommodation is more easily “zoned”, typically with kitchen and reception rooms on the ground floor and bedrooms and bathroom upstairs.
Duplex apartments are simply flats with two floors of accommodation; older readers may know them better as “maisonettes” - the name they went by until their rebranding at some point over the last couple of decades by estate agents adopting American terms, presumably to inject some glamour into the market. (Indeed, the same process has given us apartments in place of flats.)
For some people, living on one level is desirable - in fact, for people with mobility problems it may be absolutely essential - but for others, living on two levels is preferable. A lot of people, for example, like to be able to retreat upstairs to bed - who knows, could it be a hangover from our distant evolutionary past, when we slept in the trees?
Whatever the reason, it’s what can give duplex apartments the edge for some buyers, and for them, one of the following three properties could be the perfect home.
Right next to this newspaper’s historic former HQ (now the former Slug & Lettuce), Apartment E, 8-12 Montpellier Parade is a beautifully presented contemporary duplex apartment in a period crescent building in the heart of Harrogate’s town centre.
Upstairs, the irregular-shaped flat has two double bedrooms, one of them with en suite shower room and walk-in wardrobe, plus main bathroom, and downstairs are the kitchen, WC and reception room, which has views across the Stray.
In Boroughbridge, Bishopsdale at 14 The Maltings is part of a former Victorian brewery building that was converted in 2002.
The largest of this week’s properties, with more than 1,800 sq ft of accommodation, its layout is somewhat inverted, so on its lower floor it has two double bedrooms, one with en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, the other with en suite shower room, and a study area on the landing.
On the upper floor, among the heavy roof trusses at the top of the building, there is a large open-plan kitchen/living room, plus utility room, WC and plenty of eaves storage space. It forms part of an exclusive gated development and has three parking spaces.
Finally, Apartment 5 Highfield House is one of 11 luxury apartments in an exclusive development in Ripon. Highfield House itself is a Grade II listed building dating from the mid-19th century. Formerly a Victorian gentleman’s residence, it later served as offices for North Yorkshire County Council’s education department.
On the first and second floors of the historic house, this flat has two double bedrooms on the upper floor, plus a landing spacious enough to use as a study area, and downstairs there is the bathroom and an open-plan kitchen/living room. There is lockable communal storage in the basement.
The house is set in two acres of private grounds, just a few minutes’ walk from the market square and amenities in the city centre, and the flat also has secure allocated parking.