The Jane Fonda Kit House… a kinetically-powered micro-home, in which sweat and lycra replace electricity and gas. Nuts? I thought so, until I looked at the photo and realised she's already got to grips with cloning.
All kinds of accusations are flying as former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas has found himself in the centre of a legal row concerning a multi-million pound London property owned by his girlfriend's ex-husband. Daniella Semaan has taken her property tycoon husband Elie Taktouk to court, claiming he's failed in his responsibilities to provide her with financial support for their children. She's demanding the sale of his £7m London property, to liquidate £1.4m for her to buy a property of her own. But - and here's the killer part - Taktouk is claiming that a company controlled by her footballer boyfriend has made an aggressive £5.4m bid on the flat. Full story here.
Rumours of an imminent move to London have been circulating for the past few months, now we know. She's coming, and she'll be based at her Canary Wharf penthouse, a property she has apparently owned for some time. I wonder, then, why the need to break ties with LA?
AA Milne's childhood home, on Chelsea's Mallord Street, is on the market with an guide price of £6.95m. According to the current owners, details of the home are echoed in the original illustrations to the books. Particulars here.
According to Nationwide, Camden house prices are up 15% on the year, the most dramatic rise in the UK. Remember, Camden - for these purposes - is more than Camden Town, and includes sleb-heaving Primrose Hill, plus Belsize Park and Regents Park, and the Kings Cross regeneration zone. More here.
On the subject of basements, news here that Dragon James Caan is in trouble with neighbours over plans (passed by Westminster Council) for a substantial underground extension to his St Johns Wood townhouse. The very same neighbours, Mrs Caan points out, who have created years of disruption with their own building work.
Planners have said yes to Roman Abramovich's controversial plans to turn three Cheyne Walk townhouses into one… a three year process costing £10m and involving every London neighbour's favourite bit of building work: the basement excavation. More here.
That's right, not one but two American celebs quoted mooting a move to London. Timberlake, quoted by the Mirror's 3am "journalists", says that he's been enjoying London Fashion Week (which - let's face it - is a fair representation of life in London) so much that he "should really buy a house here". Estate agents, don't get too excited. However, living charcoal and New Jersey "tan mom" Patricia Krentcil has far better reasons for considering a move. Banned from tanning salons in the tri-state, she's attracted by London's lax tanning salon rules, and feels she could fit in much better here.
Niklas Zennstrom bought the property, a modernist construction in Hamble's sought-after Crowsport estate, built by and for its previous owners, in November 2009; but when he came to make some improvements he discovered the property was falling down around him. He tried to sue the vendors under the Defective Premises Act 1972, but a judge has ruled that they were genuinely ignorant of the property's underlying condition. According to this, he's now going after the architect, builder and structural engineer.
Dragon's Den series 11 will feature top interior designer Kelly Hoppen, who likely to bring a bit of (much needed) glamour to the show. Read her tweeted announcement here. Follow the Rat and Mouse here.
Off-road parking (a garage, no less, in Maida Vale), a decent-sized garden and heart-throb vendor Jude Law are selling points for this £4.35m 4/5 bedroom Maida Vale property. Details are on a popular US-based celeb-property blog here - but they seem to have come and gone from both the portals and the agent's website very quickly.
He bought Primrose Hill's Queens No 1 pub about six months ago with initial plans to just live above it. Now, he's turned his attention to a wholesale residential conversion and, according to this, neither locals nor beer-lovers are happy.
It's a five-bedroom, five-bathroom thing in Beverly Hills, and comes complete with a full-sized football field (pictured, above)… which sounds cool until the day you decide to play on it by yourself and you look like the loneliest man in LA. It's listed for $3.6m ($100k less than he paid for it seven years ago). More here.
When it first hit the market it came with a price tag of £2.7m, now just five months later it's up for auction with a guide price of £1.8m. According to a "source close to the family", they've grown tired of tourist viewings. The auction's set for December 3, details here.
Those of a bitter, jealous or resentful disposition look away now… the Primelocation blog takes a tour of One Direction "star" Harry Styles' breakneck climb up the property ladder and his latest gaff, a £3m house in Hampstead. Pics here.
JK Rowling is one of her Edinburgh homes. It's a 19th Century mansion, eight bedrooms, loads of original features, landscaped gardens and a guide price of £2.25m. It's where she wrote at least four of her Harry Potter novels, but she hasn't been resident in the property for at least two years. More here.
Agreed for sale right now: apparently in the region of £35m.
The Sunday Telegraph can't work it out. Properties in Notting Hill are said to have increased by about 341% in value in the last 20 years, so how's Nick Ross squeezed approximately ten times that out of his investment? More here.
What to do if you can't sell one home in time to another? Just go and buy it anyway, obviously. Primelocation's blog looks at George Osborne's extraordinary (-ily insensitive) property expansion in Notting Hill. (And what it says about the neighbourhood.)
Colin Firth, Ralph Fiennes and Joely Richardson haven't just won their battle to halt the controversial redevelopment of Hammersmith's town hall site (and demolition of the art deco cinema), but they've earned themselves an apology, too. According to H&F Council head Nicholas Botterill, they'd "got it wrong" and "have learned from it". The power of celebrity. More here.
According to this, former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson has issued a repossession notice and begun legal proceedings to have his former girlfriend and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nancy Dell' Olio evicted from their Belgravia property. Eriksson bought the flat in 2005, and broker up with Dell'Olio in 2007. She apparently intends to fight, insisting she won't leave until Eriksson transfers an Italian property into her name.
She's to play Princess Diana in a film focussing on the last years of her life. She apparently wants to relocate to London to soak up some of the sights, sounds, smells of Kensington to help her prepare.
According to this, Kate Moss is "freaking" out after her new Highgate home has a damp problem that's risen from the "butler's kitchen" (American friends… this is the name of the room, it doesn't mean KM has a butler) and is now making the ground floor pong. And there's more...
This isn't the first time she has been the victim of a foul stench in her home. The source said: ''The kitchen of Kate's last house flooded with sewage and needed a £100,000 makeover.
A surveyor, somewhere, will be reading this and feeling nervous.
Zayn Malik has reportedly spent £2.2m on a six-bedroom property in Hyver Hill (Barnet). If you live locally and aren't au fait with O.D. - here's what he looks like. Alternatively, he's the six-year-old with the keys to the £2.2m house down the road.
According to a gleeful Daily Mail, Ian Hislop has had plans to extend his Chelsea townhouse dismissed by the local council. He had intended to extend the second floor (to make way for a gym), remove a tree from the garden and add a terrace and stairs. The council have apparently objected on aesthetic grounds. More here.
It's a three-bedroom semi in Camden Square… with CCTV, security gate, a decent garden for such a central location (although it's a pity so much of the grass has been concreted over) and the sad and somewhat macabre distinction of being the location Amy Winehouse was found dead last year. It's with HouseNetwork.co.uk, guide price £2,699,950, particulars here.
One Direction JLS The Wanted Girls Aloud Ashley Cole
Fantastic stuff. Imagine the late night discussions... which is the best Proust translation, the classic Moncrieff or the more faithful Lydia Davis? Vicious Tractatarian debate... who has the best handle on early Wittgenstein... Cheryl Cole or Aston Merrygold?
There's a feature, here, about the former lunatic asylum's celebrity status. If you think you could keep up with the free-thinkers, there are a range of properties still available, from £400,000, here.
Zoe's father, he was an American actor/director and the man feted as largely responsible for the re-building of the Globe Theatre, founding a trust in 1970, fighting for planning permission and helping to fund the project out of his own pocket. He lived nearby in the former Surrey Dispensary on Trinity Street. The original building had a charitable purpose (distributing medicines to the poor) and still features the large outdoor vaults. It's with Hampton's, guide price £2.95m, particulars here.
Jose Mourinho has been snapped with London estate agents, and friends have apparently confirmed a move to London is a possibility. The talk is about replacing Harry Redknapp at Spurs, if Redknapp gets the England job. More here.
It's that blue-plaque end-of-terrace on Hackford Road near Stockwell. It's a three-story property, and it's the first time it's come up for sale in over 60 years. It's also apparently entirely unmodernised, including an outside toilet. The artist moved there as a young man in 1873, and is said to have remembered his time there fondly. It's to be auctioned by Savills next month. Guide price £475,000. More here.
It's only been up since 12 years, but Thierry Henri already has plans to tear down his Richard MacCormac-designed Hampstead home and replace it with a giant new four-story property, including 15ft by 40ft of fishtank (four tanks, one on top of each other) rising up the middle. The Daily Mail is among the newspapers obsessed with the tank. They estimate a £12,000 annual bill just for lighting, heating and cleaning the tanks. MacCormac is said to be understandably unimpressed. More here.
She's said to have bought in a luxury new-build development in the Fitzrovia area. Details? It's apparently "modern concrete" on the outside, has floor to ceiling glass, four penthouses and a communal courtyard. Any ideas?
The price has been up (£70m, originally), but it only sold when it was down (£36m, according to the Telegraph), to a Middle Eastern businessman who'll now enjoy a heated marble driveway, a guest bedroom with en suite swimming pool and 24 carat gold mosaics. The Telegraph describes it as Britain's "tackiest House", which sounds like a challenge. Can you find tackier?
The FT does its own version of Hello magazine with a tour of Thatcher's old PR man and founder of the controversial (some might say, apparently) Bell Pottinger Group, Tim Bell's Hampstead pad, where he counts Thatcher and Yehudi Menuhin as neighbours.
There's a "thing" in the Daily Mail about One Direction and Princess Park Manor, in particular Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson who are said to be on the verge of buying the penthouse once owned by Ashley Cole. The development, next to New Southgate station, is the old Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, which - in turn - was once home to John Duffy, who was worse than Ashley Cole.
More interesting than the property story are the comments below the piece... a true Daily Mail-style menagerie of opinions. My favourites, the one from the former asylum employee who warns of the ghosts, and this:
Yes, Happy New Year to you. Would you like to buy a pair of Cheryl's pants?
If so, there are apparently a few pairs available from her builders. According to this shock story suggesting British builders will not only have the shirt off your back but the pants out your drawer, workers at Cole's Hadley Wood home have been conducting tours of her empty (she's currently based in the States) property and selling off personal items she left behind. According to the builders, the pants were unwanted or abandoned. How could they tell? Because she wasn't wearing them?
He is - according to the Sun - officially a Londoner, now. He's been telling anyone who'll listen that he's now based, permanently, in the city while he pursues his fashion career. No clue as to his chosen neighbourhood, however.
According to this, ex-News of the World editor and Tory strategist Andy Coulson is selling his Dulwich (actually, Wood Vale) five (actually, six)-bedroom home in a downsizing exercise. He's lived there since 2001. On this occasion, we've decided to not give away an address.
Back on the subject of plaques - a blue one, this time - there's controversy over English Heritage plans to honour London's first stripper Phyllis Dixey, at her St Mark's Hill, Surbiton former home. The controversy isn't regarding the plaque, but the text. EH would like to call her a "striptease artiste". Residents aren't sure. Some are suggesting "burlesque dancer". Does it matter? If it walks like a duck...quacks like a duck. Ms Dixey didn't walk like a duck, she was - apparently - much more elegant. But the point still stands. More here.
This strikes the Rat and Mouse as a good idea. Property search and valuation website Zoopla is introducing purple plaques for properties with a celebrity connection (unlike the blue plaques, the celebrity can still be drawing breath). Former homes of David Cameron, Gary Barlow, Liz Hurley, Lewis Hamilton and Chris Evans are among the properties already honoured, with more to come. At first, we thought the plaques were going to be virtual-only. But, no. They appear to be actual physical objects you can claim from the website if you own a home with celebrity connections. Is it shallow? Of course. Will it drive visitors to Zoopla? You bet. (Not sure I'd want one on my house, though.) More here.
It contains zero content but I'm linking to the post anyway just because it's worth seeing for its extraordinary irritation factor. The thrust of the piece? Celebrities live in London. The style of the piece? Sacha Baron Cohen as Bruno. Edited by Gok Wan. Is this - actually - for real?
It's a $2.9m "compound" in one of West Hollywood's more desirable neighbourhoods... five bedrooms, four bathrooms but no pool - which, according to the Real Estalker, is a problem. It sounds as if Lucas can drive a hard bargain, though. The $2.9m purchase price compares favourably with the $3.49m the previous owner paid back in 2007.
The pictures come courtesy of a US magazine, but they've been reproduced by the Daily Mail. It's in Richmond (Whornes Place, to be precise) and it's a property with a lot of history. Parts date back to the 15th Century, although it was rebuilt in the 1920s. More recently, it's been popular with other Hollywood A-Listers (including Johnny Depp and Michael Douglas). Brad Pitt is currently filming in London. For a look inside, go here.
It's a 15-bedoom house that, until 2004, belonged to the Russian Government and was apparently used as a spy base. It still had "radio rooms" when its previous owners took it over and spent £20m making it a home. Roman Abramovich reportedly spent £90m buying the property. More here.
So what? The property's rent-controlled, and under local law someone benefitting from rent stabilisation needs to actually live for the majority of the time in the property. Her relationship with her landlords appears to have already been fractious, with a claim of unpaid rent back in 2009. How's it looking, according to the New York Times her New York neighbours claim to have never met her.
It's a blue plaque property - former home to Coleridge and JB Priestley - and Kate Moss's plans for a satellite dish, security cameras, basement kitchen and gym/steam room aren't delighting her neighbours.
He's awaiting a decision by Kensington & Chelsea council on plans to redevelop a former clothing warehouse in Chelsea, creating offices, home and courtyard. This isn't a purely personal project (he's already developing a property down the road, which he'll call home; this looks like a proper experiment in property development. The council have made encouraging noises; much to the chagrin of the Chelsea Society. More here.
It's in Hampstead (Inverforth House), it's already been the subject of a bit of a fuss over a roof terrace hot tub and on the market as a £6,000 a week let. Now, it's for sale, with a guide price of £3.95m. Four bedrooms, double garage, lots of terraces, some extravagant fittings and fixtures and the same bedspread it had two years ago. Go here for the particulars.
