Page 16 It`s what I`ve worked for

Wednesday 18 February 2015
Design trends
Page 20
My home: Page 16
London’s best property search website:
It’s what I’ve
worked for
Homes & Property Online with
This week:
news: neighbours go for
London’s biggest extension
Trophy buy of the week
the ultimate super-mews
Room on top: Rushton Mews’s residents want roof extensions
NEIGHBOURS often fall out over building works — but not
the residents of one west London street.
Eighteen families living on one side of Rushton Mews off
Ladbroke Grove have banded together to draw up plans
to give each of their homes a matching two-bedroom roof
extension. Thought to be London’s biggest-ever joint
extension project, the scheme cuts down on fees and
makes planning approval more likely. Extending their
homes will cost each owner £70,00 to £80,000.
“Moving to a larger home would cost us much more
than that,” says a resident. Kensington and Chelsea
council will consider the plan later this year.
£5.35 million: moments from Marylebone Village
awaits this marvellous mews. A redesign of the space
(all 2,318sq ft of it) has turned each of its three floors into
beautiful bespoke living areas. A family/reception room
and seriously slick kitchen/breakfast room open to a patio
garden, while one floor up a vast wall of sliding glass doors
reveal a 30ft terrace. There are two double bedrooms and
even an integral garage. Through Druce.
London buy of the week luxury
touches with a view of the river
£395,000: Tavern Quay, Rotherhithe,
sets the scene perfectly for a plush
collection of apartments with prime
views over Canary Wharf.
This one-bedroom flat is a
showcase of luxe details, from
underfloor heating and sleek
polished tiles in the bathroom, to a
gadget-filled kitchen open-plan to
O Read Ruth Bloomfield’s full story at
Life changer leave the rat
race and run a village shop
Visit our new online
luxury section
£625,000: indulge your inner shopkeeper in the Cotswold
spot of Dumbleton. You get a lovely red-brick cottage with
five generous bedrooms, a gorgeous kitchen with a vaulted
ceiling and Aga, plus a beamed dining hall. There’s also a
granny annex. But the real beauty of this buy is the village
store and coffee shop included in the package — just think
what you could make of that. Through Hamptons.
a bright living room, complete with
a private balcony overlooking the
river below.
Residents’ perks include a high-spec
waterside gym, exercise studios and
24-hour concierge.
It’s on the market through Foxtons.
ESHomesAndProperty • Twitter:
@HomesProperty • Pinterest:
uk/rules for details of our
usual promotion rules. When
you respond to promotions,
offers or competitions, the
London Evening Standard and
its sister companies may
contact you with relevant
offers and services that may
be of interest. Please give
your mobile number and/or
email address if you would
like to receive such offers by
text or email.
hop over to
our new Bath
The Peggy chair from £460. For reader offers
visit, pop in to our London
or Bath showroom or call us on 0345 400 2222.
Editorial: 020 3615 2524
Advertisement manager:
Jamie McCabe
Advertising: 020 3615 0527
Homes & Property, Northcliffe
House, 2 Derry Street,
Kensington, London W8 5TT.
Warehouse conversions
We find
10 finest
from its
LONDON’s industrial past provides a
dramatic backdrop to residential
conversions carved from its former
factories and warehouses.
These “blank space” homes often
enjoy fabulous natural light from
triple-height ceilings and floor-to-roof
metal-framed windows. Interiors
often feature original exposed
brickwork and beamed ceilings,
while contemporary ungrades
include underfloor heating,
smart lighting and wireless
entertainment systems.
Join us for a tour of the capital’s top
lofts with stories to tell.
O Visit:
News Homes & Property with
Poirot’s block has
views to die for
É A FLAT in Poirot’s London block is
for sale. Art Deco Florin Court in
Clerkenwell was used as a location
for David Suchet in the long-running
BBC series, where it was known as
Whitehaven Mansions.
A one-bedroom flat on the seventh
floor of the block is for sale at
The building, boasting a roof
garden with panoramic views, is
close to Farringdon so will benefit
from the arrival of Crossrail in 2018.
Suchet, meanwhile, will take on
a different guise as Lady Bracknell
in a West End production of
The Importance of Being Earnest
this June.
All-action Willis
on the move
Barrel of laughs at
Norton’s old haunt
É BRUCE WILLIS, right, is reportedly
buying a flat in plush New York
development 271 Central Park West.
Valued at nearly £11 million, the
duplex has six bedrooms, four
bathrooms, a library and views
overlooking the park. Set in the Upper
West Side, it is just a few blocks from
the three-bedroom flat Willis sold for
nearly £8.5 million in December.
Meanwhile, Joan Rivers’ flat on the
Upper East Side is for sale for
£18.3 million. The vast penthouse, just
off Fifth Avenue, has 11 rooms and is as
flamboyant as the late comedy queen,
below, with a Louis XIV-inspired
ballroom with crystal chandeliers and
antique panelling. For more pictures,
É GRAHAM NORTON, above, may be
the BBC’s leading chat show host, but
in the earlier stages of his career he
often performed at The White Horse
in Hampstead.
Actor Christopher Eccleston has
also been a regular customer over the
years, and literati including George
Orwell and Joe Orton frequented the
pub during their time.
The leasehold for the three-storey
corner terrace building is now
available at £110,000 with Fleurets
A short walk from Hampstead
Heath, the property has exposed
brick upper parts, ornate sash
windows, a copper-top bar, open
fire, marbled pillars and also
includes a small beer garden.
With funnymen Michael McIntyre
and Ricky Gervais living nearby,
the new landlords of this famous pub
will be in good company.
Got some
Tweet @
By Amira Hashish
Celeb stylist’s flat
is picture perfect
ÉINTERIOR decorator Sera
Hersham-Loftus, known as Sera of
London, has kitted out the homes
of Courtney Love, Kelly Brook,
Yoko Ono, Kate Moss, Eliza Doolittle
and Patsy Kensit.
The stylist, who splits her time
between London and Norfolk, is
selling her Westbourne Terrace
flat for £1.175 million.
The two-bedroom apartment
she shares with photographer to
the stars Martin Pope is for sale
with Domus Nova. It comes with a
beautiful conservatory where
French doors lead to a decked
garden. A walk-in wardrobe is an
added bonus.
+& $)
& !!"&
% $
020 3411 2026
!!! !!!%
#!!! #
Homes & Property New homes with
ONDON’S biggest batch of
new family houses since the
Eighties has been launched
in Docklands, so eventually
there will be 3,385 homes at
Royal Wharf.
The first location will consist of 310
houses in a new riverside district next
door to Canary Wharf.
The neighbourhood’s layout is classic,
inspired by Georgian design principles
with first-floor drawing rooms.
Architects Glenn Howells have taken
their cue from aristocratic landowners
such as Bedford Estate in Bloomsbury,
where homes are laid out in an uncomplicated street pattern, or grid, with
squares, public gardens and parks.
Royal Wharf will have its own primary
school plus a DLR station that will plug
into Crossrail.
Nearly 50 per cent of this mainly
low-rise neighbourhood will be open
green space, with outdoor areas
specifically designed to promote health
and fitness, with activities co-ordinated
from the on-site leisure complex.
The idea is for outdoor yoga, circuit
training, jogging and cycling to take
place on landscaped green spaces,
paths and by the riverside.
From £695,000: townhouses feature at the ambitious Royal Wharf scheme
not so fast
Alan McCartney, an architect at Glenn
Howells, says of Royal Wharf: “From a
grand hallway, a staircase leads to a
high-ceilinged first-floor lounge, with
views across the open spaces.
“At ground level is a large open-plan
kitchen-diner with bi-folding doors
opening out to a private garden — a
floor plan that goes down well with
young families.
“The houses also have roof terraces
large enough for toddlers to play
safely, and have been designed for
families to grow into, without the need
for an extension.”
Prices start at £695,000. Larger
four-bedroom houses with up to
2,457sq ft of space cost £1.1 million.
Call 0808 118 1987.
Construction is under way and the first
homes will be ready next year.
Located in a former industrial zone
close to the Thames Barrier, the address
is raw and challenging.
However, sweeping transformation is
mapped out over the next decade. For
the long-term investor, this is a chance
to buy early.
At the moment, values are 30 per cent
cheaper than homes around the river
bend at Canary Wharf.
From £950,000: houses at Brentford Lock West are set around a traditional square
Focus is on the family as spring’s
Royal Docks leads the way as architects strive
to create thousands of lower-cost, future-proof
eco homes in London, says David Spittles
A decade ago, new-build houses in
London were disappearing, with fewer
than 1,100 under construction and only
155 in inner boroughs.
Today about 10,000 are in the
pipeline and many are available
now to move in to. But planning
£1.15 million:
townhouses at
Cobalt Place in
Battersea, left,
are among the
greenest new
homes in
London. They
come with
private gardens
but have
Battersea Park,
right, nearby.
