Hot Houses: The Film Set

02/03/2012 18:19 | Updated 22 May 2015

Khoi D Nghiem's home is so spacious that his kids learnt to ride their bikes in the living room. This is almost as impressive as the fact that Julia Roberts used to live there.

Hot Houses: The film setThe Old Bakery doubled as Julia Roberts' loft in the film Closer. Pic: Fresh Locations

Cosmetic dental practice owner Khoi lives in the former bakery in South West London with his wife and three children. We asked him how he created such a stunning space:

To see more of The Old Bakery, check out the picture gallery below.

What kind of condition was the place in when you bought it and what work have you done to achieve the current look?
It was in a terrible condition with only one large habitable bedroom. The plumbing and electrics needed a total overhaul. It had lots of viewings, but everyone was put off by the condition and the odd configuration of the place. We had to strip it back to its shell and restarted the space again, organising it into a more logical and habitable space and thoroughly modernising the place, yet keeping all the original features.
We ended up creating an open-plan 4 bed, 3.5 bath ultra-modern loft that compliments all the original features such as exposed brickwork, porcelain wall tiles, original lift, doors, radiators...
The apartment is packed with the latest technology and gadgets such as Lutron mood lighting, Bang & Olufsen sound and vision wiring, CCTV, Alarm system, wired and wireless networking...

What drew you to the place?
The lateral space and height of the ceiling. 3600sq ft of floor space on one level and over 25ft high vaulted ceilings with lots of natural light - and the roof terrace.

Had you lived in such an open space before or were you used to living in more conventional houses?
No, not such a large lateral space with such high vaulted ceilings. We have lived in Victorian houses as well as riverside apartments and very small lofts.

What's the best thing about living in your home?
The space, and the height and the fact that it is very discreet. No one can tell from the outside that such a place exists. It is lovely and calming to come home in the evening too. The space is so large that all the kids learn how to ride their bikes (without stabilisers) in the living room and it is the only place that you can fit an industrial size inflatable bouncy castle for kids' birthdays. I run regular table tennis tournaments at home as well. The parties are fantastic too, holding up to 300 people in the kitchen and living room.

What three words would you most like people to use when describing your home?
Space, height, unique.

What would you least like someone to say about your home?
Conventional, boring, small.

Where are your favourite places to shop for interiors?
Online at,,, Bang & Olufsen, Poliform, Zonatta, BB Italia.

Has the house been used as a location for anything we might have seen?
Yes, it was Juila Roberts' flat in the film Closer with Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Clive Owen.

It's such a great space – do you ever see yourself moving from the Old Bakery?
Never say never. We are approaching the stage where our children will be going to secondary schools soon and whichever schools they end up at will determine where we live. The Old Bakery is our favourite place and will be sad to leave it as it is so unique and we are unlikely ever to find so much space and volume for a sensible amount of money. If we have to move then it will be to a place that is unconventional, unique and characterful (with lots of space and height!) We have always wanted to live in a castle.

In your opinion, no home should be without...what?
A large open-plan space for living and entertaining. Good lighting also helps.


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