It's a four-storey house in Sidney Grove, Islington, with four bedrooms and a decent roof terrace, and the vendor's none other than fun-loving model and actress A.T. Titmuss chose Foxtons, and the property's listed here, with a guide price of £850,000. Judging by the photos, Titmuss hasn't been living there for a while, but has been renting to a tidy and minimalist small brown bear pictured below.
It's been home to ex-Hollyoaks actress, toilet paper heiress, ex-Ryan Giggs love-interest and member of the Primrose Hill set Davinia Taylor, but now she's selling it in an act of divorce settlement liquidation. Interestingly, it also doubled as her friend Kate Moss's hideaway during her widely reported split with Pete Doherty. (Full rundown on that, here.) It's a white seven-bedroom semi-detached house in St John's Wood, and it even comes with a garage. In NW8! Guide price? £5.95m. Particulars here.
It's a three-bedroom flat on Kensington Park Road, and it was home to Robbie Williams when he left Take That and moved to London. Williams shared the apartment with Nicole Appleton and later Geri Halliwell. It's a four-floor affair, with a roof terrace, right in the heart of Notting Hill. It's with Domus Nova, guide price £3.45m, particulars here.
It's a four-bedroom West Kensington mews house, originally two properties converted into one, and it was home to F1 motor racing hero James Hunt during the early 1980s... a tempestuous period that saw him lose his first wife to Richard Burton (who one would have thought didn't need any more). But don't be fooled by the blue plaque... it was commissioned by the current owners (Hunt's death, in 1993, wasn't long enough ago to warrant an official one from English Heritage). The properties on the market with Marsh & Parsons, guide price £2.75m. Particulars here.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, thespian couple John Alderton and Pauline Collins (who starred together in Upstairs, Downstairs) have been waging a war against the creeping scourge of the underground swimming pool. They've just successfully put the kibosh on a neighbouring banker's plans to knock down and rebuild, but only after putting up with similar redevelopments on the other side. It sounds as if they're in the difficult position of owning a listed Arts & Crafts property surrounded by expendable 50s blocks liable for gutting and rebuilding. More here.
Think again. The former Wonderbra model is apparently locked in a dispute with her Chelsea neighbours over plans to gut and rebuild her five-storey property. She's apparently had planning permission for extensive ground floor work and a giant basement, but she's pushing for a complete interior rebuild. The plans were previously rejected because of the disruption to the road, but she's an appeal scheduled for mid-May. Her neighbours - according to this - have clubbed together to hire a QC to represent them, and delivered a petition with 80 signatures. She appears undaunted. If the work does go ahead, let's hope she's planning on selling, because I doubt she'll be in a position to pop next door for a cup of sugar.
Old Battersea House is a Grade II-lsted manor house in SW11, dates back to the 17th Century and was bought and painstakingly restored to its former glory (plus a few jacuzzis and saunas) by Malcolm Forbes (yeah, that Forbes) in the early 70s. Real Estalker lists Thatcher, the Reagans, Warren Buffet and Elizabeth Taylor, plus various Royals, as guests. Now, however, it seems the Forbes family no longer needs it, and the property's listed with Savills, guide price £12m.
Remember, we recently revealed how Colonel Gaddafi's controversial son Saif was looking for tenants for his Hampstead Garden Suburb mansion? The property - now part of the family's frozen assets - has apparently been invaded by activists, demanding the proceeds are returned to the Libyan people. They're flying a banner reading "Out of Libya/Out of London". We just hope nobody's paid their deposit.
No Oscar in the bag yet, but Colin Firth will I'm sure be delighted that he's "the nation's ideal neighbour". According to data by Zoopla, Firth's the celebrity neighbour you'd most like to have (with 15% of a very spread vote), soundly beating (something we'd pay to see) Cheryl Cole (with 9%). Firth, incidentally, lives in Chiswick. The least desired celebrity neighbour? That would be Katie Price, who managed to grab almost 30% of the anti-vote. Incidentally. there's actually the possibility Price might be your neighbour soon. She's on the move. Particulars here, pic below.
The building, at 34-35 Fitzroy Square, was empty while contractors were involved in a refurbishment. Ironically, it used to be a language school, and Guy Ritchie is said to be converting it into two residential properties. The group of squatters - apparently numbering around 12 - call themselves the Really Free School collective, and you can follow them on Twitter here. Best comment on the whole situation came from one of the contractors:
"Nest"? Read on... "raised on a poultry farm in Ireland"... "saw the feathers that surrounded him as more than simply plummage"... what the pluck? A chicken theme running right through the heart of his work. Who knew?
Hope your Christmas weekend was wonderful. After a couple of slow news days on the property front, there's not much about... except this interesting Mail on Sunday feature about Roman Abramovich's flat-by-flat takeover of a couple of buildings in Knightsbridge's Lowndes Square. The plans are to turn it into an eight-bedroom mansion (worth something like £150m), and the Mail has created an interesting mock-up, from plans submitted to the council. See it here. In the meantime, what do you do in a "drawing room" you don't do in a "sitting room"? (Not a set-up from one of the weekend's cracker jokes... a genuine question.)
The Black Eyed Peas star has turned WILL.I.LEND with his i.am.home Mortgage Relief Program, aimed at helping people at risk of foreclosure stay in their homes. Details as to whether this is a fund, fronted by W.I.A, and reaching out to significant numbers, or a personal scheme in which the rapper reaches out to a handful of people he can help, is as yet unclear. But this might be a clue. More here.
Foilowing recent reports of a fractious relationship with the upstairs neighbours, who are mid-way through a noisy and disruptive renovation project, Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson have reportedly put their Belgravia home on the market. Saatchi bought the place in 2001 for £3.8m, and it's said to be carrying a £36m price tag now. Astonishing... especially given the high-profile problems with noise and surrounding development.
News here that Boris Johnson - Mayor of London - is another to take up the "live-apartner" lifestyle, although possibly reluctantly. He's apparently living out of a rented Islington flat, just yards from the marital home. The talk is of an affair. Let's hope the flat is neither paid for by the taxpayer, nor claimed against tax.
According to this, NIgella Lawson and Charles Saatchi's neighbours shouldn't expect an invitation to one of her lovely but just-elegantly-informal-enough dinners any time soon. An Egyptian couple, occupying the floor above their £10m Belgravia home, have offended the pair by erecting some unsightly scaffolding and spoiling their view. When their neighbours refused to remove it, Saatchi apparently took the matter into his own hands, or rather into the more calloused hands of some hired labourers - and oversaw the scaffolding's removal himself, apparently damaging some tiles in the process. Police were called, no less.
Following news that Jay-Z is after a share in his favourite football club (Arsenal, of course), the latest speculation is whether a piece of the action would also necessitate a piece of London real estate. According to the Voice, London estate agents should brace themselves for a visit from Jay-Z and Beyonce shortly.
The Daily Mail takes readers on a tour of Kylie Minogue's Drayton Garden's flat, making much of the knockdown asking price (down from £4.5m to £3.95m in a matter of months). At £3.95m, it's competitively priced with the competition, although it's considerably more lavishly furnished (remember those £55 brass tiles?) It's with John D. Wood. Go here for full particulars.
Some people think so. Owned by a super-wealthy industrialist and rented by Michael Jackson for a reported £60,000 a month leading up to his death, the Los Angeles mansion is apparently on the market for a whisker under £19m. Hypnotist Paul McKenna is celebrating a lucrative US book and TV deal.
Lily Allen's said to be looking in the south Cotswolds, possibly Stroud area, with £2m in her pocket. Meanwhile, Amy Winehouse is apparently back in Camden, after spending £1.8m on a new home. More here.
It was a party, apparently, to celebrated her daughter's engagement. The "Noise Patrol" apparently visited first to find "sound tests" taking place in the afternoon. They were back again at 10.45am, the next day, after more complaints from neighbours. Must have been one hell of a party. More here.
Katie Price is selling her 8-bedroom Surrey home. She bought it in 2008, with Peter Andre, renovated it (it had previously been a retirement home), but headed out for the States shortly afterwards (and things soon turned bad with Andre). So it's got to go. It's in 1.3 acres, it's new, with a nod to Tudor, a nod to Gothic, a nod to the 30s, and it comes with an indoor swimming pool, and much less pink than you might expect. Guide price, £2.95m. Particulars here. Oh - and yeah - there might be a couple of sitting tenants.
Word is that Russell Brand's shifted his Hampstead Village home. No details as to the deal, yet. Meanwhile, Britney Spears' face looks like being a permanent feature in the giant wealth wet dream that is One Hyde Park. She's apparently bought an apartment there so she can reach out to her fans. For (an estimated) £20m she might have reached out and touched them more effectively by buying each of them a house. More here.
Once (part of) the home of John Adams, first UK ambassador to London and later the second president of the US, this Grosvenor Square three bedroom house includes Adams' music room (now the first floor reception room). Its central Mayfair location, its high-quality refurbishment, its courtyard garden and its special history make this a unique opportunity. The guide price reflects that... £8.5m, with Wetherells, particulars here.
Two bedrooms, lots of light, nice internal architecture and a bed raided on perspex... bestselling chick lit author Adele Parks is selling her Evershed Walk (Chiswick) flat. It's with KFH, £1.295m. Particulars here.
It's 226 West End Avenue, it's on the market for $30m and it used to be home to Mae West. The current owner appears to have picked it up for a bit of a bargain ($1.2m) in 2004. Here are some particulars.
It's the Amityville Horror House... home of a real-life killing spree in November 1974, when Ronald DeFeo Jr killed his parents, two brothers and two sisters, and a subsequent (apparent) haunting, which drove out the property's new owners. The events inspired a book, and subsequent series of films. It's a Dutch colonial house in New York State; it's on the market for $1.15m. Buy it now. Be there in time for Halloween. Ignore the horror bus tours.
That's two mansions in Fitzrovia, adding up to £6m, which he's going to open up into one giant palace. It's funny how a divorce can bring it all together... a fat cheque and some well-deserved creative success.
Thanks very much to the Rat and Mouse tipster who sent me this. It's 4 St Luke's Mews, in Notting Hill, the house in which Paula Yates lived, and died, in 2000. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a very trendy location off All Saints Road, and its own share of notoriety. It's with Bective Leslie Marsh; guide price, £1.75m; particulars, here.
It's a very nicely kitted-out two-storey, three-bedroom house on a cobbled mews in Primrose Hill, with more wood than Dirk Diggler. And it belongs to a British comedy hero... the Fast Show's Simon Day. It's with John D Wood, with a guide price of £1.45m. Particulars, here.
He's Doug Potts in Emmerdale... and he's also been Clifford on Acorn Antiques, Stan in dinnerladies, and a stalwart of many Royal Shakespeare Company productions. He's a terrific actor, but he's leaving London for Yorkshire, and his very nice (and very very nicely situated) two-bedroom Highgate apartment, with views over the heath, is for sale with Litchfields. The guide price is £799,950. Particulars here.
The Althorp Estate has confirmed the biggest yardsale we've seen in some years. The stately home belongs to the Spencer family, it was Princess Diana's childhood home, and it's where she's buried. Artifacts for sale will include a Rubens portrait and 19th Century horsedrawn carriages. To be conducted by Christies this summer - it's expected to raise as much £20m. More here.
Soon to hit the estate agents' window with a price tag of £2.5m. But - according to Price - there's a troublesome sitting tenant or two... ghosts... an old lady upstairs, and a different ghoul downstairs, tampering with her sunbed. More here.
Why confused? Because they got the wrong house. Why American? Because they spray painted "Ramsay is a douche"... not a word your average London vandal could define, never mind spell. More - in fact everything except a reason to care - here.
Thanks to the Rat and Mouse reader for the tip... "apparently" - and we're trusting you on this one - this is Daniel Craig's very lovely 4-bedroom mews house in SW7, complete with gym, cinema and conspicuously placed Tom Ford book. Guide price: £4.25m; particulars here.
Residents of Bolton are getting het up by Manchester United footballer Gary Neville's plans for a flower shaped eco-home on green belt land. Quotes - here - from a meeting in a Methodist church hall show how the message is in the subtext.
"Why do we have to have this dirty great big house because he has lots of money?"
You don't. You can still keep your little house. He gets to have the great big house. And that's possibly the problem. The use of the word "dirty" is interesting. This, from the architect's website:
If we're right about this house, it's this, on Cheyne Walk, and he bought it a couple of years ago as an investment. (Not much of one, it turns out.) It's currently little more than a shell, with detailed planning permission for a substantial extension, including basement, sub-basement and pool. Click through to the particulars for its interesting history.
Back in 2007, we reported on plans by Declan "Dec" Donnelly to renovate his Chiswick home so that it would match the Chiswick home of Anthony "Ant" McPartlin, which can be found, conveniently, a few doors away. The neighbours weren't happy, was the story, and I'm not surprised. A whole street can be tainted by that kind of weirdness. I didn't think Dec would get away with it... but apparently - and a little bit creepily - he has:
If they could talk, we'd listen. It's a four bedroom bungalow in Walton on Thames's Burwood Park, and features a flash indoor swimming pool, a large garden and pink, white and siver-grey decor, presumably so a naked Clifford would appear completely invisible. It's with John D Wood, at £1.79m. Particulars here.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and you didn't receive any gifts involving either Jeremy Clarkson or John Barrowman. We're back and blogging, on a limited service, up until New Year.
This isn't London, but it's Brighton, which is kind of London, except saltier.
23 Lewes Crescent is a nice five-bedroom, Grade I-listed Regency townhouse, and the former home, we believe, of Cate Blanchett. Features? A sound-proof music studio (installed, we guess, by Blanchett's buyer Richard Stannard), gated gardens of seven acres (classy) and suede-covered walls (pervy). Guide price: £3.1m. Particulars: here.
Here they are, the unthinking woman's idea of proper music... Blake. But baritone Stephen Bowman apparently hasn't thrown himself into the rock'n'roll lifestyle so competely he isn't still thinking about a bit of property investment. He's renting out his Notting Hill flat to foreign, short term tenants and - its seems - making a killing.
Rumours are circulating that the Beckhams are on the verge of some London house-hunting. David B. is tied to LA Galaxy until 2012, but the idea is that a return to the UK will follow, and the rumours surround he hiring of an interior design firm, suggesting purchase plans may be imminent. Interesting.
Head over to the Independent for a tour of the place Mika calls home, and reveals a few secrets.