Call Lend Lease
on 020 8879
priorities have changed from creating
small apartments for singles and
childless couples to building family
h o m e s t o ke e p p a re n t s i n t h e
capital to provide more balanced
This policy initiative is continuing.
Ahead of May’s general election, the
Royal Institution of British Architects
(RIBA) has launched a Build a Better
Britain campaign.
It is urging politicians to focus on the
built environment with a particular
emphasis on creating well-planned
spaces as well as energy-efficient
family homes.
“Well-designed townhouses do not
have to cost a fortune — and they can
help boost regeneration in run-down
areas by attracting families, who
demand better schools, libraries,
parks and neighbourhood shops,”
says RIBA. Developers have had to fall
in line with planners’ wishes and, to
their delight, have discovered huge,
unsatisfied demand for thoughtfullydesigned houses.
Housing associations at Epping are
boosting the numbers, too, making
cheaper new houses available,
sometimes on a shared ownership
basis, as at The Arboretum in Epping,
east London.
This is a rare new-build scheme
bordering the ancient forest and only
a 15-minute walk to the Central line
New homes Homes & Property with
says Mark Wilkinson, partner at
Knight Frank.
And the most demand is for the
mid-market £500,000-£800,000
price bracket.
From £494,995: new three-bedroom houses at The Arboretum, a scheme on the
edge of Epping Forest, below, with town-and-country appeal to London families
Link: a cable car connects Georgian
Greenwich with Royal Dock, where
Georgian-inspired townhouses are
part of the new-homes mix
new homes are launched
Tube station in the market town, which
has an 18th century high street and
some prized listed buildings.
The three-bedroom houses cost
from £494,995. Call L&Q on 0844
406 9800.
New houses are for rent at 67-acre East
Village, part of Queen Elizabeth II Park
in Stratford. In this area the homes sit
alongside parklands, play areas, wild
flower meadows and wetlands, while
private courtyards provide a safe
retreat for children.
Renting starts at £600 a week for a
four-bedroom townhouse. Call 020
3714 8083.
Modern lifestyles are shaping the
design of this new generation of
houses, and there is a decisive shift
away from the traditional idea of the
Awarded 5 stars for customer satisfaction
house as a box with defined rooms for
sleeping, eating and relaxing.
“Buyers want the new property to
have exciting design elements and also
to chime with the way they live,” says
Tony Travers, director of developer
The group is focusing on family
homes in outer travel zones with
gardens, roof terraces, bedrooms with
luxury en suite bathrooms, audio-vis-
ual treats such as a home cinema and
iPod docks, and environmentallyfriendly features, such as solar
However, affordable family houses
are still in the shortest supply, according to the National Association of
Estate Agents.
“The latent demand for this property
type in London is vast and growing
steadily, which pushes prices up,”
Kings Park in east London is a new
parkland estate being built next to
Harold Wood train station, which
will be on the Crossrail line (42 minutes
to Bond Street). Three-bedroom
houses cost from £475,000. Call
01708 348578.
Millbrook Park, Mill Hill, is a new
14-acre neighbourhood on the site of a
former barracks where townhouses
will be released later this year. A
park runs through the site with play
areas for children. A new primary
school has opened, too. To register, call
020 8371 9269.
At The Old Dairy in Streatham,
good-sized townhouses (up to 1,648sq
ft) with open-plan spaces and a highceiling attic-style master bedroom
cost £749,995. Call Bellway on 0845
548 3016.
Edgware Green, bordering the
Metropolitan Green Belt in north-west
London, has big four-bedroom townhouses (the smallest is 1,900sq ft)
priced from £720,000, with the helpto-buy deposit scheme available. Call
Barratt on 0844 811 4334.
Energy efficient Cobalt Place,
Battersea, is producing the most
highly-rated, energy-efficient family
homes in London, due to an advanced
form of timber construction that
reduces the amount of energy needed
to heat the building by 40 per cent,
while also improving air quality and
cutting noise pollution.
The three-storey, triple-glazed houses
have an outer layer of warm brick,
while a white open-plan interior on the
ground floor links to a walled private
garden. Prices from £1,150,000. Call
Lend Lease on 020 8879 9099.
Canalside townhouses are part of
11-acre Brentford Lock West, a regeneration project in west London that
involves upgrading the waterfront and
providing allotments for residents’ use.
The houses are set around a new town
square and have up to five bedrooms
and basement parking. Prices from
£950,000. Call 020 8569 7449.
Chiswick Point | Colonial Drive | Chiswick | W4 5NU
London W4
75% sold
Call: 0845 548 7020 Click:
Visit: Open daily 10am - 5pm
Homes & Property Renting with
Another suitcase in another hall
E HAVE been called
Generation Rent, but
we are also Generation
Transient, moving
from home to home
more often than many people go to the
dentist. In seven years of renting in the
capital, I have lived in nine homes with
about 15 different housemates. I was
on an average of about one home per
year, but due to a series of misfortunes
(landlord selling followed by a damp
problem that made it uninhabitable) I
have held three different addresses in
the last six months alone.
If you plot my rental journey around
London it forms a kind of squiggly
figure-of-eight, taking in Clapham
Common, Brockley, over the river to
Chelsea (if this looks out of place, that’s
because it is — I was kindly put up by
relatives for a few months after
finishing studying) and Dollis Hill, then
back south to Brixton and on to
Streatham Hill, Tulse Hill and finally to
Herne Hill.
I’ve lived in student halls of residence,
party houses, period houses, flats of
various shapes and styles and a dampinfested basement flat (never again).
Contrary to appearances, I am not
addicted to moving. Aside from the
expense, it’s tedious, exhausting and
fundamentally unsettling. But for me,
like many of London’s 2.2 million
private sector tenants, it has become
an all too frequent event.
also need to
step up by
doesn’t have
to be
word for
rental home in a convenient location,
once people are in, they become
desperate to stay, forfeiting their rights.
One of my friends moved in to a house
only to find that they could not
complain about anything because the
existing flatmates had done a deal with
the letting agent — let us stay and we’ll
be no bother.
In a micro survey of friends on
Facebook, the majority who are renting
have moved roughly once a year —
some even more. The worst case was
that of a former housemate, who
answered: “10 properties, over seven
years, and too many horror stories”.
One friend said she had lived in six
places over eight years. Another said
she managed to get a “long let” (two
years) but it came at a cost: ridiculously,
the landlord, who lives in Spain,
doesn’t want to get involved so he
won’t fix the holes in the roof. Great!
Normally, leases are only a year long
— sometimes with a six-month breakclause — which means you’re less likely
to have a chance to get to know your
neighbours and there’s insufficient
time to make it truly feel like home, so
it’s bad for communities, as well as
tenants. But a churning cycle of tenants
seems to be preferable to many
landlords — probably because it means
they don’t have to deal with problems
and they can put the rent up without
When I moved out of a shared house
to live with my boyfriend a couple of
years ago I thought it would get easier.
But the shortage of one-bedroom flats
means finding somewhere nice and
affordable and staying there is
surprisingly hard to do.
Such is the rarity of finding a good
Deputy Mayor for housing, land and
property, Richard Blakeway, says the
Mayor is “working hard with the
industry to improve the offer and
reduce the pressure on London’s
growing private sector”, with schemes
such as Get Living London at East
Village, the former athletes’ village in
Stratford, and “thousands” of homes
You can’t afford to buy so you rent, only to be kicked
out each time a tenancy ends. And it all costs a fortune.
Writer Miranda Bryant, 29, is living a London nightmare
being built at Pontoon Dock overlooking
Thames Barrier Park and Silvertown
Way in Canning Town.
Having recently visited East Village,
the flats and the three-year leases are
attractive, but with prices starting at
£395 a week for a one-bedroom flat,
stability comes with a hefty price tag.
Fizzy Living also offers leases of more
than a year, but the ones in good
locations are not cheap.
More of these schemes at a more
affordable price and in more locations
are needed. But private landlords also
need to step up by offering tenants
longer tenancies. Renting doesn’t have
to be a byword for unstable. It’s like
that because landlords, property
management agencies and letting
agents choose to make it like that and
authorities don’t force them to behave.
With property ownership slipping
further and further from the reach of
many Londoners in their twenties,
renting is here to stay, so let’s make it
a sustainable way to live.
On the move:
Miranda Bryant,
now based in
Herne Hill, has
lived in nine
London homes in
only seven years
east or
to find
the best
Newham, Lambeth
and Dagenham
are walking tall
as regeneration
takes hold, says
David Spittles
£288,950: flats at Pembury Circus, Hackney — built on a former council estate
IRST-TIME buyers are faced
with stark choices when
trying to get on the
property ladder. For most,
it boils down to either
compromising on a cheaper location
in an outer travel zone or squeezing
into a tiny flat closer to the centre.
Some are joining forces with friends
to make their money go further.
Others are taking on second jobs or
working overtime to save a bigger
deposit, even taking out personal
loans to bridge the funding gap.
