For sale: £12 million
The London housing market has changed beyond recognition over the past 65 years. It has moved on from the grey post-war era to the thriving, thrusting, metropolis of today. But one thing that has not changed are its properties.
This month, one of the best homes in Henry & James’ 65 year history has come on the market. Henry & James have sold everything from Georgian town houses and romantic retreats to chic Chelsea penthouses over the past six decades. There has been the occasional mews house along the way too, just waiting to be brought back to life.
A few of these homes have been snapped up within days, while others have seen numerous viewings even before they have appeared on the website. Some houses will always attract more attention than others.
Wilton Crescent is one of those properties. The first and second floor flat has only been on the market for a few weeks, but has generated more interest than some houses generate in months. It is a home fit for Bond with plenty of glitz and gadgets. Interestingly, 007’s creator, Ian Fleming lived nearby in Ebury Street from 1934-1945.
Bring the past to life
History still counts for a lot in central London. Some buyers might opt for new-builds, but Wilton Crescent has heritage ingrained within its fabric. Five-storey town houses in this sweeping crescent were designed by Thomas Cubitt and William Howard Seth-Smith in 1827. They were built to impress. Almost two centuries later, they are still some of London’s most inspiring homes.
The Crescent (named after the First Earl of Wilton) has gently curving lines with classical features at every turn. Close your eyes and you could almost imagine being in the Circus, Bath, with first floor balconies, imposing capitals and a balustrade snaking its way around the top of the buildings. The roof finials are not acorns, but possibly poppy heads.
Wilton Crescent is minutes from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the fashion houses in Sloane Street. They have always been popular and will attract people to Knightsbridge.
But the hidden gem lies just behind Wilton Crescent in Kinnerton Street. Not many people even realise it exists. Here you will discover the Wilton Arms, dating back to 1826, where everyone from Priscilla Presley and Anthony Hopkins to Tommy Lee Jones visited the pub. Nearby, the sweet smells from Rachel Vosper’s candle shop and the Judith Blacklock Flower School add an air of elegance to the area.
Why is the property so special?
A wealth of period features emerge when you step inside the two-bedroom, three bathroom apartment (2,098 sq ft). Wooden panelling, deep cornices and large doors open onto the balcony, overlooking the communal gardens. The interior was given a makeover by interior designers, Finchatton (www.finchatton.com) about eight years ago, but has been refurbished several times since. A huge arched mirror, leads visitors up the oak and iron staircase to the second floor with its spacious bedrooms.
The right ingredients
But what make this apartment standout? “It is completely unique,” says James Bailey, Chief Executive at Henry & James. ““The last time this first/second floor flat came on the market here was number 13, when the current vendors bought it in 2004. First and second floors are regarded as the prime floors in period properties.”
But the highlight is the south-facing reception room with its high ceilings, beautiful fireplace and wooden flooring. “Usually, once properties are bought in this area, they don’t come back onto the market for years,” adds Bailey.
It has not been home-staged, but offers a glimpse of an historic gem in the heart of Belgravia. Now it is on the market for £12m. Whereas a house in the Crescent will set you back anything from £25 – £34m (around 6-7,000 sq ft.). They have five – seven bedrooms and sometimes come with the mews house behind.
For more information contact www.henryandjames.co.uk