From early childhood Mika would spend five consecutive hours dancing in his bedroom to Nina Simone, Michael Jackson and the Beastie Boys.
You see, it's funny how there are two ways to go from this starting point. One - the Mika way - is to become a big-selling and creative singer-songwriter. The other's unthinkable. Mika's South Kensington flat is surprisingly restrained and elegant by the way. See it here. Leona Lewis, meanwhile, is going. Rumour has it she's paid £1.8m for a nice LA villa. And you can that, here. Finally, over at the Star, the news is that Amy Winehouse has moved into a "boob clinic".
You see, this is why the Rat and Mouse loves its readers. Thanks to everyone who pointed me in the right direction (see directly below). One fellow blogger (you know who you are) even attached photos.
Without further ado... a lovely three-bedroom Hampstead Village house, somewhat contemporary inside, but you'd expect nothing else, since it's the party palace of none other than Russell Brand himself. We particularly like the use of inverted commas around yoga in the particulars.
The top floor bedroom suite currently serves as a generous and bright office or study whilst the 2nd bedroom is used as a 'yoga' room.
Word is that RB has just put his Hampstead home on the market, in readiness for a possible move, with girlfriend Katy Perry, to LA. We know this... it's four beds, three baths and a hot tub in the garden. Oh, and it's on for £2.5m. We've a few ideas about which one it is... but we're not confident enough to spill the particulars quite yet. Any information will be treated as anonymous.
Actually, Eve's apparently an amateur architecture nut, and is elbows deep in townhouse restoration. The Telegraph gets the interesting early viewing that should - by rights - have gone to the Rat and Mouse. On second thoughts...
There is nowhere for us to sit; Sharon, who starred in Holby City and played opposite Trevor in the most recent series of WTD, moves a builder's half-eaten sandwich off a large cardboard box. "Don't sit there," Trevor says. "That's a speaker." So we hover by the large bow window at the end of the room, and look out across the garden, which is the reason they bought the house in South Eaton Place 18 months ago. "We'd never seen a rear aspect like this..."
And that, after playing opposite Claire Goose in Waking The Dead... Anyway, it's an interesting piece, and there's the making there for a very fine Belgravia townhouse.
Lisa Marie may well be on her way... seriously. It was several weeks ago when she broke it to the press.... picking London for its quality of life (things must really be tough in Beverley Hills). But, of course, we all know that Rule No. 1 when getting a nation's press onside is telling them you're definitely going to move to their country, you like it so much. Now, though, her Beverley Hills mansion - in which she's lived since Elvis' death - is reportedly up for sale.
Meanwhile, looks like she might have a lodger, in the form of ex-husband Nicolas Cage. The story here is one of woe... chased by the IR, foreclosed on a property in New Orleans, flogging his UK and German homes, homes on both coasts of the US, in what looks like a giant property fire sale.
It's like the Hollywood one... but London, and it takes in famous London film locations, plus the homes, nearly homes, once homes of the stars. It also introduces visitors to some great British institutions.
You're dead right, there. Pamela Anderson is apparently borderline broke after the mother of all home refurbishments. Gold tiles by the pool, a platinum floor in the sauna... her unfinished Malibu home has left her stuck in a trailer home, unable to pay the bills. She says, "I'm a little girl with two kids - how could you screw me?"
Meanwhile, Prince Harry's girlfriend has apparently been property-shopping in London. Chelsy Davy's daddy is said to have dropped £1.65m on a two-bedroom flat. Where? Don't know, yet. Suggestions welcome.
Stacey Solomon? She's the X-Factor contestant who sings like a sophisticate before turning into the missing Catherine Tate character. Fans have apparently been making mass pilgrimages to her home, showing her their support by daubing "John and Edward forever" and "We love Lloyd" on her gate. Ah, that's nice.
Don't be too impressed by Louis Walsh's or Cheryl Cole's pads in the sun - is the message, via the Telegraph, from Royal Villas Europe, who deal directly with royalty such as Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole - they're just rentals. And if you're feeling particularly rich, and aggressive, and need of sun, you could pretty much go and buy them from under Walsh/Cole, because getting on for half the villas rented out are also for sale. Is it a piece aimed at Telegraph readers idly flicking through their bundles of notes while watching X-Factor? Or an ad for RVE? Meanwhile, on the terrifyingly expensive Wentworth Estate in Sunningdale, Bruce Forsyth and Graeme Souness are said to be involved in a head-to-head dance-off for Hollow Lane House, a £9m mansion in the contemporary classical newbulid style. More here.
It's a slim three-bedroom house detached in Streatham... should she take advantage of current upward trends and sell while the going's good not bad? Or add it to their current rental portfolio, making a hat-trick? Details here, and if you can bring yourselves to care, drop me a line or comment below. Agent comments more than welcome.
Madonna's latest boyfriend must be able to walk on water or something, because there's are stories that she's splashing out... a little gift here, a £1.7m New York apartment there. Lucky Jesus. Meanwhile, Guy Ritchie's employing his famous charm, admitting he still loves her and proving it by calling her retarded. Whatever works for you, I suppose.
Not a double-headed celebrity, because that would be horrible. Two celebrities, each with one head. First off, Sean Pertwee is - they say - selling his five-bedroom Islington house (below). It's one of those nice townhouses with iron railings in Angel's Liverpool Road. It's with Foxtons, at £1.575m... particulars, here. Secondly, we're hearing suggestions that Amy Winehouse might be considering a move, after more neighbour-problems. It appears she likes to rehearse and record in the dark hours, when her neighbours like to sleep. So, where to next? Somewhere with a bit of space around it? Oh, and it better be cheap.
A £1.13m mews house, paid for, apparently, in cash, by Mrs Blair. (No wonder they need protection.) According to this, it was bought for second son Nicky, and brings the Blairs' property portfolio to £11.94m.
I was away on business toward the end of last week and missed "news" - in the Telegraph - that a signature Fulham venue of the 80s, Liz Hurley's flat, is on the market. It was where she lived when Hugh Grant first came a-visiting... no doubt driving a Golf GTI, and wearing brogues. It's a flat you can buy with confidence that few consonants have ever been dropped in the drawing room. The problem? Which is it? We're told it's with Douglas & Gordon, and it's for sale at £315,000. We believe it's this one.
UPDATE - DARN! WE BELIEVED WRONG... BUT A KIND READER HAS PUT US STRAIGHT. THE FLAT'S ON AT £295,000, AND IT'S HERE.
It's been a long-time in the making, but - according to sources - Elle Macpherson spent the weekend drinking bubbly (okay, she always drinks bubbly), doing some celebratory shopping (okay, she always goes shopping), bathing in milk (okay, you get the picture), because she's finally sold her Notting Hill home. For how much, we don't yet know.
The Primelocation blog wonders why Jade Jagger's £1.5m Queens Park flat still - after a year - hasn't shifted. Could it be the strippers' pole (see where I place that apostrophe... the Rat and Mouse provides itself on an extravagant imagination) in the bathroom? Those things are expensive to install, you know? Particulars, here.
The campaign to save James May's lego house is gaining ground, with 2,565 fans on Facebook. Quick recap... it's a two-storey house, created - with help from the public - by man-boy TV presenter James May. Legoland was going to buy it, but - perhaps scared off by a possible W-shaped lego house price crash - they pulled out of the deal, and the whole edifice will be torn down today if a new buyer can't be found. More here.
... while stroking a long-haired white cat. He might choose to watch Laurel & Hardy films while he's in there, too, but they're probably right. He'll mainly use it to monitor world events. What's the country coming to?
Meanwhile, it gets worse. Over at the Telegraph, that final bastion of opera-loving, Jag-driving, University town murder-solving Englishness Inspector Morse has had his elegant home redesigned redneck-style by a bunch of hapless squatters:
A special Swedish edition, and the island estate home of the great Swedish director. The property was designed by architect Kjell Abramson with input by Bergman, and Bergman lived there for almost 40 years. The small island and the estate also provided the backdrop to many key Bergman scenes. Particulars, here.
Yesterday, as the removal men crunched the gravel to their modest little country cottage - complete with polo field, orangery and 100 Surrey acres - they tell the Mail on Sunday about the day buy-to-let turned bad, and how they feel and understand the pain of the British everyman, hit hard by the recession. Yes, they've lost their house. They're being forced to downsize... selling the house for a slim £4.5m profit and buying Chris Evans's old £6m pad. They aren't asking for sympathy, explains Anthea, which is good, considering Bovey took millions out of the failing company, which - with its tens of millions of pounds of losses - is now, via HBOS and then Lloyds - largely the taxpayers' responsibility. But who suggested they talk to the MoS? Especially after the publication's made its feelings about the Boveys known. Sometimes silence is golden.
That's a headline I never thought I'd type. But, according to the Sun, in a piece that quotes Spencer closely, he'd been employed by Michael Jackson to find a home for the singer and family while he played his forthcoming UK dates. He was close to getting the star to sign... after persuading some wealthy individuals to clear off and vacate their own pukka pads, but - alas - it wasn't to be. Spencer missed out on his fee. Ticket holders miss out on what would have been some historic gigs. We all miss Michael.
First off, a celebrity price-drop: Dawn French and Lenny Henry's Berkshire house sheds £650,000 from its £3m price-tag, after failing to sell in almost a year. Particulars, here. Meanwhile, not too many tears shed, I'm betting, at news that Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to take a financial kicking when he sells his Cheshire mansion to move to Madrid. Could lose as much as £600,000, apparently. He's unlikely to notice. The most bizarre sleb property story of the day, however, must be this:
I don't know about you, but I bloody hate it when that happens. Six years ago, it was Jennifer Aniston demanding a look inside my Hammersmith terrace house... and I was still in my clown outfit. Before that, imagine the look on Teri Hatcher's face when she wanted to talk Putney apartment, and got a glimpse of my Richard Nixon mask.
Anyway, the Telegraph's interviewee learnt the hard way that you can't deal with the stars. Unlike Aniston and Hatcher, Kidman didn't call security, but she did strike a deal and then walk away from it when she got pregnant. Apparently. So, the (seriously special) £12m Belgravia mews house, which might have belonged to Kidman, is for sale. For details, go here, and follow the links to 12 Grosvenor Crescent Mews.
It hit the market last summer at £9.5m. Now the six-bedroom, five-bathroom, Ladbroke Gardens Grade II-listed townhouse is with a new agent, and marketed at £7.5m. A 20%-ish drop since the top of the market... sounds about right. All-important particulars, here.
Love the Godfather print above the fireplace... it's what you might call a cheeky little interior design conceit, except not in front of the owner, unless you don't mind walking home with your face in a carrier bag. Because the house belongs to Terry Adams of The Adams Family, Clerkenwell's near-legendary organised crime outfit. He's been in prison since February 2007, so it's about time the house was sold, and the proceeds used to pay off Adams' debts. You can read more here (apparently the property was extensively bugged by the police, so the new owner might want to consider a bit of a sweep before moving in). The particulars - which, perhaps not surprisingly, make no reference to the property's celebrity ownership - are here.
According to the Daily Mail, there's bin-a-bit-a-bitchin' on the Western Morning News letters page, regarding Kirstie's Homemade Second Home. She is, according to a local man, adding to the affordable housing crisis in the region, without giving anything back to the community. Not so, says Allsopp, who replies on the page listing a whole group of local community bodies that he should approach and ask to find out whether Kirstie's mucking in.
According to Now Magazine, Guy Ritchie's just bought a four-storey townhouse a couple of hundred yards from Madonna Mansions. It makes sense. He'll be able to see his kids easily. Watch people coming and going. Keep an eye on the place when it's empty. Pick up the mail. Feed the cat. Water the plants.
Actually, he turned landlord, amassing tens of millions in property, and 43 London tenants, according to the Independent profile. There are some interesting details about his own gaff, too... a £3m plus house behind Hyde Park Corner, replete with gadgets, including a carbon fibre (yes, F1-manufactured) lift and a motorised table that rises and falls from the ceiling. Very boys' toys.
Dowman's Farm, in Coberley, Gloucestershire, is the former home of Frederick Winterbotham, RAF officer and distributer of intelligence gleaned from Bletchley Park's Enigma. In fact, according to this, what is now the breakfast room may have doubled as a spy school. The farm is for sale, in three lots, adding up to just over £5m, and including a selection of farm buildings and several hundred acres. Particulars here.
Heathwood, 8 Wildwood Road, Hampstead is where Elizabeth Taylor was born and lived until the age of 7, in April 1939. Before that, it was home to painter Augustus John. Three-storeys, double-fronted, in two-thirds of an acre and overlooking the Heath, it's very nice. It's with Glentree Estates, guide price £5.5m. Particulars here. More about the Taylor connection, here.
We recently highlighted the Matthew Wright's subterranean woes, as the baggy-eyed presenter gets little help sleeping from a Camden neighbour's basement extension work. Now there's news that Camden Council - smarting at being forced to give way to refused planning applications at appeal - is considering tightening up the rules after a significant increase in interest in extending underground.
Celebrity burrowers mentioned in the piece include Ricky Gervais (underground pool in Hampstead), David Cameron (digging down in North Kensington) and hedge fund manager Chris Rokos (counting room, Kensington Square).
The extraordinary story in the Mail on Sunday of TV and radio presenter Matthew Wright's Camden nightmare, as his neighbours embark on a basement extension, and he's forced to give up a radio show because he can't get enough sleep to function, and face repairs to his own property.
So what's this... just another celebrity abusing his position to moan in a paper? No. Actually, the thrust is about the downside of the Government's new, short-red-tape, fast-track approach to planning, in a market that favours improvement over sale. It's an interesting read.
Remember this, a 2008 casualty of the property slump... when a tasty £35m deal on Khan's Chelsea Square property renovation fell through, costing her £15m? There's apparently not been much action since, either, and the latest is that she's given up, removed the property from Aylesford's listings, and moved in.
A whisker under $28m buys the seven-bedroom mansion next to the Playboy Mansion, and - presumably - at least the possibility of a party invite. The house has been occupied by Mrs Hefner, who moved in there after separating from Hugh. We can't imagine what her grounds for separation might have been. More here.
John "my behaviour was at times inappropriate" Leslie turned to property development after his TV career was cut short by some of that inappropriateness. Now, he's apparently attempting to double his money during a slump by spinning the wheel of fortune on an Edinburgh ex-nursing home he bought for £1.25m two years ago. Will he get £2.5m? Some local market experts believe so.