And yet London still has affordable
areas, or at least pockets of decent
value, where the arithmetic can work
for first-time buyers. But these areas
are cheaper for a reason — terrible
transport links or the proximity of a
rough council estate or blighted
industrial land. However, the chances
are that such places will improve as
regeneration takes hold. Most buyers
are heading east or south, to what are
still the cheaper sides of London.
“Our research shows a real shift
east through Hackney and Newham
and a push south through Lambeth
and Lewisham,” says Johnny Morris,
head of research at Hamptons
Areas falling into favour include
Canning Town, Beckton, Barking,
Walthamstow and Leyton.
New Festival Quarter shares the
same postcode, E14, as Canary Wharf
and has one-bedroom flats priced
from £399,950. Set across four
buildings, the scheme has a private
gym, 24-hour concierge and
residents’ roof garden. Call Bellway
on 0845 459 5020.
The same developer has launched
Pembury Circus, 260 homes on the
site of a former council estate in
Hackney. Prices from £288,950. Call
0845 257 6064.
For many years, edgy Canning
Town, postcode E16, languished
outside the property market. The
game changer was the Olympics
going to Stratford, which cemented a
£3.7 billion regeneration programme.
Step out of the Jubilee line station
and you will be greeted by the
From £300,000: flats at Mast Quay, just five minutes from Woolwich town centre
soaring Vermilion development,
part of the ambitious 675-home
Rathbone Market renewal scheme,
comprising a new library, two public
squares plus purpose-built facilities
for market traders. Prices for
two-bedroom flats are from £138,000
(for a 40 per cent share), full price,
£345,000. Call 020 7758 8481.
One of the objectives is to connect
Canning Town with Canary Wharf,
Royal Docks and Silvertown. Nearby
Custom House has a DLR station and
will be on the Crossrail route when
the line opens in 2018.
Orchard Village in Dagenham is
being developed by Centra, part of
Circle housing association. It is
building 516 new homes for rent,
shared ownership and private sale.
Green routes through the
development link open spaces within
and around the site, including a new
community square with grids of trees
and sculptures of oversize fruits —
referencing the site’s former use as a
fruit farm. Three-bedroom
townhouses with garden, roof
terrace and parking space cost from
£335,000. Call 0845 223 0000.
First-time buyer territory takes in
Plumstead, Woolwich, Eltham,
Catford, Downham, Penge, Croydon,
South Norwood and Merton.
Lewisham has excellent rail links into
central London, while the DLR
provides a 15-minute hop to Canary
Wharf. A council-led transformation
of the town centre is under way, with
hundreds of new flats, plus a new
leisure centre, a reconfigured road
system and a new bus station and
shopping mall.
Riverdale House, an Eighties
office building notable for its
Modernist architectural style, is
being converted into 137 flats and will
have a hotel-style entrance foyer and
rooftop communal terraces. Running
alongside Ravensbourne River, the
site includes a Victorian mill with
water wheel. Prices from £225,000.
Call Galliard on 020 7620 1500.
Woolwich is set to benefit
massively from Crossrail in 2018.
Mast Quay is an attractive
waterfront development, five
minutes’ walk from the new station
and the town centre. Coming soon is
a new phase of 161 apartments priced
from £300,000. Call Comer Homes
on 020 8361 2424.
Grove Place, a 144-home high
street scheme, has two stylish
residential blocks overlooking a
piazza and gardens, plus each has a
hotel-style entrance foyer and secure
parking. Prices from £300,000. Call
Galliard on 020 3733 3884.
First-time buyers Homes & Property
#, ,',"!,',
#%!',", *," -
) ) )- $ #
% ! -
" -( )))-$#%!-"-(
Registered Society 30441R Exempt charity. Details correct at time of going to print
02/15. Image represents typical Shared Ownership purchasers. Your home is at
risk if you fail to keep up repayments on a mortgage, rent or other loan secured on
it. Please make sure you can afford the repayments before you take out a mortgage.
Homes & Property Homes abroad with
HOLIDAY home in the
central Italian region of
Tuscany is the perfect daydream for many overseas
buyers. Find a ruined
stone farmhouse, buy it for a song,
renovate it with a team of builders and
bingo: the perfect holiday casa.
The main flaw in this plan is that the
Sixties property prices in the Chianti
region have doubled every decade on
average while regional authorities have
resolutely preserved their finest assets.
The green hills, the traditional trattorias and the vines remain untouched
— there are little new-build projects and
prices have escalated sharply.
Six years on from the start of the
recession, prices in Tuscany remain
around 30 per cent down on 2007 levels and, with the pound surging against
the weakened euro, surely this is an
interesting time to house hunt.
“We are certainly seeing more interest in Tuscany and property that is
attractively priced can sell quickly in
what is otherwise a slow market,” says
Jelena Cvjetkovic of Savills.
Twenty minutes west of Siena and
within one hour of Florence and San
Gimignano, Castello di Casole has
been selling the Tuscan dream for a
decade. The 4,200-acre historic estate
includes an elegant five-star hotel, a
spa and restaurant and a 3,800-acre
wildlife reserve with resident deer, wild
boar, rabbits and pheasants. There are
From £261,600: at Castello di Casole, refurbished and new farmhouses come
with a neighbouring lavish five-star hotel and excellent sports facilities and spa
Head for the Castello with euros to spare
28 farmhouses spread over the rural
acres, some restored from ruins and
some carefully reconstructed newbuilds on the site of former homes.
The final five home sites are now for
sale. A four-bedroom 4,200 sq ft home
costs £3,176,000 for outright ownership
or can be bought in fractions starting
from £261,600 for a 12th share. Small
two-bedroom homes close to the hotel
are £261,600 for full ownership.
Casole is owned by US-based Timbers
Resorts and early buyers were
predominately American, but that is
now changing, says sales director
Patrick Jeffas.
“There are around 200 owners from
20 different countries at Casole from
Singapore to the UK,” says Jeffas. “They
are an international community who
chose Casole for the chance to own an
exclusive property in an exclusive area
without fear of over-development.”
Paul and Gail Fitzgerald, owners of a
House hunt in Tuscany while the pound is
strong and Italian homes remain 30 per cent
below 2007 levels, says Cathy Hawker
specialist engineering company, are
typical of many owners. They left London in 1987 to live in Boston, Massachusetts, and spend around two to
three months each year at Casole.
“At Casole I work via internet in the
morning and in the afternoon we go
exploring,” says Paul.
“We tour vineyards and walk the Via
Francigena, the old pilgrim path, or
visit Siena.”
Annual service charges at Casole are
from £8,220 for fractional ownership
and £49,000 for full ownership, a price
existing owners willingly pay for the
security of an exclusive property in an
exclusive area, says Jeffas. Owners
Tranquillity: rental properties from include everything from
cosy stone cottages to historic homes that can accommodate up to 30 people
who rent through Casole receive
between 50 and 60 per cent of the
rental income.
Choose a remote Tuscan farmhouse
and you may regret the isolation.
“I lived in Tuscany for some years and
came to appreciate the pleasure of having nearby shops and restaurants and
the chance for a neighbourly chat,” says
Cvjetkovic. “Today I would choose to
live on the edge of a village.”
Savills is selling homes at Villa
Arceno, an estate of stone farmhouses
with a communal pool, 17 miles from
Siena in Chianti’s hills. Homes were
renovated 15 years ago and re-sales start
from £478,500 for three bedrooms.
There’s a celebrity connection, too:
Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth married
his Italian wife Livia there in 1997.
Other areas Cvjetkovic tips include
the southernmost corner of Tuscany
on the border with Lazio, where villages such as Pitigliano, Sorano and
Sovana offer an authentic Italian lifestyle with a sense of community.
Further north, quiet villages in the
Pisan Hills north-west of Volterra
include Lari, where unremarkable
two-bedroom apartments start from
£97,000 and country cottages from
O Castello di Casole castellodicasole.
O Savills
£3.176 million: buyers of this large, 4,200 sq ft, four-bedroom villa with an
infinity pool at Castello di Casole can enjoy the peace the location offers
Renters looking to bag a holiday
home in Tuscany are getting more
sophisticated, says Simon Ball of
family-run rental firm Tuscany Now.
They expect more than just a house on
a hill with a pool.
“Air conditioning, en suite bathrooms
and a great kitchen are all expected,”
adds Ball. “There is large demand for
homes where you can walk to a village.
Renters also want privacy, views and
tranquillity, which often clashes with
the idea of walking into a village, as
that is the only place in Tuscany where
you can build new buildings.”
Tuscany Now has 180 exclusive
properties on its books, from barns
with one bedroom from £760 a week
in low season to historic villas sleeping
30 people for £13,461 in high season.
