By Angela Lovely
You’d be forgiven for not giving it a second glance as you walk past it on your way from Goodge Street tube station. Squeezed in between a pub and a cafe it is the narrowest house on the street but it stands out because it has the largest price tag.
In January 2008 this terraced freehold town house changed hands for £1,525,000, but this week it came on the market with an asking price of £3.15 million.
What was a fairly modest family home inside has been transformed into a “fashion designer’s contemporary oasis”, according to Hudsons who are selling it for the owners.
But it’s not just the newly renovated house they are selling, it’s also a product of its owners: Jsen Wintle, of Wintle menswear, and his partner Josh Bell. It’s a contemporary designer experience you are being offered, if you’ve got a few million quid sloshing about. But more likely it’ll attract an overseas investor looking to grow their London property portfolio.
With Graham West of West Architecture leading on the architecture and Jsen Wintle completing the interior design, they “transformed the property into an elegant, beautifully appointed house with a creative and airy interior layout,” say Hudsons.
When Josh and Jsen first took up residence neighbours wondered what the sound of water splashing about was. Was there a huge water leak that the builders had left? Apparently not. It was the 16 foot illuminated waterfall in the basement courtyard which had been included in the luxury makeover.
While many of the original Victorian features have been retained, most of the house looks nothing like you’d expect it to. Part private house, part leisure centre, there’s a heated limestone floor in the basement, a glass stairwell, and a steam room.
Jonathan Hudson, says, “A property of this stature and unique bespoke design is rare on the market in such a prestigious location as Fitzrovia. With a competitive price-tag and so many distinguishing features, this property will make an ideal home for someone who values the best in contemporary design, original features, bespoke fittings, and most of all a tranquil oasis in the heart of London.”
The property has an internal area of 2097 sq feet (195 sq m) which makes the asking price similar to the record price obtained last year by Artesian for a penthouse property in nearby Crabtree Place.
Some people may mock the idea of a “tranquil oasis” which is next door to a public house, while others will repeat that oft said (and inaccurate) line of Fitzrovia being “swanky”, “upmarket”, “fashionable” and of course “vibrant”.
But there’s another side to living in Fitzrovia: the majority who rent their homes here and who are one by one being pushed out of the neighbourhood because they can’t afford to live here any longer.
While Fitzrovia is more well-known for its restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Pied a Terre, some boutique hotels, and an increasing number of art galleries, the true picture is very different. It is a very mixed area with small businesses struggling to survive, and with an increasing number of people sleeping on the street.
Fifty metres or so from Tottenham Street, at the rear of the American Church, there is a long established soup kitchen which just over a year ago was feeding about 30 people a day. Now the number of people queuing up to be fed has risen to over a hundred.
Whilst on the subject of skinny Fitzrovian residences, I noticed that there is four storey high scaffolding up around the extremely narrow (probably less than 2 metres wide) vacant two storey shop on the south side of Warren Street, east of Fitzroy Street. Watch this (tiny) space!
If this house is such an “oasis”, so elegant and trendy, why are the owners selling? Is it because it is next to a very busy, noisy pub? No, Is it because the view across is to the Soup Kitchen queues? No.
It is because for so many owners these days, boredom sets in, and another project, another property has to be “developed” to satisfy the narcissistic cravings, without regard for the devastating effect this rise in house prices is having on
I have lived happily in the same street as this house, for 50 years, but now another of the same kind of developer is pricing me out of the home where I raised my kids, and taught in the local University; forcing me to move away from family and friends; away from my community.
Some years ago, another lovely Georgian house in our street was restored to its former glory by artists, Nancy and Malcolm Fowler aka ‘Shirtsleeves’. where they too lived with their children.
When they sold this magnificent work of art, the new owner completely gutted it, reducing it to to a dull, dry modern shell which it remains to the present day, sold on again, and now in use as Guy Richie’s cutting studio, almost opposite the one for sale.
Where once stood family homes there are now properties that more resemble media centres, exhibition spaces and fashion accessories.
There will never be enough money for those who appear to have no social conscience and little regard for the effect their actions have on those around them.
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