It's on Castelnau, just across Hammersmith Bridge, in Barnes. It's a one bedroom flat, with high ceilings and a spacious look. It was also - apparently - once home to Sir Anthony. Price: £395,950. Particulars: here.
It's the South Eaton Place townhouse owned by the late controversial politician until his death in 1998. Powell's widow sold the property to its current owners. It was also where he was living when he made his career making/ending Rivers of Blood speech, and was fired from the Conservative front bench. Continuing on the political theme, it overlooks Blunkett's ex-grace and favour home. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, three reception rooms, £3.65m. Particulars here.
It wasn't four months ago that we were reporting that Paris Hilton had been spotted snapping up brothels in the east... now - according to this - she's just bought in Camden. Keep going Paris, the London property market needs you.
Estate agents will be excited... between them, the pair could singlehandedly revive London's prime market. But we, at the Rat and Mouse, are skeptical... Hollywood celebs PR-ing movies by telling Londoners how much they love the city? Heard it before.
The Penrith cottage - where Withnail and the (never named) narrator went on holiday "by mistake" - is up for sale, through Savills, asking price £145,000. It's apparently pretty much unchanged since filming, although it's attracted its fair share of graffiti from fans of the film. So it's in a state, and planning permission is necessary before it can be made habitable. It's also remote. But it's a proper piece of cinema history.
She's back from Australia, she's £3m in her pocket, and a dad who's a partner at Behr and Butchoff in St Johns Wood. Dani's looking for a bargain, but her dad - sensibly - has started talking up local market.
Sinitta's selling her Putney six-bedroom house. The Colinette Road property has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a garage, a big garden and the very nice glass-walled dining room above. It's on the market for £3.95m. Particulars here.
... for Tony Blair. According to this one of the Blairs' Connaught Square neighbours has just sold their (identical) house for £4.3m, that's £650,000 above what the Blairs paid in 2004. According to the agent, houses are holding up well, particularly on the Blairs' side of the street, where the properties are larger and wider. He also suggested the Blairs' neighbours might be profiting from the presence of the former PM, as the new owner was attracted to the increased security in the area.
The Mail examines Wayne Rooney's investment in developments in Aldgate and Whitechapel, via the Formation Group, which specialises in advising wealthy sports and showbiz stars what to do with their copious cash. Building work is being funded by Iceland's Heritable Bank. The Aldgate building (above Aldgate East tube) is apparently under threat. Other footballers have invested in property in the US and Dubai, as well as a range of property for investment and personal use closer to home. But it's not the footballers who are taking the property crash to heart the most. How about former super-middle weight world champion Glenn Catley, who doesn't sound too impressed with financial advice from well-known property investor Jonathan Power.
An eight-bedroom semi-detached house with parking, in The Vale, off The King's Road, owned by the estate of Severin Wunderman, the man behind Gucci watches and Corum, and a man with unique taste. Giant gold-leaf ram's head? Check. Gothic hobbit house guest accommodation? Check (and pictured). Skulls on shelves? Check. Wunderman, who described himself as being fascinated with death, died last spring. The house was originally being marketed at £15.5m. It's guide price is now £10.5m. It's with Hamptons. Particulars here.
According to this, he's thinking of studying design at Louis Vuitton's London HQ, but he's also applied for internships virtually everywhere else, and - no doubt - every report contains a plug for his own clothing range. Nor is it the first time he's claimed to be London bound... remember this?
A THREE BEDROOM HOUSE WITH BATHROOM TOILET AND GARDEN IN LEYTONSTONE THIS HOUSE IS FOOTBALLER DAVID BECKHAMS FIRST HOUSE HE LIVED IN BEFORE MOVING TO CHINGFORD THE THROUGH LOUNGE HAS WOOD FLOORING LOOKING ON TO THE FRENCH WINDOWS AND THE GARDEN WITH A FITTED KITCHEN AT THE BACK OF THIS LOVELY TOWN HOUSE IN LEYTONSTONE THE TUBE TAKES 20 MINUTES TO THE WEST END ON THE CENTREAL LINE AND IS IN ZONE 3 LEYTONSTONE AS MANY FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN HERE DAVID BECKHAM SIR ALFRED HITCHCOCK DAVID BAILEY JONATHAN ROSS TO NAME A FEW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A OFFER FOR DAVID BECKHAMS FIRST HOME CONTACT COLIN [telephone number removed]
According to X-Factor winner Leona Lewis, not only can you not take Hackney out of the girl, you can't take the girl out of Hackney. According to Virgin music news, she's in the process of buying the flat she's been renting.
I've got to be honest... here at the Rat and Mouse we were of the firm belief that Paris Hilton's move-to-London chat was worth about as much as a handful of salt. There's nothing like babbling about a possible house purchase to make Londoners love you. But - according to this - she's done it... a £850,000 east London property that was once a Chinese restaurant, opium den and brothel... presumably at different times, but not necessarily. We haven't an address, but we're hopeful.
Coombe Cottage, in Borrowdale (the Lake District), is being sold by Vivian Russell, garden photographer and ex-wife of Ken Russell. The house has apparently been graced with the presence of Cliff Richard and Felicity Kendall, and if that's not enough it's also where KR developed Clouds of Glory and Mahler. It's an interesting cottage, dating back to the 1860s, and it's with Cumbrian Properties, listed at £625,000. Particulars, here.
It's a big repo-casualty in Holland Park, ex-home of troubled dot com gazillionaire Robert Bonnier (nostalgia here, latest here) and returned to the possession of the bank, after failure to pay the... drum-roll please... £8m of mortgages.
You're so right, Paris, and the realness and not fakeness starts right here, baby. She says she's looking in St John's Wood. Who knows, perhaps she'll fall in love with a well-mannered, cute-accented St John's Wood estate agent, like James here, buy a house from him, get married, and scatter a little stardust on this havoc-blasted London property market.
Dean Mill, Dean, nr. Chipping Norton was bought by Ronnie Barker 27 years ago. A six-bedroom country house in about 10 acres, it's seen some parties and played host to visits by the cream of British comedy. Mrs Barker's currently selling the place. It's with Knight Frank, with a guide price of £1.3m. Particulars here.
Okay, PropertyWeek.com's on the side of the deal, and there's nothing wrong with that, but was Jemima Khan really "robbed" after her buyers pulled out of their deal and cost her £15m of profit? The story concerns this purchase, made a couple of years ago, and her subsequent renovation and extension of the Chelsea Square property. She was about to sell, apparently for £35m, when the buyer developed cold feet.
The late Sir Ian Gilmore's Old Isleworth home - a mock-Georgian mansion on Park Road - is for sale. Gilmore edited and published the Spectator in the 50s, was Defence Secretary in the days of Edward Heath, and Lord Privy Seal for Thatcher, before a high-profile falling-out in the 80s. He had lived at Ferry House for more than 50 years, and the property has hosted visits by many of the big names of British politics. According to the Times, it's looking a little ramshackle in places, but it's big and has a fascinating history and superb location. It's with Savills, listed at £3.75m, and particulars (pdf) are here.
The New York Times tours director Roland Emmerich's Knightsbridge apartment and finds a stuffed zebra, a 25ft Mao, giant murals painted by the man who reproduced the Louvre's art works for The Da Vince Code and...
... dioramas with scenes of notorious events like the actor Hugh Grant’s encounter with a Hollywood prostitute and the torture that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. “People can spend an entire evening discussing a film,” [interior design] Mr. [John] Teall said, explaining what some might consider obsessive attention to detail. “I liked the idea that a house might inspire the same” reaction.
Just occasionally, one receives a press release that contrives to distill everything one hates about a certain stratum of "public life" into a single document.
Marina's goat was so thoroughly got, she dialed the PR agency concerned...
... to congratulate them on perhaps the most witless and inaccurate example of the genre this week. "Thank you," says the woman who answers the phone, and who is clearly unfamiliar with the words witless and inaccurate. "I meant to call anyway," she continues chirpily.
Joanna Page is apparently something of a keen btl-er, with a new-build in Crystal Palace, another in the Olympic zone, and a terraced house in Lordship Lane. Home is a house in Dulwich. Interviewed here, she sounds happy with her London property investments... although less enamored of some Welsh bricks and mortar.
Her Camden neighbours have had enough of her "antics", they say, and are campaigning to the council to have her evicted. One of them, quoted here, has apparently been filming her frolics and fisticuffs, and will be handing the evidence over to Camden Council shortly. (What's that? The sound of half a dozen newspapers opening their cheque books?)
According to this, Rachel Weisz has just bought in London, picking up a £3.5m house in Primrose Hill; and Reese Witherspoon is in Notting Hill, staying with Jake Gyllenhaal, who's currently filming here. There's still time for Hollywood to save the London property market.
He is, according to The First Post, and he's looking at a £3m, six-bedroom house in Canonbury. Not only that, but a £3m, six-bedroom Canonbury currently belonging to "a staunch Labour Party supporter". The Rat and Mouse wishes the agent tasked with this particular negotiation luck.
It's a very interesting read. There are two quite distinct points to be made: one, about the expenses system in general as they relate to property; two, about the Blairs' specific mortgage claims. On the first, the Rat and Mouse has always seen the logic in MPs needing two bases - a constituency home and something close to the Commons - and it's clear that the job of constituency MP shouldn't be limited to individuals with enough private wealth to provide two properties. So there needs to be aid courtesy of the tax payers. What the Rat and Mouse has never been able to understand is why the people should pay the interest on the mortgage, but the MP should walk away with the property and any capital gains the property might have made during his/her period of service. So-called "grace-and-favour" homes - rent free properties, owned by the state, used by the MPs - would surely be fairer to all concerned. Or at the very least some system of recovering assisted mortgage payments from capital gains when the properties are sold. The Evening Standard piece shows how the Blairs' current property portfolio has been built on an expense-assisted initial purchase. On the second point, the newspaper has been dredging through Government papers made available via the Freedom of Information Act. Apparently, it didn't take long - because most have been shredded "by mistake" - but what the article suggests is the following. Constituency home, bought 25 years ago: £30,000. Cost of renovating (according to Ms Booth's autobiography): roughly £30,000. Mortgage serviced by the tax payer: £90,000. The tone of the piece is extraordinary:
In the letter, Mr Blair says: 'I understand the Fees Office has agreed to honour claims made on the original mortgage amount of £90,449.73 up until November 2009, when the original mortgage was due to end.' All of this poses a number of questions. First, the couple spent £60,000 in buying and renovating Myrobella, so why was Mr Blair claiming expenses for interest on a mortgage of £90,000? Of course it may be a legitimate claim. The rules allow a remortgage to fund essential repairs or improvements, but alas, no supporting documentation appears to exist in the public domain.
No, not Kevin Rowland, Kelly Rowland - one of the other ones in Destiny's Child and a different prospect all together. Apparently, she was seen at Mamilanji on Saturday night, where she tested the piano and a DJ pal tested the decks. All were in order, and so she's now testing property in Chelsea. Estate agents... scramble!
It's 12 Fitzroy Road in Primrose Hill, the former home of author HG Wells, and thought to be the place where he at least started work on War of the Worlds (remember the references to the area?). It's with John D Wood, and a guide price of £3.25m buys you three reception rooms, four bedrooms and two bathrooms in one of the capital's most sought-after areas. Listing here.
Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich has submitted plans to build an eight-bedroom palace in Knightsbridge. It would stretch across eight stories, joining to Lowndes Square townhouses... which Abramovich has gradually bought up, apartment-by-apartment, since the late 1990s. If it goes ahead, it's likely to become the UK's most expensive residential property, with a value of around £150m.
According to yesterday's Sunday Times, Blair's capitalising on the economic meltdown he's left in his wake by going property shopping... a little premature in the Rat and Mouse's view, but perhaps he knows what he's doing. According to the piece, one of the properties on his list is Pophleys, a 16th Century farmhouse in Stokenchurch near High Wycombe, and the former home of Jethro Tull flute-hero Ian Anderson. It's on the market for £5.25m... although I can't find a listing anywhere...
"The natives of England are sort of being left behind because the big money came in and if it wanted something it bought it and made a bigger fortune doing so. And as anyone who has tried to buy a house in central London knows, it's almost impossible to do so unless you have 10 million quid."
I know... I know... tell me about it... less than ten million quid and it's a bloody Transit van and a matress. But what can you do? It's those Russian oligarchs and American pop stars. More here.
The Daily Mail carries a feature about Abi Titmuss's London property exploits, which have apparently seen her turn lads' mag shoots into £2m of London property... which she hopes will provide security while she shifts her focus to the serious stage. Meanwhile, Kylie Minogue is said to be checking out a Tudor mansion "in the idyllic British county of Sussex".
The Independent talks to novelist Charlotte Mendelson about her Dartmouth Park home. Where? It's near Highgate; it's leafy and nice. Mendelson - who's a proper novelist - talks the property talk with surprising fluency:
We'd made offers on various houses in Tufnell Park, which is nearby, but our hearts hadn't really been in them. They were mostly compromises, or they were horribly overdeveloped – lots of downlighters and strategically placed tiny shower-rooms.
That's what they say... every novelist has one estate agent in them.
It's not a place I generally frequent, but ToryDiary at ConservativeHome is worth a glance this morning, regarding a Freedom of Information request about cleaning costs at Admiralty House. The story is that it cost £3,320 to clean the place after John Prescott had occupied it. What the hell had he been doing in there? Did it involve Rizlas and alcopops? Was he made to forfeit his deposit? More here.
An interesting piece in the Tribune about the super-discreet property search agents who find homes for celebrities. Except, they're not so super-discreet we don't learn in the first sentence that...
Madonna likes to low-ball sellers. George Michael may not show up for meetings.
Apparently, in London you might have to sign a confidentiality agreement before viewing a property with a celebrity connection; and when the celebrity is the buyer, he or she only deigns to visit the property just before signing, letting trusted assistants nabe-scope instead. But their need for discretion isn't purely motivated by privacy...
"We all know what they are worth," said Carlos Riveros, a high-end specialist with Chesterton in London. "That's a disadvantage." Last year, the owner of a London row house did not even reply when Madonna, his neighbor, submitted a bid hundreds of thousands of pounds below his asking price, according to an agent familiar with the deal.