The longest rental period of homes
on the company’s books is 32 weeks
and generally 24 weeks for larger
O Tuscany Now
Homes & Property London life with
As one quirky London district has its naughty
bits covered by smart flats, plush hotels and
chain restaurants, is Tin Pan Alley the next
to face ‘cleansing’, asks Nick Curtis
IRST Soho, now Tin Pan Alley:
according to some, these
special areas, geographically
small but a big part of what
makes London special, are
the latest victims of the wider capital’s
unstoppable economic success. The
steady closure in Soho of small
businesses — including sex shops, and
the cabaret club Madame Jojo’s after
an assault — in favour of residential
developments, hotels and chain
restaurants, has led many to claim the
area is being “sanitised”.
Now there are fears that Denmark
Street, a pivotal part of London’s music
scene since 1911, where the Rolling
Stones and the Sex Pistols recorded
and Elton John wrote Your Song, will
be cleansed. Consolidated Development, which has owned the street for
more than 20 years, plans a “permeable” mixed-use building on St Giles
High Street — with an “indoor-outdoor”
piazza at its base giving access to the
thousands of passengers expected to
pass through Tottenham Court Road
station once Crossrail arrives — that will
necessitate the demolition of one
building on the north side of Denmark
Street and others in Denmark Place,
the alleyway behind.
Consolidated’s owner Laurence
Kirschel claims there are more musicbased businesses in the area today than
there were when he took it over and
the development is “totally preserving
Denmark Street and reinforcing its
music history”. Plans include a new
2,000-seat underground venue, a “hall
of fame” exhibition in Denmark Place,
“a sort of non-members Groucho Club
for the music”, and an agreement with
Camden Council that shop leases that
fall vacant will be offered first to music
A campaign and online petition to
“save Denmark Street”, focusing on the
Forge building occupied by the 12 Bar
Club, as well as the area’s musical
history, quickly gained support.
Last month Tom Harvey of the SohoCreate Festival issued an open letter,
signed by Stephen Fry, Benedict
Cumberbatch and Idris Elba among
others, asking the government and the
mayor to protect Soho’s unique character. That same month the 12 Bar Club
was closed because of safety concerns
and rent arrears according to Kirschel.
Protesters took over the building.
Speaking before their anticipated
eviction last Friday, one of the
occupiers, Steve, said: “We want to
keep this place open as a community
centre. What do I think our chances
are? Absolutely zero.”
Kirschel points out that for all the
romance clinging to these two zones
either side of the Charing Cross Road,
one in Camden and the other in
Westminster, Soho was a violent,
‘The area’s
going to
change, but
it’s not going
to be as fast
as people
Hank’s Guitars,
Denmark Street,
Carrying on:
Crossrail has
of Tottenham
Court Road,
below right,
though some
survive, as made
clear by some
%" $!!! $%! %
$$,$$$$ $"(#$$$
$$$$$$$$#! ""#
London life Homes & Property with
rates keep
going up: it
costs us
£3,000 a
week now’
Manager of deli
i Camisa,
Old Compton
Street, left
Losing battle: campaigners say the character of Soho is being threatened
threatening place, and Denmark Place
a hot spot for drug crime.
My wife worked for a Soho ad agency
in the Eighties — any girl running an
errand was given a film canister to
prevent her being accosted as a
prostitute. Later in her career she
regularly saw junkies shooting up in
the basement wells of empty offices
opposite the north end of Denmark
Street, where Renzo Piano’s posterpaint coloured Central St Giles development now stands.
There are divisions among campaigners. The actor Rupert Everett has championed the case of sex workers who
want to stay in Soho. Restaurateur
Russell Norman, of the Polpo group,
told ES magazine last month that he
thought strip clubs should stay, but the
brothels should go. Leslie Hardcastle,
president of The Soho Society, fears
corporate property investors will overrun the place with their soulless “lock
and leave” homes that will kill community life and the creative spirit in the
area on which these venues thrive.
Walk through Denmark Street and
Soho, and the traders, whose livelihoods would seem to be most at threat,
voice a raft of opinions. “The area’s
definitely going to change, but it’s not
going to be as fast as people think,” said
Felix Lawrie, sales assistant at Hank’s
Guitars in Denmark Street.
A manager of another nearby music
shop, who asked not to be named,
shrugged: “It’s the nature of capitalism,
isn’t it? The centre gets sanitised, but
the 12 Bar has already reopened in
Holloway and there are interesting
music scenes springing up in Blackheath and Hornsey.”
Bev Crome, of the Rose Morris Piano
Centre, was more regretful: “This is a
community. People help each other
out, we sell different brands and refer
customers to each other. In five years
it will all have changed. It’s a shame.”
Cristina Onuta, manager of the Italian
deli, i Camisa, in Old Compton Street
for 16 years, has watched all the old
businesses disappearing: “The business rates keep going up: it costs us
£3,000 a week now.”
The traders of Berwick Street market,
many of whom have worked their
pitches for 40-plus years, didn’t want
to talk. But Martin Borovick, the
third generation of his family to run
Borovick Fabrics in Berwick Street,
said: “The day of the market has gone.
We could do with Berwick Street being
developed — not gentrification but
What is the middle course between the
needs of a changing city and the history
that gives these parts of London its
character? Borovick praised the actions
of Shaftesbury, a major Soho landowner, which has upgraded premises
on Newburgh Street and encouraged
independent traders to move in.
John James of Soho Estates, another
major landowner, which is currently
doing up Walker’s Court and planning
to relaunch its own version of Madame
Jojos, said: “Encouraging independent
traders has always been at the forefront
of Soho Estates’ lettings policy and will
continue to be so.”
Harvey would like local authorities
to “be more strategic” in the developments they allow and encourage the
creative industries into the centre of
London. The idea of “heritage rents”
has been raised to protect historic
businesses, but “rent control” has a
scary sound to many. Soho and Denmark Street could potentially be
declared areas of Special Policy, which
would theoretically preserve their
character. But such a designation
failed to prevent US clothing firm
Abercrombie & Fitch from muscling
into Savile Row.
Camden council sees no need for this.
‘The market’s days are gone.
But we need modernisation
rather than gentrification’
Borovick Fabrics, Berwick Street, above
Ditto Westminster. Councillor Jonathan
Glanz said: “It would be wrong for this
generation to claim Soho’s current
look, feel, shops or bars as worthy of
special status when those who created
the Soho of today were themselves in
many ways doing so by re-inventing its
Will the next step be serious
sanitisation or a new flowering of creativity in Soho and Berwick Street?
Watch this space.
Homes & Property My home with
Eye for a deal:
London Central
Portfolio founder
Naomi Heaton
loves sniffing out
a bargain
Start with
classic good
taste — then
add the
She’s made a career out of selling London
property to the super-rich but Naomi Heaton
knows luxury’s limits, as she tells Liz Hoggard
OU might think Naomi
Heaton was an actress. She’s
all dressed in black,
accessorised with gold
jewellery and she’s holding
a harp; her voice a low, thespy drawl.
In fact Heaton is a formidable
property queen — as founder and chief
executive at London Central Portfolio
(LCP), she sources prime residential
property in central London on behalf
of international blue-chip clients.
Her area of expertise is helping
people invest in the private rented
sector. She has made her fortune
acquiring one- and two-bedroom
properties for clients in the areas
around Hyde Park (Knightsbridge,
Kensington and Chelsea, Marylebone,
South Kensington), with a typical price
tag of £2 million. We are in her newly
renovated five-storey Nash villa, just
off the Outer Circle overlooking
Regent’s Park. I’m expecting a slightly
bland, international decorating style.
But, actually, Heaton has a touchingly
eccentric interior. The house is a riot
of colour and every object has a very
personal association.
There’s an entrance hall, modelled
on Leighton House, with a fishpond
and sculpture by Paul Vanstone. She
hosts recitals in the house and has her
parents’ piano and that harp. “My
husband’s children are choral scholars,
so they’re extremely musical,” she
informs me.
She bought the house, which dates
from 1824, because of its magnificent
staircase and original cornicing, but
there were few other original features.
“It was a blank canvas, so it’s very
much a collaboration between myself
and my husband. He has a fantastic eye
for design,” she says.
Renovations took three years because
it’s a listed house, part of the Crown
Estate. And the couple needed to
create a bespoke interior to suit a
grown-up family. Eight years ago
Heaton got together with her second
husband, a doctor. “We knew each
other a very long time ago, but we came
back together in new, single lives. It’s
a very nice story,” she says.
In the meantime they had both
married and divorced — her husband
has two teenage children, while Naomi
has two married stepsons. So the new
house needs to make every member of
the extended family feel welcome.
In the gold, first-floor sitting room, a
long curved sofa with Turkish fringing
means everyone can sit together.
Playful touches include a James I chest
and a hippo from Liberty.
The basement kitchen, the hub of the
house, has a huge range. Displayed
around the room are their collection
of Imperial Ironstone plates and
original tiles. Flat-fronted cupboards
recall an old-fashioned chemist’s shop.
Next door is the dining room with a
long table and chairs bought at auction,
upholstered in bright yellow. Working
with an architect, they’ve removed a
wall and added a skylight.