... said to be the root of the term "nicked", due to the number of criminals working around here. In 1880, it was deemed so run-down they bulldozed these streets. If you look at maps from that period, there's literally a blank space around here! Even now, if you keep an eye on an abandoned car, you'll see it will soon get stripped and then you know not to park near it, as it will be torched next.
A little harsh? She lives in an old print works, with a solar panel on the roof, but worries that surrounding building will cut off the light. It's an interesting piece.
According to the Daily Mail, Bruce Willis has been viewing a £30m penthouse in Park Lane. The rumour is he's about to settle down with his girlfriend, and Mayfair is where he wants to do it. Good choice, although exactly what Willis sees in the 29-year-old lingerie model he's dating we just can't work out.
The Mirror reports on Kate Moss's interior design makeover, which is said to include life-sized skeletons in the missionary position (and not this missionary position, apparently). [Note to personal assistant... order three skeletons first thing tomorrow, one of them a transsexual. Anything she can do, The Rat and Mouse offices can do better.]
Forty million pounds of it, according to this. The property's in Holland Park, it was once the Burmese Embassy, it's been a home for the blind, by the end of 2008 it's likely to be one of the UK's most talked about trophy homes. Cowell is the latest celeb - after everybody's favourite estate agent - to extend downwards. Plans include an underground swimming pool and car park, and will comprise 21,000 sq ft.
I've scoured the Sotheby's website but to no avail, so if anybody else can lay their mouse on the particulars, I'd be keen to hear from them. The story is that Sotheby's are marketing the Green Street (Mayfair) top floor flat rented for the Beatles by Brian Epstein in the autumn of '63, shortly after She Love You. It's the only property the Beatles stayed in together, and it's featured on the cover of The Beatles Book ('63 edition). Guide price: £1.75m.
UPDATE - THANKS TO MARK IN THE COMMENTS... A LINK.
It's the Chequer Street house made famous by Jamie Oliver in his very first TV series. It's over three floors and has been expensively modernised with five plasmas and fibre optics, and comes with a garage. The famous spiral staircase remains, but my memory of The Naked Chef isn't good enough for me to be able to tell whether the kitchen's changed. It's with Stirling Ackroyd and it's POA (of course, if somebody would like to apply and let us know, we'd be all ears). Particulars here.
The Telegraph takes a tour of celebrity cake meister Eric Lanlard's modern Battersea home. Lanlard's the man behind Madonna's wedding cake and Brooklyn Beckham's first birthday cake. The apartment, all glass and steel and timber, packs a white grand piano, a specially made deep purple carpet and a hot tub. Go here, for the details, and pictures.
Thanks to the Rat and Mouse reader who alerted me to this cracking tale of right honourable greed. Tory man-and-wife MPs Sir Nicholas Winterton and Ann Winterton have managed to get their trotters on £165,000 of Commons expenses for a £700,000 second home with zero mortgage. How've they managed that? They've taken the home out of their own name and into a "family trust", benefiting twice... avoiding any future inheritance tax when the property would have been left to their kids, and claiming £30,000 a year in "rental", tax money paid into the family trust to benefit their kids. Clearly, there's nothing illegal about this. But is it right? Sir Nicholas - challenged by the Standard - can't see why not:
He said: "I am not dishonest. We don't own the flat, because once it is handed over, it becomes the property of the beneficiaries of the trust [his children].
"I see nothing unethical or wrong in it. It was agreed by the Commons Fees office – I happen to rent a property that I bought outright."
Let's hear that again, Sir Nicholas:
"I happen to rent a property that I bought outright."
One of two things is happening here. He's either being disingenuous. He can see the problem, but chooses to pursue self-interest at the expense of ethics. Or, he really can't see why buying a house and paying his own family rent from the public purse is a problem. Either way, is this a man suited to making law?
The rumours were that Prince Andrew had been forced to give Sunninghill Park in Ascot away at a bargain price of under £6m. But the Sunday Times have had a look at newly released Land Registry figures and discovered that the Prince somehow managed to secure no less than £15m, in a sale to a Kazakhstani business man. The property was a present from his mum on the occasion of his wedding. Beats a toaster. Since then he's managed to see his ex-wife off for just £300,000 and lives rent-free in Royal Lodge in the Windsor Great Park. Which all just goes to show... not so useless after all.
I'm moving to Britain because it has the best education system in the world – who knows? My son may end up at Eton. At the moment I'm living between Somerset and California, but next year we'll move to London permanently because the British teaching system is second to none.
According to the Daily Mail (and everything that means) Kate Moss managed to alienate her new St Johns Wood neighbours even before "a fleet of pantechnicons arrived with her belongings, including a mattress, lampshades and an outdoor setting", by indulging in a certain amount of raucousness at a friend's pad, just down the road. The Mail goes on to chat with a number of Moss's new neighbours, and learns that angry local residents have already contacted their MP and the police. Blimey.
According to this trip around 61/2 Redington Road in Hampstead, it's had half the Arsenal team sniffing around its fingerprint entry system, floor-to-ceiling glazing and Ralph Lauren bed. It's a remarkable place... four bedrooms, John McAslan and Partners design, double garage... with Quintessentially Estates, guide price £6m (although I can't find any sign of it on their website... if you want pictures, go here for the Telegraph slideshow). It's apparently not so remarkable it hasn't been on the market for a while, though. Here's a piece from June, and the Times, welcoming the property to the market.
New England manager Fabio Capello is, apparently, house-hunting; and if rumours are true he's taken a shine to Sven Goran Eriksson's old Regent's Park mansion. Don't do it, say the fans. That place is cursed!
He's over here promoting BEE MOVIE, and - according to this - he's thinking about staying:
"Since I've been here I've been talking of a lot of people about it. I think it's a great idea. I'm going to definitely look into it. The audiences here are great and I haven't been here for a long time. I think it might be fun."
Serious, or just polite? The Rat and Mouse remains skeptical.
That's it from me until Monday. Do something different this weekend.
It was the venue for a high-profile drug overdose and police raid, but it's recently been empty while Winehouse stays in Bow and her husband stays in jail. Now - according to this - she's bought in the East and the Camden pad will hit the market.
"Ideally, I'd like a house on the green, near the theatre. It's just such an awesome place to hang out."
The rumour is that she's planning a permanent move to London, and that she's fixated on Richmond. The Rat and Mouse has made some tentative enquiries on her behalf, and finds that the options are very limited. She could just choose any house, grab the owners by the hair and hurl them howling into the night. A more conventional route, via Knight Frank, reveals this, not too far away from the awesomeness of The Green. It's currently three apartments, but it could easily be returned to its original and grand period shape. It's listed at £5m. Otherwise... agents... the ball's in your court.
The price of £18m may seem a lot for a maisonette, but it is a third less than an equivalent home would cost on Chester or Belgrave Squares.
It's the Sunday Times on the subject of Bayswater. Jimmy Choos in. Claudia Schiffer in. Ilaria Bulgari in. Sally Croker-Poole, who? The point of the piece is that Bayswater prices have risen 40% since January - which would have made for some happy hookers if they didn't all rent - and estate agents concur that what we're seeing is a long-awaited gentrification. It is - in the words of search agent Robert Bailey - "becoming sexy".
The answer, if rumours are to be believed, is Kate Moss-messy. The story goes that Love failed to make an offer on Moss's north London home because the house was just too much of a tip... scratched wooden floors, depressing colours, old plugs. The Rat and Mouse never understands this mentality... you're buying a house not a life. Buy, then redecorate. But Love apparently didn't think it was worth the effort or the money, even after Moss offered to throw in a valuable painting of Sid Vicious hanging in the bathroom. What's she been doing in there?
Rumours that Johnny Depp was about to buy in Norfolk proved to be pretty much off the mark, with news that he's forked out for a Victorian hunting lodge in...er... Somerset. The home cost £1.3m, but he's apparently spending a further £2.5m in improvements... the swimming pool, tennis courts, helipad type of improvements.
The Sunday Times congratulates Labour minister Barbara Follett on her good fortune... a millionaire novelist husband, £120,000 in public money to keep an essential London home and a nice little buy-to-let London earner, a stone's throw from the Commons.
The Folletts' property is equitably distributed between London, Hertfordshire, Cape Town and Antigua. More here.
Rumours of a certain rankling over at Connaught Street are currently focussing on the always-edgy subject of parking. Apparently, fellow residents have received a letter asking how they'd feel about giving up a nine-metre stretch of prime parking real estate for Blair-only use.
My home is very colourful. I have added vinyl strips to the floors – a cheap solution, as we had taken out the carpet and were at a loss as to how to cover it without any money. Also there is a lot of industrial tape on the walls in striped patterns that acts as wallpaper. The telephone is covered in masking tape. It looked horrible before.
The loo is one of my favourite rooms... I covered the walls in black-and-white photocopies of pictures, mostly from the 1970s, and fashion prints and music pictures, and then I added fluorescent pink. I have unusual art pieces in my house. Some white crutches I made for an exhibition rest against the fireplace in the sitting room, and there is a bear holding a huge industrial whisk in the hallway. And I have a massive trainer from an exhibition at the bottom of the stairs.
Okay, now you're weirding me out. Haven't you heard of Ikea? Two hundred quid and a lift from a friend with an estate car and you could have a normal flat.
It's Winslow Hall, in Winslow, Buckinghamshaw, and it's thought to be the work of Sir Christopher Wren. It was described, earlier in the year, as the ultimate trophy house and the Rolls Royce of English domestic architecture, in the Times. The agent has described it as a property of national importance. It was clearly under offer back in June. The latest is that Savills have confirmed they've shown the Blairs around. No offer, though, as yet. Winslow Hall is on the market at £3m.
The New York Timestakes a peek at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's three-storey Cadogan Square apartment. Apparently, it's kitted out by designer Jamie Drake and contains original works by Warhol, Jasper Johns and Henry Moore. Bloomberg apparently bought the apartment back in 1997, for £2.8m, with a 26 year lease. Earlier this year, he paid a further £3.5m to extend the lease until 2113. It sounds to me like he's got himself a bit of a deal.
Once home to Biba creator Barbara Hulanicki, this 4-story townhouse in Kensington Park Road still features the odd nod to the fashion icon, even though she hasn't lived there since the 1980s. Check out the kitchen units... hmm. It's with Foxtons and it ain't cheap... this big house (with a garden and conservatory) is listed at £3.4m, here. Click through to the particulars for a cornucopia of photografia.
According to the SundayTelegraph, Foxtons founder Jon Hunt has started spending his £390m, by drawing up plans for an eccentric extension to his Kensington Palace Gardens home. Eccentric? Like Mole, he's extending in a downward direction. Plans for his giant multi-storey extension - 50 feet below his lawn - include a giant sports hall, swimming pool, sauna and classic car museum. The cost will, they say, amount to tens of millions of pounds. What's strange is that a perusal of the plans lodged with the council reveals they've been around since 2005. Go there now for a host of entertaining drawing and floorplans, including what appears to be a "car lift" to the museum (very Thunderbirds); a "Security Room" (very sensible) and two men with their underpants lowered to their thighs staring at each other (very Tales of the City). In all seriousness, the Rat and Mouse congratulates Hunt on a daring and fascinating proposal. And who wouldn't want to be around to see what's uncovered by the diggers if/when they begin work at such a historically significant address?
A fourth-floor studio apartment on Charing Cross Road, charing the building with the Phoenix Theatre, and home - through much of the 1980s and 90s - to writer-director Derek Jarman. There are rumours, too, that the flat was once occupied by Christine Keeler. Unfortunately... no hint they ever lived there at the same time, but imagine the parties. 19 Phoenix House is remembered in Jarman's diaries, as a creative hothouse where he wrote and produced much of his work. It's with Chesterton, at £325,000. Particulars here.
She owns a smallish landlocked house at the end of xxxxx xxxx in St John's Wood but rents a flat locally if she's having any work done in her house. The number of the house is xA so perhaps that's why it seems that it is an apartment.
I can tell you a couple of intriguing particulars about the house if that's what she's selling and if it's of any interest as I have been there a few times.
I don't blame her for moving on from there, it's easy for anyone to track down her address and she lives at the end of a t-road. Her only escape is through the front door and gate as the site is blocked in at all sides. I can't imagine why she'd bother with the hassle of selling it, she could just buy another house locally and leave her assistant there.
Doesn't it bring it home to you? I mean... it hardly seems real until it effects somebody off the telly. If you thought hundreds of thousands of people without drinking water sounds bad, yesterday it was TV chef Anthony Worral-Thompson who was worrying about his farm near the Thames in Henley, and Virgin chief Richard Branson's Kidlington estate was partially submerged. More here.
In brief... because I'm about to leave for meetings... it's Kate Moss - and who can blame her? She's apparently selling her flat and looking for somewhere, in St John's Wood, that's more private. A link to particulars, as always, welcome.
He's likely to be moving in with girlfriend Kirsten Dunst now that his Camden home has... er... collapsed.
A main wall inside his home in Camden, North London, had collapsed leaving the place looking like a "bombsite". Johnny is said to be so fed-up, he wants rid of the place altogether. He and 25-year-old Spider-Man star Kirsten already have their eye on a £5million townhouse nearby.
Apparently, the Blairs' new Connaught Square neighbours haven't exactly had their concerns laid to rest since the couple moved in.
One of Blair's neighbours Dr Shella Arora was approached by a cop with his gun pointing at her while she was parking her car outside her apartment.
Dr Arora is a 72-year-old ex-GP. The policeman apparently asked her why she was parking her car outside the apartment. She explained that it was because she lived there. The policeman couldn't think of any more questions. There's been more gun-pointing, too... enough for residents to be concerned that one of them might be shot by accident. Blimey, if this was a council estate in Manchester they'd be looking at serving the Blairs with an ASBO.
It's a five-bedroom home in Harrow-on-the-Hill, listed with Savills at £1.75m, and it comes with a double-hit of celebrity. The current vendor is Kay Burley - of Sky News fame. It was previously owned by Kenneth Connor, of Carry on Matron (and a whole belly-laugh of other Carry On films).
Dylan Thomas's former home, Sea View, in Laugharne in Carmarthenshire, was picked up for £232,000 at an auction last week. The new owner, architect Graham Milsom, plans to restore the house to the way it was when Thomas entertained TS Elliot and Arthur Miller there in the last years of the 1930s. More here.
A two-bedroom, two-bathroom let, on Pembroke Road between Kensington High Street and Cromwell Road... apparently rented by Sir Elton John and David Furnish during 2005 when their usual Holland Park pad was being refitted. It's 2,450 sq ft, and rents for £2,000 a week. For more details, go here.
They knew it was never going to be easy. But, perhaps, the Blairs' new Connaught Street neighbours were hoping there'd at least be a little settling in time to soften the blow, before the ex-Prime Minister's presence started to impinge on their everyday lives. Well, he's been in his new home just over week, and they've apparently had their parking bays suspended.
The story is that she's tired of Hollywood and her boyfriend - Essex model Paul - is tired of having to jump through hoops to find parts for his pimped out white Astra - so what's stopping a move to London?
And why does it matter? Because the Telegraph reports that on March 19 he transferred ownership of the property (valued by a local estate agent at £700,000) into his wife's name. Tories point out that - should he decide to rent the flat out - the change in title will save the Browns up to £7,000 a year in income tax... (Mrs Brown is "resting", Mr Brown would pay tax at the higher rate). It's all legal, of course, and entirely sensible. But it still has the potential to leave the Rat and Mouse feeling a little queasy.
I’m looking to buy a place in London at the moment. I just love this city, and I seem to be spending so much time here that it seems like the logical thing to do. Ideally I’d like to live in Soho, although I guess it might be a little noisy.
According to Tracy Kellett, of BDI Home Finders, fame costs homebuyers, in particular. In her previous role as an estate agent she claims to have watched a "well-known daytime TV presenter" pay at least £200,000 more than they should purely because the vendor recognised their face and assumed they could afford it. Now a search agent, she's working as the buffer between the vendor and the celebrity. No doubt she's scrupulously discreet... but we'll start working on her shortly nevertheless.
Remember, back in March, we reported on this Great Cumberland Place house: ten bedrooms, four bathrooms, five reception rooms, a balcony and a party wall shared with Madonna? It was on the market for £5.75m, and the vendor was property developer Paul Davies. The news is... it's been sold... to Madonna. We can't - as yet - speculate on the price; but Davies is the ultimate shrewd operator, and Madonna is said to have spent eight months negotioting with him and fighting off interest from Mario Testino and Jennifer Saunders (separately... they're not, as far as we know, a couple). Whether Madonna intends to "knock through" or turn landlady isn't clear.
On Friday, we reported that Blair will be allowed to move into Chequers, at the taxpayers' expense, while the builders finish off at Connaught Street. Apparently, it'll only be a couple of days. (Haven't we all head that before?) Today it turns out that it's not just the Prime Minister but the Deputy Prime Minister, too, who's reluctant to give up some of the residential perks that go along with the job. It was controversial enough that John Prescott kept his Admiralty House home even after he stopped running a government department. Now - it turns out - he gets to keep it, even though he's no longer Deputy Prime Minister. Read it here.
An extraordinary petition has been sent to Westminster Council, signed by the residents of Connaught Square, suggesting that the Blairs shouldn't count on a warm welcome when they (finally) move into their new home. The Daily Mail appears to have got hold of the text:
Headed tersely: "The Blair Family In Connaught Square", it highlights residents' anger that they will be at risk and have been told nothing about the proposed security measures which could cause chaos in the secluded Square.
The petition reads: "It has been suggested that to protect the Blairs it may be necessary to:
• Prevent vehicles and unauthorised pedestrians entering the west side of the Square, where the Blairs live.
• Turn part of the Square into a gated community, policed by armed guards.
• Prune or cut down some of our magnificent old plane trees for Prevention of Terrorism reasons.
• Have a police helicopter hovering above the Square."
The letter goes on to state that they feel they are being put at unreasonable risk and inconvenience simply to make room for one family, and so the Blairs shouldn't move in. The Blairs - still - apparently plan to attend the Connaught Square garden party. Should be a riot. Literally.
Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker wasn't amongst those getting all damp-eyed at the prospect of Tony Blair's farewells, yesterday. Baker's eyes were on the Blair's country residence prize... apparently, the builder's are, ahem, behind schedule readying Blair's Connaught Square home, and it's somehow been agreed that Blair will move into Chequers at the taxpayers' expense (of £1,738 a day). According to the government it will only be for "a couple of days" (£3, 476). And that forecast is from where? Presumably, the builders... and if Blair's colleagues are really that naive, no wonder the PM's managed to run riot for a decade. The house remains sheathed in scaffolding.
Ex-LA Lakers cheeleader, ex-choreographer, ex-singer Paula Abdul might become an ex-American. After hanging out with her American Idol pal Simon Cowell, she's apparently professed a liking for a little London living. More (or less) here.
It's a Buckingham Place, Westminster townhouse... eight bedrooms, a terrace and a garden (note to non-Londoners: gardens in this neighbourhood are rare as travelers' teeth), and it's weighing in at a hefty £4.85m. It also comes with an elegant bit of history. It was previously owned by JFK's sister-in-law, the superbly named Princess Radziwill, and was Kennedy's London martini-pad of choice during his presidential years. Particulars, courtesy of Knight Frank, here.
It's an amazing place - an old farmhouse, apparently, with three acres - in... wait for it... Highgate. Okay, it's a little kitsch:
In the bathroom downstairs we have a Marilyn Monroe doll that sings " Happy Birthday". Actually I think she looks rather like Princess Diana. They said when they were clearing out her stuff they discovered she had an Erasure CD, which I was touched to hear. I am quite into Fifties movie idols, we also have a black and white screen in the sitting room – Audrey Hepburn on one side and Marilyn Monroe on the other – to suit your mood.
But the house - painted in Frida Kahlo-inspired tones - sounds remarkable. Read it here. More about Erasure here.
According to this, from Australia, Williams is considering leaving LA to move in with his best friend and former housemate actor Jonathan Wilkes, plus Wilkes' wife and son. Apparently, Wilkes has been spotted house-hunting in Chiswick.
It's permission to connect their Connaught Square house with an adjoining mews house in Archery Close, to install solar panels and CCTV cameras and create a roof terrace. Bizarrely, neighbour objections appear to have focussed on the roof terrace, which they claimed would be "noisy and smelly". Were they complaining it would be noisy and smelly on the roof terrace? A problem they could presumably avoid by not accepting invitations. Or were they complaining it would be noisy and smelly because of the roof terrace? In which case... isn't that a bit rude? More here.
The Independent hosts a tour around Jeremy Hackett's detached Victorian house by the man himself. It's a medley of contradictions... Nantucket-style interior, but very English... with Scandinavian furniture... but it sounds very nice indeed: a house that's good to live in. Read it, here.
Way back when the Rat and Mouse was just a little start-up, long before we even had premises and a receptionist, let alone valet parking, we drew readers' attention to the irony that Bob the Builder creator Keith Chapman was having something of a hard time getting his builders to finish work on his four-story house in Putney. Chapman had invited the Telegraph over to survey the damage. Well... today, they're back, and the house is on the market for £2.25m.
Dec has bought a £1.9 million house just 150 yards away from Ant in Chiswick. It's a mock-Tudor mansion, which style-icon Dec intends to demolish as soon as possible and replace with a mock-Edwardian mansion, identical in every way to Ant's home. And to achieve this, he will be employing Ant's architect, Stuart Hemingway.
What's that? Something about inflation? Something about the dollar? Anyway, news is that Jordan's house-hunting in LA. (First we learn we're losing Posh and Becks, now Jordan and Peter... what are we going to do for entertainment during the dark days of 13% interest rates?) Quoted here, Jordan's typically discreet:
"We're not like Kelly Brook or Rachel Stevens who say they're going to break the States and then don't. We're not mucking about. I think they'll see that we're real," she said.
This one originated, apparently, in yesterday's Daily Mirror. The story is that Bad Girls actress Antonia Okonma tried to pull a fast one when offered something in the region of £800 and a bit of publicity to appear on the hideous in every wayThrough The Keyhole... a TV quiz in which the camera snoops around a minor celebrity's home and you have to guess whose it is and what they're misguidedly trying to say about themselves by what they've artfully left lying around. Except in this instance, Okonma left somebody else's apartment lying around. Ambitious to look like a person with a career, she had contacted an estate agent friend, who left her the keys to a trendier apartment, knowing the real owners was away. Okonma went through the apartment, scattering scripts and plastic Oscars... but a friend of the actual owners spotted the apartment on television. Okonma was told to clear off twice... first by the owners of the flat, and then by the BBC:
A spokesman for the BBC, which airs the show, said the broadcaster was "very disappointed that she behaved like this and, in doing so, spoiled a very popular show."
We're expecting the DCLG to announced plans, today, to reduce red tape surrounding microgeneration installations and (according to Miliband) "make it as easy to install a wind turbine as a satellite dish". The new rules are expected to come into force from October, too late for Cameron.
She's jewellery designer to the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Minogue, she likes fairies, crystals programmed by Buddhists, things from Java, and she is environmentally-friendly enough to not fill up the bath, even though:
I have a day-bed in the sitting-room that I got shipped over from Bali - it actually cost more to ship than it did to buy... My friends and I like to chill out on it, listening to music.
The Sunday Times has got its hands on planning documents lodged with Westminster Council that outline the Blairs' plans for their Connaught Street home. Apparently, they can look forward to enjoying a rooftop sun terrace (with four solar panels and views towards Hyde Park) and a giant ground floor kitchen. The plans also include details of how they intend to knock the main house and the mews house into one, and locations for two new CCTV cameras. More here.
Lord Patten - Margaret Thatcher's housing minister - is, according to the Independent on Sunday, harassing ministers to force the closure of the homeless people's soup kitchens inconveniently close to his Ashley Gardens flat.
More property porn from the property porn specialists at Forbes. See where Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Lakshmi Mittal, Paul Allen, Michael Dell and co. live... here. Actually, Buffett, with a net worth of $52 billion, still lives in the modest Omaha home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. I don't know why that makes me like him more. (The illustration is Dell's pad in Austin, Texas.)
There's a massive Louis Vuitton trunk in the hall beside the front door and next to it is a Chanel surfboard - I saw it in a shop in St Tropez and had to have it for the hall. As you walk up the stairs you pass a pink fluorescent light that spells out "bollocks" in curly writing.
Not exactly a "welcome!" mat, is it? Venture up the stairs to find an Acqua di Parma-themed bathroom, with celebrity photos and a celebrity guest book, a black bedroom with skull wallpaper and an Edward Hopper knock-off painted by a Thailand beach artist. Oh yeah, her interior design service is available here or here.
It's on Great Cumberland Place, it's a Grade 2-listed house with ten bedrooms, four bathrooms, five reception rooms and a balcony, it needs complete renovation after being used as a clinic for a number of years, it's priced at £5.75m and... oh yeah... it shares a party wall with Madonna. Particulars here.
It's a known fact that having a celebrity vendor can be a double-edged sword for an estate agent. Yes... the property will probably get more attention and maybe appear in a newspaper. Yes... they'll risk a steady troop of W.O.F.T. viewers (if you saw this, you'll understand; if you didn't, you've the afternoon to work it out before I explain in the comments, below) who don't want to buy the house, they just want to sniff the pillows or steal something. So it's with some surprise that the Rat and Mouse finds actor Treat Williams and family shamelessly exploiting their celebrity with a series of fabulously unposed photographs in the particulars to their $4.75m Upper West Side apartment.
It's a bit of a triumph for unconventional estate agency franchise Re/Max... 17 Gerald Road in Belgravia was home to Noel Coward between 1930 and 1956, and the venue for some truly star-studded parties. It features a double-height reception room (extra clearance for all those egos), four bedrooms, a library and roof terrace. It also comes with 1 Burton Mews, which adds another two bedrooms, a garage and off-street parking (and was used, at the time, as an office by Coward's secretary). It's on the market with a guide price of £4 million. Too, too glamorous. Particulars, here.
Broadcaster Sue Lawley, singer Brian Ferry and actor Rupert Everett are all said to be backing the Save Sloane Square campaign, which is challenging Kensington & Chelsea Council's proposals to build a four-lane road through the square, splitting it into two piazzas... or squares. It looks like a stand-off.
No wonder his heart's flopping around in there like a trout on dry land... the police are after him, Brown's after him, and now he might have mortgage debts of up to £5 million, making him, er, more sensitive than most to interest rate fluctuations. The Telegraph asked Charcol how much Tony and Cherie should be able to borrow, based on their combined income, and they replied £1.3 million.
Dec has bought a £1.9 million house just 150 yards away from Ant in Chiswick. It's a mock-Tudor mansion, which style-icon Dec intends to demolish as soon as possible and replace with a mock-Edwardian mansion, identical in every way to Ant's home. And to achieve this, he will be employing Ant's architect, Stuart Hemingway. It appears the neighbours are less than delighted. Is it me, or has this just crossed the boundary into weird?
The clearest explanation we've seen, courtesy of This Is London: he exercises his right-to-buy on a council flat in Hammersmith, spending £75,000. After three years, he applies to the Land Registry to have the property transferred into his son's name. The property's sold in September 2004 for £228,000 and, with the assets, his son buys a semi in Greenford for £280,000. Apparently, shortly afterwards, the assets are returned to Hamza.
Somehow this one must have passed me by when it happened... because it's all news to me. Apparently, Girls Aloud's Nadine Coyle hired an overzealous estate agent who - ultra-keen to secure a sale - handed her keys to a gang of drug dealers a fortnight before she was due to move out. The first she knew about a viewing was when she unexpectedly met them in her hallway. Fortunately, they "left quickly" after she threatened to sing.
We knew he was leaving London for Scotland, now here's the Times with details of his new 25-acre Edwardian mansion. Aultmore House was up-until-recently an expensive holiday retreat (and a set for Monarch of the Glen). Apparently, Dylan and his brother bought the pad via Savills for £2.2 million.
Despite his celebrity there is no guarantee that the singer, a keen golfer who recently confessed to having a handicap of 17, will be able to join the local Abernethy club. “Mr Dylan will have to apply in writing just like everyone else and be vetted by the committee,” Jack McCool, the club treasurer, said.