“We wanted to create something
that had a classical Georgian feel,
but with a slightly eclectic twist,” she
tells me. “We’re not in Georgian
times, so you want to bring in other
elements. It’s an inspiration, rather
than a slavish copy.”
The L-shaped mews house attached
to the back of the villa has a separate
entrance, so younger members of the
family have independence.
Here they’ve created a snug/games
room and bedrooms for her husband’s
teenage son and daughter.
Heaton and her husband occupy the
top of the house. The master bedroom
combines a carved four-poster and a
naval gun cabinet with modern
touches, such as “invisible” wardrobe
space and a secret en suite.
Passionate collectors, the house is a
showcase for their art, including works
by Martin Bradley, Ceri Richards,
Michael Ayrton, Peter Howson and
John Piper. The eau-de-nil landing
displays original watercolours and
ceramic pieces.
You can look down the staircase,
50% Sale
Enjoy an extra
20% off
starts Saturday*
Chingford | Chiswick | East Sheen | Fulham | Hammersmith | Hampstead | Kingston | Tottenham Court Road
Beds, Furniture, Mattresses, Bed Linen, Bedding & Accessories
33 Stores Nationwide | 01243 380 600
in store for details
My home Homes & Property with
which they had sandblasted, all the way
to the basement. “Everywhere you look
there’s a vista you can enjoy,” says
Heaton. They’ve been acquiring big
17th and 18th century oils for the
proportions of the house. “They go for
nothing compared with contemporary
art,” she marvels. “It’s the same with
brown furniture, which I’m sure will
come back in fashion.”
Waiting for a special piece is the
opposite of instant gratification, though
she admits they had some heated
arguments. “I’d stomp off and we had
to reconvene,” she confesses. “But it’s
a lovely thing to create a home.”
Heaton is very focused. After studying
human sciences at Oxford, she worked
in advertising, becoming the youngest
female director of Saatchi & Saatchi,
and a main board director of Young &
Rubicam, advising blue-chip clients
such as Heinz and Cadbury.
“I bought my first property in Camden
Town in my early twenties,” she says.
“I couldn’t understand why anyone
would rent rather than buy. It was a real
struggle then, just as it is now. You were
able to get big multiples of your salary,
then I borrowed from my parents and
my boyfriends’ parents.
“It was more important for me to
have a modest lifestyle and live
somewhere, than go out having lots of
dinners or buying clothes.”
It gave her the taste for property and
she started “sniffing out bargains”,
which she renovated and sold as a
hobby. She admits that she “had that
entrepreneurial streak in my blood. I
trawled the classified ads in newspapers
looking for the deal”. She learned to
buy well, but also to renovate stylishly
— to a budget — to give added value.
Finally, she set up her own property
company. LCP will find, purchase,
renovate, let and manage the property
for clients. “We have no third parties
so we can control the cost,” Heaton
says. Today she runs a team of 50
employees. She specialises in one- and
two-beds, because the rental market is
largely made up of corporate tenants
— mostly “the children of very wealthy
clients studying here” or professional
couples, located to London through
their jobs. “What they want is
something very similar to the boutique
hotels that they’ve been staying in,”
says Heaton of her clients.
Only the ultra-wealthy can bag
£1 million-plus flats, of course. When I
moan about foreign non-coms taking
over London housing stock, she offers
a robust defence: 50 per cent of the
central London market is bought for
buy-to-let investment. This fills a
socioeconomic role, stimulating
economic growth and providing jobs
for a huge array of professions.
“We did an analysis on the private
rented sector and each year brings in
at least £1.5 billion into the economy,”
she declares.
She insists we’re only talking about
six square miles (prime central London
is confined to the Royal Borough of
Kensington & Chelsea and the City of
Westminster). “It’s a tiny market.
There are only 5,000 transactions in a
Above, from left: the entrance hall is
modelled on Leighton House in
Holland Park and has a shallow
fishpond with a sculpture by Paul
Vanstone at its centre; the eau-de-nil
landing displays watercolours and
ceramics; contemporary design
delivers a sleek modern bathroom
year, only 100 per week,” she says.
“Half are buying to rent out. So 50 per
cent is occupied, there are no lights out
there. And the bubble is not going to
burst. Worldwide people see London
as this safe haven asset class.”
These properties are not designed or
developed for Londoners, she says
firmly. Not only are they unaffordable,
but they are too small to be appealing.
“The average price is £1.7 million so it
has nothing to do with the domestic
housing market — and it never did.”
She will never overbid on a property,
and knows exactly what rent it should
yield. Location and style tends to be
more important than the number of
rooms, she says. The key is to go for a
contemporary, neutral styling with
practical, hard-wearing materials.
“In the private rented sector you have
to create something that endures,” she
insists. “Our business model is the
antithesis of Candy & Candy, where it’s
a triumph of style over substance.”
Her own house is rather different, of
course, with its bold palette, stained
glass and antique curios. The business
model she developed for individual
investors has led LCP to launch its
dedicated residential property funds
buying properties to rent. This allows
you to get into the market with an
investment starting from £25,000.”
The first two funds, launched in 2007
and 2010, have shown a return on
investment of more than 50 per cent
since acquisition. “By investing savings
in the fund, it provides a way for young
professional Londoners to keep pace
with the rapidly inflating London
market as they save up for their
deposit,” she explains. LCP has since
then pioneered the launch of the only
two Sharia-compliant residential funds
in the UK, meaning that the prime
London market is open to all investors.
O LCP has just announced a new offer
of shares in its fourth vehicle, London
Central Apartments II (LCA II), a listed
investment company.
LCA II takes advantage of the surge in
interest to invest in central London
residential, capitalising on its excellent
growth performance, both short and
long term. Open for SIPPs, ISAs and
accepting a minimum subscription of
£25,000 from eligible investors, for
more details visit londoncentral
Eclectic twist:
Naomi Heaton
wanted a classic
Georgian feel
with a difference,
as with these
dining chairs
bought at
Photographs :
David Butler
We’re the
the No
No 11 choice
choice for
for both
cottage owners
owners and
and holidaymakers
Join Britain’s
Britain’s favourite
favourite holiday
holiday letting
letting agency
agency and
and benefit
benefit from:
•• AA personal
personal and
and friendly
friendly service
service with
with aa dedicated
dedicated Regional
Manager based
based in
in your
your area
•• £Multi-million
£Multi-million marketing
marketing campaigns
•• All
All properties
properties graded
graded to
to tourist
tourist board
board standards
standards FREE
of charge
FREE photography
photography and
and professional
professional copywriting
Call our
our Property
Property Recruitment
Recruitment team
team on
on 0345
0345 268
268 8517
Email [email protected]
[email protected]
or visit
Homes & Property Design with
By Barbara Chandler
ign trend
tropical is topical
Above left: Tesco
cushion, £8,
43cm square in
blend (able to
wash in machine);
pad (available
Below left: a
pineapple brass
jewellery stand,
18cm high, £20,
from Oliver
Bonas, with
38 stores across
London (oliver
Below: from
Isatu Funna
comes this Fanjul
fabric in a choice
of three colours.
On a bench,
£490, cushions
are £66
Right: Christian
Lacroix Maison’s
Manaos print
fabric (curtains)
and canopy
(on stool) both
£98 a metre
from designers
+! # %+" &#
# ++
" #
Design Homes & Property with
Far left top:
round plywood
tray (46cm
across); £62 from or
0800 587 7645
Far left bottom:
jungle butterfly
cushions in
printed cotton
(washable in
machines, 40cm
square), with
duck feather
pad, £28; from
Oliver Bonas
(as before)
Left centre:
bedding from,
prices, £17 single
set, £25 double
Left: Linea resin
for outdoors,
£30; 42cm high,
from House of
Fraser stores
(houseoffraser. or call
0345 602 1073)
++ *+0,8+ ,90+6+8
%% #%
# +!
Move in today with as little as
5% deposit with Help to Buy
Homes & Property Interiors
Window treatments can
make a significant
difference to the natural
light in your property. Make
sure your curtains and
blinds are set high or wide
enough to remain clear of
the windows and allow
in the maximum amount of
light, even on dull days.
If you are doing a full makeover,
lighting is a cost-effective way to boost
your design aesthetic and create
different moods.
Lighting should be considered at
design stage and planned to reflect
how the room will be used.
All rooms need a variety of light, from
ambient and accent lighting to utility
and task lighting. Where possible, put
in combinations of all of these, with
adjustable lights, dimmer switches,
lamps, skirting lights and undercupboard lights. Down lighting, which
has a bad reputation, can be effective
when a dimmer switch is used. This will
create a soft overall glow adding to the
ambience of the room.
Spotlights should be used to highlight
key features and architectural detailing,
while skirting lights and lamps can add
design features and fun. One area often
neglected is the staircase. LED striplighting to wrap around the stairs can
turn it into a real feature.