I bet. But - come on - what earthly reason could McCool and the gang find for not letting Mr Zimmerman join their little golf club? Hmmm.
Intercontinental chef Theo Randalltakes the Independent around his Chalk Farm Victorian and they end up, inevitably, in the kitchen... where stainless steel (good for wiping) and Smeg (good for crackling) come out of it well. Randall likes to cook in his garden too. In fact, in the summer months, there's nothing he likes more than to pop outside and spit roast a chicken.
In an extraordinary turn of events, it's being reported that, in a period of record property value rises, the Blairs have managed to not lose money on a house. With assistance from a frenzied central London market, the Blairs' big fat Connaught Square mansion might have gained as much as £1 million in book value by the time the Prime Minister retires to consider a job well done. You see? It's that kind of foresight and astute financial management that makes him Prime Minister, and us, well, not.
According to the Sunday Times, the Emir of Qatar is selling Beechwood, his 11-acre estate off Hampstead Heath. However, there's no website, no particulars, few details... although the articles mentions £65 million as a likely guide price. And apparently, it's a little bit 1980s inside. Interestingly, the Emir isn't leaving London, he's just moving more central, and has paid £37.5 million for an office building, which he will convert into a colossal family home.
She was staying at the Dorchester while filming "His Dark Materials" when she spotted it - a little £12 million townhouse around the back of the Mayfair hotel - and, well, you know, just had to have it.
But here's a news flash for you and the rest of your expatriate friends from the Hollywood community: The days of our unconditional love for all things celebrity are over. We ordinary Americans have the power to make or break a movie, a song, a TV show, an actor, a singer, a TV journalist, a radio announcer...
Holy shit. This really redefines stupid. Oh, he hasn't finished.
... and even a blogger.
Okay. It's "an open letter" to Paltrow, penned by Fox's Mike Straka, and I'm sure she likes America even more now. Read the whole ugly thing here.
So, apparently, the story is that Johnny Deppis shooting at Pinewood (SWEENEY TODD). So is Vince Vaughn (FRED CLAUS). Vaughn bagged the south west London house that Depp had wanted to rent during the shoot. Which made him upset. So - he thought he'd show that a Depp doesn't come in second place to no Vaughn, by consulting his chum Keith Richards (presumably the only man who could be relied upon to offer really bad, really expensive advice) on the interior design of his trailer. Step up the £20,000 trailer... fitted out in Moorish chic, including "the best quality drapes" money can buy, pipes and a selection of flavoured tobacco. Oh yeah, and a coffee machine "that isn't complicated to use".
Of course, Rat and Mouse readers know that American celebs come, American celebs talk a bunch of guff about the real London, American celebs get sick of the crap weather and angry people and go home again. But the Independent thinks London's on the verge of becoming the must-have property destination for the Hollywood set, with this round-up of residences, including Tom Cruise, Brangelina, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gillian Anderson, Kevin Spacey, Neve Campbell and others.
This is a mystery to me. Where's Bob Hoskins' s house anyway? Is it even for sale? According to this, ex-rocker Courtney Love has seen it, likes it, wants it. She apparently fell for London during her recent book tour.
Apparently, the graffiti problem outside Arsenal turncoat Ashley Cole's "north London mansion block" has become so bad, he's decided to sell his place and move. Anybody know where Cole lives? Anybody care to send us a pic?
By "the Mandelson", I don't just mean Peter Mandelson, I mean all those of his ilk... lacking obvious talent, lacking obvious charm, subject to frequent career reversals, and yet consistently landing on their feet, holidaying on yachts, living in multi-million pound homes... never seemingly having to worry about money or even having to worry about worrying about money. Acting - in fact - as if a financially secure and luxurious lifestyle is owed them... an inevitability. Anybody else wondered the same... how does the Mandelson breed do it? Well, Jeremy Langmead - writing in the Guardian on the subject of Mandelson's new £2.4 million Regent's Park home - has been wondering exactly that, and comparing it to his own fortunes on the property ladder.
Mandelson seems to know something I don't. Admittedly, he has no school fees to pay and receives a £21,000 annual housing allowance in his Brussels post, but he isn't exactly a penny pincher. He always seems well attired (even if he was pictured at a conference last year without any socks on), eats regularly at the River Cafe and enjoys the odd holiday or two aboard a yacht.
What, exactly, is it that the Mandelson knows? Answers on an email (or in the comments) please.
Thanks to a Rat and Mouse reader for pointing me in the direction of this piece - which suggests that 7, Cavendish Avenue, the St John's Wood home owned (but not occupied) by Paul McCartney ever since the mid-60s, is on the market for £4.15 million. So far - however - online particulars evade me. In the meantime, if there's anything else (and I mean anything) you want to know about Macca and NW8, go here.
... hardliner is selling this five-bedroom detached Streatham home for £825,000? Clues? Note the bust of Lenin overlooking the plush wooden floors and expensive furnishings, the Islamic art scattered throughout the grand and spacious living quarters... Answer revealed later today.
According to this, working class hero John Lennon's London home is on the market for $11.1 million. They say, it's 24 miles south west of town... am I the only person who doesn't know where it is? Apparently, it has six bedrooms, five receptions rooms, a playroom, a sauna and a swimming pool. If anybody can find some particulars...
Rat and Mouse readers with long memories might remember our appeal, back in February, for the estate agent who might have acted on behalf of Abu Hamza, regarding the sale of his Hammersmith property. A Mr Justice Hughes was wondering where the money went... looking for funds to offset the massive trial costs. It now appears he's discovered where the money went. On a semi in Greenford, according to the papers. Hamza even managed to buy the property from jail... an achievement which grants the man in my eyes (and I'm sure in the eyes of other Rat and Mouse readers experienced in the tribulations of London property purchases) a whole new level of respect. It doesn't impress the Sun, though.
If you're Sven Goran Eriksson and you're still being paid £13,000 a day by the FA to keep your hands of doom off the English game, then you can afford a holiday villa on the island of Koh Samui. According to the Sun, Eriksson (who still hasn't managed to sell his London home), bought off-plan, and the property will benefit from views of the South China Sea.
It's not London, I know, but the slightly distasteful feeding frenzy developing around the late Syd Barrett's Cambridge home is an interesting detail in the ongoing what-adds-and-what-detracts-value debate. Estate agent Cheffins (and what a fabulous name for a Cambridge estate agency!) reports "many offers" above the guide price. More here.
Prince Harry's girlfriend Chelsy Davy is flat-shopping in London, with the aid of Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton. Apparently, she's staking her claim on the royal "soldier" now, in case somebody else moves in on him while she's studying in South Africa. Nice.
A bizarre question - maybe - but one that's resulted in a writ, issued by her former landlords. She's been accused of willfully damaging a £1.5 million Chelsea Crescent apartment. She's said to have caused £10,000 worth of damage (including - and this is truly weird - some "blackened spoons") and is said to owe almost £6,000 in rent. More here.
Jeweller Fiona Knapp shows the Daily Mail around her nice west London triplex, and things get personal:
Fiona's jewel-coloured underwear is housed in a 1960s Lucite and glass dressing table.
Good job it was a female journalist. Everybody wants to know this kind of detail, but coming from a male journo it could have seemed a little creepy. Me, I keep my "Foxtons, but no mini"-logo underpants in a similar piece of furniture. Read the whole article, and learn how to get the look, here.
One of the few drawbacks of this flat is the dust that comes in through the window from industrial sites. I have to wipe down the kitchen three times a day... Because it is a factory building, it doesn't work that well for heating or ventilation. There is a huge ceiling window in the living room, which at this time of year allows in too much heat. In the winter it can be freezing... I have two huge freezers stuffed with dead animals in my studio, everything from mice and small birds to rats and foxes. Also I have taken up most of the deep freeze in the kitchen with my animals.
Taxidermist and artist Polly Morgan striking out on an original approach to writing particulars. Actually, her east London ex-factory home sounds fascinating, and the whole piece, in the Independent, is a sad story of what's going to go, to make way for the Olympics.
Forbes - the place where people with money read about people with money - is hosting a kind of stalkers' slideshow of properties belonging to US celebs in the UK. Homeowners include Madonna, Jerry Hall, Terry Gilliam, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gillian Anderson, Tim Burton and Kevin Spacey. It also poses the question... why?. Apparently, it's all about status (pronounced as in splat - us):
"U.S. celebrities get kudos in their social circles for owning a London property," says Tom Tangney, associate at property agent Knight Frank.
There's an odd end to the feature. The writer is clearly under the impression that Notting Hill's "rise" from multi-cultural stop-off to hangout of the rich and arty has happened in the years since the Richard Curtis movie:
Seven years ago, the film Notting Hill spurred interest in London's more diverse quarters. In one scene Hugh Grant, as a bumbling poor bookstore owner, tries to break up with movie star Julia Roberts with the explanation: "I live in Notting Hill, you live in Beverly Hills." It was a metaphor for the difference in house prices, class and status that each neighborhood represented...
They're saying he's just spent £6 million on a riverside property in Chelsea - a place to stay when he's in town with (to quote the Daily Mail) "his 6ft 4in girlfriend". (Is this a special case, or a new trend in which journalists are to specify height?, asks 6ft 1in Ben Brandt.)
Lederer refreshingly admits to having tidied up the pants before opening her home to the Independent. How many of these pieces do you read, and then come away wondering... do rich, arty people really live like this? Even though they have kids? Perhaps that's why I'm not as rich and arty as they are? Perhaps if I turned my home into a casual interpretation of the British museum - flotsam from my many trips across the subcontinent scattered with zero thought at all for my own image - and added whatever contemporary design trends will turn my place into a stomach-churning middle-class cliche within five years - then I could be richer and artier too. But Lederer's a refreshing change:
There's a lot of fake stuff - even a "Dufy" painted by my friend Brenda! We laid fake York stone on the terrace, and even the facade is fake.
The Daily Mail takes an indepth look at how Jemima French (one half of Frost French, the label she runs with Sadie Frost) went from Bali beachbum single mother to Primrose Hill princess:
When she began looking for a bigger space for her now four children, boyfriend Francis, who runs his own celebrity management company, and two cats, Jemima stumbled upon a five-storey, six-bedroom Victorian townhouse just a stone's throw from Regents Park. Even better, it didn't need any major work, just paint and some TLC for the original floorboards.
It's amazing what you can just stumble across when you try. Let that be a lesson, whining ftbs. Anyway, here's the link. Do with it what you will.
Back when I was growing up in Manchester, I lived just around the corner from Lou Macari. One day I ran my Chopper into the back of one of his parked Audis and broke a rear light. I knocked on the door, and asked for his autograph. That was when footballers lived in modest semis, among the people who wore scarves in their team colours. And you could buy three packs of football stickers for ten pence, and still have change for a bubbly. (Christ, here I go again.) Anyway, the point is that I doubt whether Macari's presence had much impact on the value of my parents' home. How things have changed. Today's Times reveals how footballers are propping up property values.
This isn't the first time we've heard rumours that Michael Jackson might be considering a London move (almost a year to the day, isn't that strange)... now the story comes from a Mirror reporter, who was told (by Jackson himself) that a London home is a likelihood, and a Scottish or Irish Neverland-style ranch a distinct possibility. A good day for the Welsh, then. More here.
Apparently, you'll be pleased by the "quality of finishing to the general fabric". It's on Raveley Street, it's listed at £950,000, has four bedrooms, a landscaped rear garden and a set of particulars written by somebody struggling with the English language (sounds suspiciously Italian to us). Honestly, the particulars are almost as strange as the house's history.
UPDATE - I've had a number of emails asking why I didn't publish a link to the particulars. The answer is... I forgot. Here you go.
It was only a few days ago that Hugh Grant was complaining he had London properties coming out of his ears, and now a City financier tells the Evening Standard that he's just sold his Chelsea home to Grant and Jemima Khan for a reported £18 million - making the property the most expensive per square foot in London. We don't have an address (which makes sending our moving in card difficult). But apparently it's in a square off the King's Road, has three garages and nine bedrooms, and a quarter of an acre of garden. Oh yeah, and it looks like this.
According to this morning's Sun, Kylie Minogue's chucking £1 million at her three-bedroom Chelsea flat...
And they are now busy transforming it into a palace fit for a pop princess.
(See? That's how to write for a tabloid.) Apparently, the flat's been stripped to its shell, and brass tiles (£55 each) are going in, along with an Italian stone floor and underfloor heating. In the bathroom: solid silver taps (£1,500), which will run both cold and hot water, plus £10,000 of marble. More of this tackiness (the journalism, not Kylie's flat) here. Meanwhile, out of curiosity, I've been trying to find brass tiles that cost £55 each, and I'm having problems. If anybody knows what a £55 brass tile looks like, I'd love to see one.
The Telegraphbrings news that the Bishops Avenue house recently inhabited by the crew of braggers, blaggers, big-heads and bastards that make up this year's The Apprentice has been rented out at £5,750 a week.
He's going. He's so going he's selling his house. It's Grade II-listed, in the lovely Park Village East near Regent's Park, it has three bedrooms, two reception rooms and two bathrooms, and a very landscaped 120ft garden. And it's yours for just £3.1 million. Eriksson apparently bought the place for £2.55 million back in 2001 - which gives him (allowing for stamp duty) just over 20% in five years. Here's more on the story, courtesy of the BBC. More importantly, here's a link to what I think are the particulars.
Broadcaster Jonathan Meades is fleeing London. But first he has to sell his very lovely London Bridge penthouse. You can read Meades' own story of the apartment here, and then head over here for the particulars, and press this for a virtual tour.
Tory MP Philip Davies has tabled a question asking exactly when tax-payers can expect ex-minister David Blunkett to leave his rent-free £3 million South Eaton Place home. It's four months since the Independent began questioning Blunkett's unusual domestic arrangements. The MP has since been the subject of widespread criticism, but he's clung on to the Belgravia pad tenaciously (although rumours that he'd had the locks changed in the dead of night turned out to be entirely false). More here. Perhaps Blunkett should contemplate moving into the Fulwood Walk residence (Southfields), which he's currently renting out for (apparently) in excess of £1,000 a month.