My design
Naomi Heaton, reveals how to give a two-bedroom flat
a fabulous interior with her simple 10-point action plan
Colour is back in — whether you
paint a feature wall, as here, or are
brave enough to paint every wall in a
single shade to make a design statement.
Keeping the large items of your
room or living area neutral, such as
sofas or armchairs (below right), will
help enhance the overall scheme and
really make your walls stand out.
Don’t be afraid, however, to use
clashing colours on small items
such as cushions or dining chairs to
make a daring statement and brighten
the room.
Having considered your artificial
light, the next tip is to maximise the
natural light in your property. If you
have a small, dark home (as so many of
us in London do), using natural light to
enhance the sense of space is essential.
Your paint colour choices can really
assist in brightening up your rooms,
and the first stage is to consider the
direction that each of your windows
face. North-facing rooms, for example,
can often look cold and can benefit
from warm wall colours to create a
cosier space. Dark rooms should stay
away from light-sapping yellow and
beige colours.
Mirrors can really help brighten any
room by being placed strategically
opposite windows to bounce off the
light to the rest of the room.
For those who do not feel that they
can go the whole nine yards, a really
bold feature wall is the most costeffective way to add personality and
style to your property.
Pick a wallpaper with large patterns
or paint one wall in a striking and
contrasting colour.
These will help liven up your space
and set your property apart from the
deluge of beige that so many British
homes favour. To tie the feature wall
into your décor, use echoes of the
same colour or pattern in your soft
furnishings, or alternatively choose
bold plain contrasts.
Interiors Homes & Property with
On the subject of big, do not
neglect the effect of making things
oversized when you are planning your
refurbishment. A simple change, such
as a taller door, will help make even
the smallest room even more spacious.
In a period space with tall ceilings, tall
doors will make it feel grander.
Think about oversized skirting, extra
tall kitchen units (the extra space is
practical too) and extra wide floor
boards. They inevitably create impact.
In the same vein, do not shy away
from statement pieces of furniture
such as large floor lights or oversized
pictures. A few large pieces in a small
room will actually enhance the sense
of space and give your finished design
that extra wow.
Do not overcomplicate when it
comes to technology. It is easy to be
drawn in by the latest gizmos and apps
that will turn your lights on and off,
lock your house or turn your heating
on before you get home. These gadgets
can often be unreliable, break down
and, more often than not, will end up
unused. The truth is that even the
simplest dimmer switch can create all
the mood scenes you need.
Instead, only consider the gadgets
that will enhance your lifestyle. Do you
hold a lot of dinner parties? A sound
system that can be played in every
room will make your parties a mustattend event. Do you like to take long
baths? A TV set into the bathroom wall
would be a great investment and make
any bathroom high spec.
In recent years, we have seen a
trend towards sharp lines, minimal
interiors and neutral colour palettes.
But sometimes this is not conducive to
relaxed living. So think about mixing
modern pieces with some old antique
furniture. It gives instant character
and that cosy, lived-in look.
( !&
A property can feel disjointed if
colours vary dramatically from room
to room. To create a flow throughout
your home, which will maximise the
sense of space, coordinate the colour
scheme across all of the rooms.
Plan floor by floor, ensuring that
colours in linked rooms harmonise
together. One suggestion is to use
lighter and darker shades of the same
colour. Another option is to find hues
that complement one another. The
best way to do this is to select shades
with the same undertones.
Stick to red undertones throughout,
for example. You can also layer more
than one complimentary colour in a
room to create added interest.
Bathrooms are an opportunity
to get creative and be bold with tiling.
Mosaic tiling behind a bathtub or in a
shower cubicle can create a dramatic
statement and help move your
bathroom from bland to hotel chic.
Also consider metro tiles for a stylish
retro look. As the tiles are small, think
about mixing colours or be brave and
intersperse with a metallic finish.
Kitchens, too, can be enhanced by
creative tiling. Another idea is to paint
behind a glass splashback, which is an
economic way to provide a luxury
look. Don’t overlook floor tiles either,
as large bold floor tiles can add to the
sense of space.
) $&-%+
,&%, *& $'$#%+
Outdoors Homes & Property with
The busy Londoner’s
way to grow flowers
Planting tiny seeds in even lines can be a tricky business,
but there are other options to avoid random scattering
PRING is the time for seed
sowing, but fine seeds are
tricky to handle and random
scattering can deliver random
This year there are easier and quicker
ways to sow and grow, such as rolling
out biodegradable mats impregnated
with seed that you just settle on to the
soil, and water. A pack of GroMat Gardens from contains
a two-metre mat that, laid and watered,
will deliver a spread of summer flowers
in more than a dozen varieties — colour
coordinated in either blues and purples
or reds and pinks. If you grow edibles,
sow faster and more accurately with
tapes that hold vegetable seeds at regular intervals; just bury them beneath a
layer of soil and water, and then wait.
Email our RHS
expert at: expert
selected to complement, and not
compete with, the flowers.
Once you’ve watered the turf through
the first season, you simply cut back in
a u t u m n . Yo u c a n e v e n b u y a
shade-tolerant turf to suit parts of the
garden that receive little light, such as
the dry, tricky area around trees; see
Head gardeners who tend large plots
look for short cuts. Martin Duncan, of
Arundel Castle Gardens in West Sussex,
enthuses about a roll-out turf ready
sown with wildflowers that you cut to
fit the shape you need.
He gets double flower power by
planting bulbs before rolling out the
turf so that, he says, you get a spring
extravaganza followed by wildflowers.
The dense sward acts as a weed
blanket so the wildflowers get a head
start, and the native grasses in the
50/50 flowers and grasses mix are
Suttons ( has a good
range now, and promises a range of
cut flower seed tapes for next year.
Meanwhile, you can throw and grow
your own urban meadow, with onecentimetre clay balls (,
or from Clifton Nurseries) that each
hold about 100 wildflower seeds suspended in a mix of clay, peat-free
compost and a pinch of pest-deterring
chilli powder. Just fling them into pots,
If you can’t decide which vegetable
varieties to grow in plot or pot, let the
expert, Pippa Greenwood, take out the
guesswork. She is sending out her
tried-and-tested, tastiest choices in
small to large collections from next
m o n t h , w i t h f o l l ow- u p we e k ly
advice to take you from planting to
harvesting (
grow-your-own). Meanwhile, foodies
can add two newly available and readyto-grow fashionable ingredients to
their potagers: wild Italian asparagus
crowns from and
Deep South sweet potato tubers —
Carolina Ruby, Georgia Jet — from
Take a short cut:
bypass seed
sowing this
spring by using
plug plants for
edibles and
summer annuals
Sow very simple:
bring wildflowers
into your garden
with a readysown, roll-out
turf that can be
cut to fit
planters or on to spare ground for a
wealth of wildflowers this summer.
Of course, there is always the option
of buying plug plants, whether you
want wildflowers in the lawn (wiggly, flowering annuals or
young vegetables (every garden
centre). These can be planted straight
into the ground or container, whether
you’re after rocket, red campion or
trailing verbena.
Fancy a herb garden, but short on
space? Let garden designer Antony
Henn send you a box of aromatic
bouquet garni consisting of seven
chunky organic herb plants, the newest
in his Garden on a Roll collection. The
wooden box, which doubles as the
planter, contains a bag of compost, full
instructions and numbered plants to
correspond with a numbered chart. All
you do is place the plants in their
positions according to the chart, add
compost and water well. As the plants
grow, either keep them in check by
clipping or plant them in individual
pots, window boxes or in the ground.
You could make a bee and butterfly
border, guided by the experts who
provide plants for many of the
Chelsea Flower Show gardens: Crocus,
in association with waitrosegarden.
com. Their planting recipe, comprising
27 plants for £139, promises a buzzing
pink and blue summer border, as well
as seedheads for birds.
That’s what I call results gardening.
Summer in a box: bring in bees and
butterflies with a border of 27 plants
sent to your door from Crocus
O For outdoor events this month, visit
Homes & Property Property searching
In an impressive stuccoed period
building in tree-lined Nevern Road,
SW5, Faron Sutaria has this spacious
studio apartment for sale.
A recently refurbished two-bedroom
flat in Warwick Road, close to good
transport links. Through Foxtons.
A large three-bedroom refurbished
flat for sale in popular Philbeach
Gardens. Through Foxtons.
ARLS Court is at the centre
of one of the big gest
redevelopments in London.
There was a time not so long
ago when it was a neighbourhood of tatty bedsits and cheap hotels.
It was more famous for its Art Deco
exhibition centre directly opposite the
Warwick Road entrance to Earl’s Court
tube station than the quality of its
housing stock.
However, the bedsits and hotels have
been largely swept away and replaced
by spacious flats to rival those in nearby
South Kensington.
The famous exhibition centre closed
in December. It is to be replaced by an
£8 billion scheme that will replace the
two exhibition halls, the exhibition car
park, a Transport for London repair
depot and two council estates. The
result will be the creation of a neighbourhood stretching from Warwick
Road in the east to North End Road.