I'm not finding it hard to take sides on this one. How can David Cameron's new Notting Hill neighbours really call his proposed wind turbine a "blight" on the locale? I look at these things, compare them to the stained brickwork surrounding people's gas boiler outlets and the car smog hanging in the early morning air, and - although they might seem a bit out of place now - wind turbines and solar panels just look like a better future. They cheer me up. Why not attack Cameron for a proper reason... like the cynical song and dance he's making about his green credentials? Or the way everything he says seems designed by focus group? Or the way he looks a bit like a second hand car dealer in Acton who once tried to sell me a dodgy Astra?
He has homes in London and in Hampshire, a part share in a Languedoc holiday home, part share in a home in Greece, and then he's landlord for a further five properties: a house and two flats in London, and a house and a flat in Oxford. Clearly, he needs more. This, from his leadership campaign manifesto:
"Housing has become the Cinderella of the Government's social policy. Too few affordable homes are being built, particularly in the South and in existing urban areas rather than greenfield sites."
Fancy a peek inside Moby's hilltop home, 50 miles outside of Manhattan, as featured on MTV Cribs and yours for three and a half million dollars? Oh, go on then. Click here for a guided tour [warning: irritating ambient music].
Confusion reigns, regarding Jolie and Pitt's property ambitions. The latest? Jolie's sold her Buckinghamshire mansion (the figure being thrown around is £21 million). Yes, she's looking to buy in London (somewhere near Madonna apparently, so that there's somebody to pop in and water the plants while she's saving the Third World). But she's planning to live in LA. More, here.
Or rather, their people are flathunting... for a London pad which they can use as stop-off between the airport and the Buckinghamshire mansion. during their many trips abroad collecting babies. More, here.
Pregnant - that's the first piece of news. And, apparently, her mother "had to be peeled off the ceiling" (although she fails to mention whether the ceiling had any period features). The second piece of news is moving. Her west London flat will go on the market (more details as we get them), and she'll be moving in with her property developer boyfriend Ben Andersen, who plans to convert two Notting Hill apartments into a large family home. We've been told Kirstie looks at the Rat and Mouse now and again, so may we take this opportunity to say "congratulations". More here.
... Confusion reigns. Yesterday the news was that the Blairs' property curse reached his Sedgefield constituency last year, turning it into (according to Nationwide figures) one of the big property losers with an average fall in values of 10%. That could have wiped £40,000 from the value of the Prime Minister's constituency home. But today's Guardian takes a more considered view... factoring in the information that he paid only £30,000 for the property (way back in 1983). The Guardian also points out that the same survey gives Westminster a massive 10.8% rise in the year which, if applied to his much-derided Connaught Square investment, would make the Prime Minster enough profit in a year to buy his Sedgefield home in cash. But it's more complicated than that. Many believe that the Blairs paid to much for Connaught Square, and we all know that house price figures are micro-regional... one road will do much better than another. Read more, here.
The residents of Bethnal Green and Bow invite you to help them encourage George Galloway back to work. (A word of explanation for our foreign readers - George Galloway is the elected representative of an east London constituency, and earns almost £62,000 of tax payers' money to represent his [generally low-income]] constituents. Except he's decided to devote the coming weeks to his real job [media whore] and loaf around the Celebrity Big Brother house instead - a situation most would see as a serious lack of respect.)
Did Rat and Mouse readers desert us over Christmas? Not at all. In fact, it's slightly scary how many London property fanatics visited us over the holiday period. Special thanks, though, to the Rat and Mouse reader who emailed us late on Friday with this link to pictures of Keira Knightley doing a bit of London house-hunting.
Thanks to the kind Rat and Mouse reader who pointed this one out to us. Expect to find Orlando Bloom's Battersea apartment on the market soon... the story is that he's already property hunting with girlfriend Kate Bosworth.
News reaches the Rat and Mouse that, somewhere in Fulham, there's a five-bedroom house (with roof terrace), priced at £875,000 that's owned by tennis star Pat Cash, and has been since 1986. He apparently spends so little time here, he might as well let the property go. If you think know the agent, address... let us know.
It sounds as if Colin and Justin have had easier clients. Drafted in to revamp the Hamiltons' Battersea flat, and provide the couple with an excuse to show their faces on Channel 5, they were met with resistance. Christine insulted their clothes. They called her "an old bitch". She called them "absolutely vile". They called her "a heat-seeking missile in slingbacks". And then it all went downhill. You can watch the results tomorrow... Colin and Justin's How Not To Decorate, C5, 8pm.
Thanks to a Rat and Mouse reader for alerting us to our inexplicable failure to pick up this one... a 6-bedroom arts & crafts house on Golders Green Crescent. It's special because of its impressive garden, its three-owners-since-1908-new lineage and the fact that it's being sold by The Antiques Roadshow's Ian Harris, whom, it's safe to assume, has looked after it. It's on the market at £875,000; and the Times' Katrina Burroughs writes in depth about the property, here.
A new survey by Post Office Home Insurance purports to suggest that while we love reading about celebrity cribs in the Rat and Mouse we wouldn't want to live right next door to one. But the figures aren't so clear. Almost half (46%) of the ordinary, boring, non-celebrities who gave up their time to be polled said they would, in fact, like to live next to a celebrity, and their celebrity of choice would be highly dependent on their gender. Men apparently quite like the idea of "popping next door" to see Jordan. Women prefer Beckham. And it looks like these respondents were old enough to know better, because there's a separate sub-result for women under the age of 24 in which Brad beats Beckham. Men of any age apparently still prefer Jordan. Meanwhile the over-55s - in an act so cliched I can't help suspecting purposeful obfuscation - nominated Cliff Richard. And the celebrity neighbour we'd like least? Gordon Ramsay. What's interesting about the poll is the [warning: sound file] Stella Street fantasy the idea of a celebrity neighbour seems to encourage... like, Ramsay will really be bellowing obscenities all day, Jordan's bound to be posing in a bikini, Cliff Richard will be humming wholesome hymns, Beckham will be reading Beano in his boxers. Okay, that last one might have the ring of truth... But from the emails we receive, having a celebrity neighbour is more like having no neighbour at all. More, here.
While Lucas doesn't flaunt his newfound wealth - he lives quietly in North London with his long-term boyfriend - Walliams is a regular on the party scene, guzzling champagne and revelling in his extravagant lifestyle. He snapped up Oasis star Noel Gallagher's old pad, Supernova Heights - a £3million mansion in fashionable Primrose Hill, North-West London - and is often spotted cruising around in his vintage Mercedes.
That's the Mirror, indulging in some old-fashioned Little British journalism there. The piece breaks down their merchandising campaign (in shops near you very soon), to show how they'll soon by loaded to the tune of £11 million each.
It's a veritable celebrityorgy of London loving right now, isn't it? Although we suspect fans might be getting a bit ahead of themselves with this one. The man's just won a MOBO, he's bound to be in a good mood.
The Daily Mirror's 3am Girls (think... this year's Big Brother housemates, but without the depth and profundity) have apparently spoken to "a source close to" Mariah Carey and come up with a potential hit list of London neighbourhoods suitable for a future home. The Mariah Carey space station is said to be beaming detailed layouts of Ladbroke Grove, Old Street, Kensington and Marylebone back to Carey HQ, where Mariah and her luxurious pussy survey projected maps, and cackle... " I love the way they speak - the cockney accent, so I'm gonna learn it."
At least for the summer of 2006. Timberlake, who wrote this lyric:
There's no getting around it/Or in between/You're out of this world/Except you're not green
... has been offered a role (by Kevin Spacey) in Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues, at the Old Vic. Robert Altman will, apparently, direct. Diaz, who according to instinct can do absolutely no wrong in this world, has film commitments that will also bring her to London. More, here.
It cost £12,000 - according to this piece of time-wasting gossip. The important parts of the story are that it's a six-seater, it includes a champagne bucket, he wants it on his London roof terrace, but he might not get planning permission. We want to know... would you object to the sight of Craig David and lovelies soaking and splashing? Answers on an email, please.
Channel 4 News's sorely-missed ex-political editor Elinor Goodman gets her knuckles rapped in the Telegraph, today? Why? As the new chairman of the Affordable Rural Homes Commission, she's investigating a possible ban on second homes in rural areas. Rural areas like Oare in Wiltshire, where Goodman has her house, as opposed to her flat in SW1. I guess this is the kind of thing that happens when poacher turns gamekeeper.
Now you're talking. US music magazine Blender (and one of my old employers before I became a bricks-and-mortar-stalker) have been chatting to epic religio-rapper Kanye West, and it seems the man is considering a move to London:
Future plans: "I think I'm gonna move to London," "Get a fake-ass British accent like Madonna."
I don't know why I'm so excited. But what's with the Madonna reference? Does Madonna's accent really sound British to American ears? More fun, here.
We've driven another one out. News broke over the weekend that Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton have had enough of the constant prying and intrusion that comes with north London celebrity life. They're clearing off - for the time being, to a mansion in Great Dunmow, Essex, owned by Nicole's sister Natalie and the Prodigy's Liam Howlett.
Camden Council is under fire from the borough's celebrities, who are objecting to the potential sound of untalented people drinking late into the night, once licensing hours are extended. Amongst the protesters... pianist Alfred Brendel, who lives in Well Walk, Hampstead, is concerned about the Wells Tavern; Amanda Platell is battling with the Roebuck, in Hampstead's Pond Street; Jon Snow (whom the Rat and Mouse supports as a matter of principle on any issue whatsoever) takes a dim view of late-night drinking at the Torriano in Kentish Town; and Joan Bakewell is worried about lude, drunken shenanigans concerning the Princess of Wales (the pub) in Primrose Hill.
Tanya Same - founder of the Ghost label - opens her Ladbroke Grove home to Charlotte Crips in today's Independent. As you'd imagine, it sounds hip - a homely and unstudied ragtag of 20th Century design, found objects and bits of Ghost. Hey, it also has a bar - so what do we know? And just in case anybody hadn't read the Ladbroke Grove bit, and was in any doubt we're talking about west London:
There's a spiral staircase here that leads up to an attic bedroom at the top of the house, where I do yoga every morning with my yoga teacher. I've just learnt to stand on my head.
Whichever way you look at it, this is a weird one. Insurers Norwich Union have suddenly decided a temporary obsession with the idea of a "happy home" is going to make them seem caring, so they've launched a survey seeking to establish which celebrities have - in the eyes of the public - the happiest homes, plus a competition to find the key to home happiness. Now, I know what you're thinking. This isn't proper social science. And you'd be so right. For what it's worth, Jonathan Ross and Jane Goldman have the happiest home, with Jamie and Jools Oliver's home coming in a jocund, merry second. Norwich Union even comes up with a few handy tips to make your own home happier. Want to waste your valuable time by reading them?
Ensure you get on with you neighbours. Allow each member of the family their own space. Make your house a clutter-free zone. Allow plenty of sunlight into your home. Kitchens and lounges should be warm, spacious and inviting. Make time for each other. Ensure your home is secure and adequately insured.
If you think you can do better, and fancy the chance of winning an £8,000 prize and thus making your home so happy it squeals, go here.
A bar in the lounge, obviously. According to an interiors piece in today's Times, the home cocktail bar is back, with the trend led by Madonna, who hired David Collins to recreate the Berkeley Hotel's Blue Bar in her own New York pad.
"People are increasingly entertaining at home," says Alex Michelin, director of the property developers Finchatton. "And they want to do so in a relaxed yet sophisticated way. Having people over for cocktails is fast replacing the labour-intensive dinner-party scenario."
Right. But does that mean you really need somewhere to lean your elbow? It all sounds like the kind of kitsch silliness that you look back on with embarrassment when it crops up in the corner of old photos. What do you think?
According to this, she's taken a £10,000 kicking on the sale of her three-storey Georgian house in Hammersmith. If this is truly a story, it's that the house was bought - for £10,000 more than the £680,000 she's said to have accepted - way back in 2001. It originally joined the market with an asking price of £775,900.
Later in the conversation, she criticised the Blairs' new London home as "horrible", saying: "I said to them, guys, we're not going to get into this conversation because I'll only depress you. Suffice to say, I think you are nuts!"
First off, that's Carole Caplan - fitness guru, taste-maker, sister of discretion - talking to a News of the World reporter posing as an Arab "sheikh" (and we dread to think what, exactly, that consisted of). Read the full article to appreciate why slagging off Connaught Street is the least of Tony Blair's worries. (She also calls him a fat man who likes a drink.) Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror has been running alongside the Connaught Street house, watching it haemorrhage money and devalue faster than a government promise:
Tony and Cherie Blair's dream home has crashed in value by £700,000 in just seven months. The couple paid £3.65million for the five-bedroomed Regency townhouse in West London in October. But estate agents say it is now worth less than £3million - even though, nationally, house prices have risen by 10 per cent in the last year.
The article goes on to point out that the Blairs' tenant is paying £5,000 a month less than the mortgage repayments. Jeez, sometimes it's nice not to be Prime Minister.
According to FemaleFirst, she's selling the Primrose Hill house she famously shared with actor Jude Law, and moving to the country. She will, however, be looking for a little crash pad in the £1.5 million category. Phil and Kirstie - stand by, it's a big one...
Hardly worth rubbing shoulders with dodgy Peter Foster now, was it? According to Bristol estate agents, the state of play on the two investments that led straight to the "Cheriegate" affair is that, should the Blairs decide to sell up in the near future, they could lose as much as £60,000. Ah, so that's why they didn't (as they'd suggested they were going to) liquidate the properties to offset their expensive Connaught Square investment. More, here.
It's a five-storey Georgian home in Regent's Park's Conway Street, it cost £1.6 million and Madonna's giving it to the Kabbalah organisation to use as a hotel/drop-in for Kabbalists. Well, we say Kabbalists, but the prospect of any 18th century Eastern European freethinking mystical geniuses popping in is fairly remote. Britney Spears or Demi Moore on the other hand... More, here.
That's right - according to the Mail on Sunday, and now surfacing on the Internet, here. The story goes that she's fallen for a five-storey, five-bedroom property in Chelsea, with a 30ft double reception room and 32ft split level garden. The story also goes that it's with Knight Frank estate agents, and she's made an offer of £2.6 million (which, if it's accepted, suggests to the Rat and Mouse she's bagging a bargain). We can't find anything on the Knight Frank website that fits the description and comes in anywhere near that figure.