Over the next 15 years, Capital &
Counties Properties (Capco), the developer, working from a Sir Terry Farrell
masterplan, is proposing to build 7,500
new homes, of which 1,500 will be
affordable, with a new high street
running through the centre.
Layouts are planned to work sympathetically with much of the traditional
architecture of squares, and mansion
blocks that make up large parts of the
wider area of Earls Court.
A new primary school will be built
and £5 million worth of improvements
will be made to West Brompton station,
including lengthening the platforms.
The imposing Empress State Building
will be vacated by the Metropolitan
Police in 2019 and converted into an
additional 500 homes.
Capco is a UK company, working with
a UK team. There will be a large sporting and leisure centre in the middle of
the new estate. Prices start at £595,000
in the first phase, called Lillie Square,
already being sold off-plan, with penthouses of £1.5 million.
Earls Court is three miles from central
London with the busy Cromwell Road with
Earls Court
putting on
the biggest
show in
An £8 billion project to regenerate
Earls Court will bring 7,500
new homes to central London,
discovers Anthea Masey
Above: the iconic
Troubadour café
in the Old
Brompton Road,
and, left, the
highly prized
properties of
Kenway Road
to the north; South Kensington and
Chelsea to the west; Fulham to the
south and West Kensington and
Barons Court to the east. The almost
equally busy Warwick Road runs
through the area.
It has garden squares and roads of
red brick mansion flats and large
four and five-storey terrace houses.
There is also an enclave of smaller
terrace houses in the area known as
Kenway Village around Kenway Road
to the east of Earls Court Road. There
are also several mews tucked away.
Estate agent Ian Barrett of Marsh &
Parsons describes the area as eclectic.
A four-bedroom, three bathroom,
townhouse in a pretty terrace in
Redfield Lane. Through Milton Stone.
To find a home in Earls Court, visit
For more about Earls Court, visit
Property searching Homes & Property with
Right: the
beautiful period
red brick
mansion houses
of Philbeach
(Average prices)
One-bedroom flat £825,000
Two-bedroom flat £1.27 million
Two-bedroom house £1.56 million
Three-bedroom house £2 million
Four-bedroom house £3.55 million
Source: Zoopla
(Average rates)
One-bedroom flat £2,031 a month
Two-bedroom flat £2,956 a month
Two-bedroom house £3,739 a month
Three-bedroom house £8,522 a month
Four-bedroom house £10,651 a month
Right: petals
strewn invitingly
in front of
Only Roses,
Old Brompton
Road’s boutique
Source: Zoopla
O The best schools in and around
Earls Court
O The latest housing developments
in Earls Court
O The best roads — not always the
same as the most expensive
NEXT WEEK: Brixton. Do you
live there? Tell us what you
think @HomesProperty
Daniel Lynch
“Earls Court is definitely flatland, but
flats range from large 3,000sq ft
mansion flats to studios selling for
around £350,000, and price per square
foot can vary from £950 a square foot
for a basement flat in the less favoured
roads west of Earls Court Road to as
much as £2,400 a square foot for a first
floor flat in Barkston Gardens.”
Best roads: The garden squares to the
east of Earls Court Road: Bramham
Gardens, Barkston Gardens and
Courtfield Gardens.
Breathing space: Earls Court Square is a mix of open space and splendid houses
Earls Court Road has some fine Victorian pubs. The street also has chain
restaurants such as Zizzi, Wagamama,
Byron and Nando’s. Garnier is a popular traditional French restaurant. There
are two top cocktail bars: Evans & Peel
Detective Agency and Ping Kitchen,
Bar & Ping Pong Rooms with real ping
pong tables. Along Old Brompton Road
there is a lovely flower shop Only Roses
which imports roses from Ecuador,
reputedly the best in the world.
There are cafés, too, including the
famous Troubadour, which first
opened in 1954 and is still going strong
with its all-day café, a wine shop and
live music and poetry.
Open space: Holland Park is the
nearest large park. Brompton Cemetery is run by The Royal Parks; a
tranquil area of 39 acres with 35,000
monuments and graves; it is a Site of
Nature Conservation Importance and
is currently trying to raise £500,000
to unlock a £3.7 million Lottery grant
for its restoration.
Council: Kensington & Chelsea (Conservative-controlled); Band D council
tax: 2014/2015 year: £1066.79.
What in Earls Court connects this
singer with Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan
and Adele? Find the answer at
Homes & Property Ask the expert with
We want to get cracking before the big day
WE ARE buying a
property that has been
empty for a while. It was
let to students and is in a
bad state. We want to have it
rewired and fit a new central
heating system, and it will need
redecorating. We are getting
married in two months and it
would be helpful if we could get in
to do some work while we still have
the flat we are renting. The selling
agent says we probably can’t get in
until we complete. What can we do
to gain early access?
YOU have no right to access
the property prior to
completion, although some
sellers will allow access for
limited purposes after exchange of
contracts — for a buyer’s contractor
to inspect the property and quote for
works to be done, for example — but
will not permit work to start.
Provide your solicitor with full
details of the intended works and the
name of the contractors you want to
use, and request schedules of work
and estimates from the contractors.
Your solicitor can use this
information to try to agree access
with the seller’s solicitor, along with
the terms of a key undertaking that
you are likely to be required to enter
into with the seller, which will detail
the purpose for which access is
given and the works permitted. You
must agree not to take up possession
or occupation of the property
prior to completion and to return
the key at the end of the day to the
selling agents.
The seller may take the view that if
you fail to complete, he will benefit
from the works you carry out — so he
might just decide to allow you access.
IF YOU have a
question for
Fiona McNulty,
please email
[email protected]
or write to Legal
Solutions, Homes
& Property,
London Evening
Standard, 2 Derry
Street, W8 5EE.
We regret that
questions cannot
be answered
individually, but
we will try to
feature them
here. Fiona is
legal director in
the real estate
group of Foot
Anstey LLP
in Exeter
([email protected]
More legal
Visit: homesand
I AM almost 70 and I want to make sure my
sons can look after my affairs in the event
that I become ill in the future. All I have is
my home, an ISA and a savings account. My
friend says I need to get an LPA sorted out. What is
this — and can the solicitor who dealt with my
husband’s probate do it for me?
AN LPA is a Lasting Power Of Attorney and there
are two types — property and financial affairs,
and health and welfare. You need the first type,
which will give your attorneys the power to make
decisions about your money and property.
A health and welfare LPA enables your attorneys to deal
with matters such as your daily care and any life-sustaining
treatment you may need. Perhaps you will think about this
at some stage, too.
You can appoint your sons to be your attorneys
provided they are both aged over 18. Your attorneys will
have a duty to the Court of Protection to act in your
best interests.
You can appoint your attorneys to act jointly and
severally, which means they can make decisions on their
own or they can make them jointly, or they can be
appointed just to act jointly — meaning they have to agree
and make all decisions together.
You can complete the necessary forms appointing your
attorneys or you could ask the solicitors that you know
already to do so. The LPA must be registered with the
Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used, and a
registration fee is payable.
O These answers can only be a very brief commentary on
the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice.
No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar
issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.
Inside story Homes & Property with
On my way in to the office this morning, I stop for a coffee at a newcomer
to the village, Gail’s Bakery. Does this
mean Blackheath has arrived?
A youngish couple with a child are
the week’s first walk-ins. They’ve
realised they can sell their Shad
Thames flat and buy a house in
Blackheath for a similar price. They
are typical of the buyers we see.
Blackheath is often compared with
Dulwich, but its property market is
more like Clapham. City workers move
here because of its proximity to work,
great transport links and much lower
prices than areas a similar distance
from the City, such as Islington.
The first of two developers drops by
today to ask about marketing his latest
project — an upside down house with
a copper roof in Kidbrooke Gardens
for £1.175 million. Blackheath and
Greenwich are loved for their historic
properties and we’ve just taken on a
former Victorian sweet shop, still
with its original shop façade, for
£1.295 million, which is attracting a lot
of attention. But the area is also
becoming home to some striking
new-builds, often with lower ground
levels for a home cinema or extra
living space.
While basements are being outlawed
in some other boroughs, it seems
Blackheath is just latching on. In the
past, people haven’t had to dig down
as the area still offered great value for
money and they could buy a suffi-
We’re selling
allsorts — sweet
shop included
ciently large house. But prices have
risen considerably and owners feel
they’d rather add 1,000 sq ft by digging
down — even at a cost of £300 a square
foot — than move. And they know
they’ll recoup their money.
Our major meeting of the week and
we’re brainstorming ideas for our next
marketing campaign. The last one
involved hiding Cluttons ducks on the
heath for kids to find and win, along
with ice cream from our neighbour,
B l a c k Va n i l l a . We ’ r e t h i n k i n g
marathon-themed for the next one.
A vendor calls to ask if we can help
sell their house in Knockholt in Kent.
That’s something I see happening
increasingly, as an agent’s location isn’t
as important any more, now that
people house-hunt online.
There’s a huge crossover between
Kent and Blackheath. Many families
start here, fighting over houses next to
the village’s outstanding primary
schools, then head to Kent for the
grammar schools.
Diary of
an estate
I go to view a property on the private
Cator Estate — which can mean anything from Sixties Span properties,
which you can still buy for under
£800,000 for a 1,100 sq ft house, to
5,000 sq ft mansions for £4 million. It’s
typical of Blackheath’s tremendous
variance in types of property.
Next I head to a valuation in
Lewisham. It’s a Victorian terrace
house that is owned by an investment
company and has been refurbished
after being let out for several years. The
security-conscious owner turns up
45 minutes late and finds every internal
door individually locked. This wouldn’t
be so bad, but half way round his
key snaps in one of the many locks,
bringing our visit to an abrupt end.
I speak to a vendor today who is thinking twice about selling in the light of
the stamp duty changes as he’s reluctant to pay a higher tax for his next
purchase. But the bracket he’s looking
at, around £1.1 to £1.2 million, is an
unusual sweet spot where he’ll still be
paying less stamp duty than previously.
It was a similar situation in 2012 when
the seven per cent stamp duty bracket
came in for £2 million-plus properties.
Many people said they weren’t going
to pay it — then they came to accept it’s
just part of the purchase price.
O Wallace Jaffray is sales manager at
Cluttons in Blackheath (020 7647
7820; [email protected])
# ##WINKWORTH# !!+++)!+)*+++1+!++++"!!
+++ +*1+++1+!++++"!!
Homes & Property New homes with
art mov
By David Spittles
City view: with its roof terrace and proximity to East Putney
Tube, Oakhill Park will appeal to career professionals
A leafy enclave drawing
more buyers to Putney
PUTNEY is bursting at the
edges, swollen with
homebuyers and renters
priced out of the centre.
Traditionally a family
area, it is now attracting far
more singles and couples,
mainly City career
professionals, and
discerning downsizers
who value the riverside
setting (despite the
congested high street),
and opportunity to reach
nearby green spaces.
After a spate of
waterfront and
town-centre housing
Oakhill Park marks a
return to the area’s more
sedate roots. This mansion
block scheme is tucked
away in a leafy road five
minutes’ walk from East
Putney tube. Restrained
architecture of mellow
yellow brick and glass
balconies sympathetically
dovetail with surrounding
grand detached houses.
The 52 energy-efficient
flats come with
underground parking,
concierge and gym.
Prices from £595,000.
Call Savills on 020 3430
ONDON’S extensive canal
network continues to be
unlocked by developers
hungry for waterside
locations close to the
Grand Union Canal is the main
inland waterway in the capital. It
comes in from the west, through
Brentford and Paddington before
joining up with Regent’s Canal,
passing through Camden, King’s
Cross and Shoreditch and running
into the Thames at Limehouse. Here
the Limehouse Cut, London’s oldest
canal, spins off in a different
direction, heading north-east
through Bow and Stratford and on
to Hackney Marshes.
Royal Quay, overlooking
Limehouse Cut, is a new scheme of
90 homes set behind original
warehouse façades. Apartments
feature exposed brickwork and high
ceilings. Prices are from £250,000 —
making these flats some of the bestvalue homes in London with
A view
waterside views. Call Regal Homes on
020 7328 7171. Canalside homes in
this part of London are cheaper
because the old industrial landscape
still lingers around, but it’s quiet, carfree and has transport links.
From £250,000:
Royal Quay is set
behind original
Bow Back Rivers, a four-mile
network of derelict waterways
largely unused since the Second
World War, now forms part of the
Olympic Park. The first stage of
restoration is complete following a
New homes Homes & Property with
Galleries scheme gives Kings Road a lift
Read more: visit
our new online
luxury section
WITH Made in Chelsea types and
investment bankers ruling the roost,
Kings Road has lost much of the flair,
individuality and spirit of the
Swinging Sixties period, but new
homes on this world-famous street
are a tempting proposition.
Chelsea Galleries was once a hub
for poor and popular artists, Whistler
was one of them, in the original
home of Chelsea Arts Club. The
building, with its distinctive Dutch
Gable façade, has been redeveloped
into a boutique scheme of largerthan-average size homes, with
private terraces, courtyard gardens
and gated parking.
Three-storey townhouses with
2,400sq ft of open-plan space have
interiors designed by Nina Campbell.
Prices from £4.75 million. Call Knight
Frank on 020 7861 5483.
new lock and water control
structure, which has returned the
rivers to navigation, reviving water
transport in the area for the first time
in 50 years. Apartments at Lock
Keepers, a revitalised canal basin at
Bromley-by-Bow, are available on a
shared ownership basis.
Shared ownership prices start at
£106,750 for a 35 per cent share;
the full price is £305,000. Call
020 7922 7212.
BARNES, just across the river from noisy Hammersmith, is
a family favourite village with good schools, an active
community, handsome houses — many listed and in
conservation areas, interesting shops, pubs and even a
green and a duck pond. It is six miles from Trafalgar
Square and sits on a bend in the Thames, with a 120-acre
nature reserve belonging to the London Wetland Centre.
Hampton Row, overlooking Barnes Common, is a new
Victorian-style terrace of 12 apartments and nine
substantial (3,026sq ft) five-bedroom houses with
45ft rear gardens.
The apartment block is crowned by a large communal
roof terrace with sweeping views. Prices from £625,000
to £2.495million
Call Marsh and Parsons on 020 7368 4831.
Homes & Property Letting on
new tenants, I’ve
learned not to count
my chickens until
they’re hatched. If a
viewer tells me they want to take a
property, I know it’s never a done
deal until they hand over the first
month’s rent.
I got a call from a guy who pleaded
with me not to take any offers on my
one-bedroom flat until he’d seen it.
He said it was exactly what he’d been
looking for, it was right around the
corner from his office, he was
100 per cent positive he would live
there forever and ever and he
promised he’d put a deposit down
the moment he saw it.
I’ve come across so many of these
impetuous types before that I was
absolutely 100 per cent positive he
wouldn’t even turn up for the
viewing we’d arranged for the
following evening, let alone rent the
flat. I take no pleasure in revealing
that I was right. The following
morning he emailed to cancel our
appointment, saying he’d decided
not to move after all.
In my experience, the more a
viewer enthuses about a property,
the less likely he or she is to take it. If
someone has instantly fallen in love
with my flat from a few photos on
Zoopla, I know they’ll probably fall in
love with another five minutes later.
Once or twice viewers have asked
me to “hold” a property for them, as
if it’s a new dress or a discounted
holiday. No matter how lovely (or with
There’s no room
for sentiment in
this business
Victoria Whitlock shows a cautious side
as she explains why she always holds out for
a fee before opening the door to a tenant
desperate) they seem, I always refuse
(politely, of course), because I know
that nine times out of 10 I’ll never
hear from them again.
There’s no room for sentimentality
in this business and, to stick with
feathered proverbs, a bird in the
hand is worth two in the bush, so I’ll
take the best offer I get from the first
suitable tenant who is prepared to
pay a holding fee to reserve the
property. I’m not going to risk losing
a suitable tenant by holding a
property for someone else who may
(but most probably won’t) take it,
and I’d certainly never agree to let a
flat to someone who hasn’t even
viewed it. That makes me deeply
suspicious, because who would
agree to live somewhere they’ve
never seen?
Even after I’ve accepted an offer on
a property I make it clear to tenants
that I’ll continue to show others
around until they’ve handed over a
non-refundable holding fee of £100
to £150 and provided me references
and all the necessary information to
run a credit check on them.
Most tenants seem to accept that
this is normal procedure. After all,
£525 a week: a two-bedroom flat overlooking the Thames at Molasses House,
Wandsworth (John D Wood). Visit
most letting agents do the same. I’ve
only had one viewer who refused to
pay a holding fee, saying she didn’t
feel comfortable handing £100 to a
stranger, which is fair enough, but I
pointed out that, ultimately, I would
be taking a bigger gamble giving her
keys to a property that was worth
2,500 times more.
I recently accepted an offer on a flat
from a couple, but a week later they
still hadn’t paid me the holding fee
and they weren’t answering my calls,
so I let it to someone else. I emailed
to let them know, and five minutes
later they were ranting at me down
the phone, saying they still wanted
the flat and they thought I was a big
old meanie, but when I asked why
they hadn’t paid the holding fee they
said they didn’t want to lose £100 if
they changed their minds!
Like I said, when you’re looking for
tenants, don’t count your chickens
until they’re hatched.
O Victoria Whitlock lets three
properties in south London. To contact
Victoria with your ideas and views,
tweet @vicwhitlock
Find many more homes to rent at
mess this up!
She counters with
Discovering fear
Rent a 1 - 4 bed home in the former Athletes’ Village
Find out mor e at
Brought to you by