FANCY a change of scene? That’s no problem at this £4.95million mews property — the view can be changed with the touch of a button. The lower-ground basement, which comes with a Dolby 7.2 surround sound cinema with custom-made Natuzzi couch and styling straight from a 1930s Hollywood director’s office, doesn’t have windows — but you wouldn’t think so once you walk in.
Two 60-inch virtual window TVs — yes, such things do exist — have been installed behind window frames and real blinds, which means your outlook be can changed in an instant. Want to be in the Bahamas while you watch Cocktail? No problem. Rolling hills with Countryfile? You get the idea…
From the outside, this three-bedroom house on Stanhope Mews East, near Gloucester Road, has the look of many mid-century mews houses. Elegant yet subtle, with unobtrusive plain windows and cream-painted façade, the only clue to the bling housed within is the terracotta tiles topped by exotic plants that shield an extravagant roof terrace, complete with stainless steel gas barbecue and rotisserie, wine fridge and a 50-inch TV that can be watched from the 50-jet hot tub.
It is thought that a bomb fell on Stanhope Gardens, just west of the mews, during the Blitz, and many of the properties, which date back to the mid-19th century, were damaged and had to be rebuilt. Fast forward nearly 80 years and the mews has been refurbished again, this time by the son of a yacht interior designer, borrowing much of the meticulous attention to detail necessary on boats.
The property, which is in part of Kensington’s Queen’s Gate Conservation Area, belies its low-key exterior. James Robinson, general manager at agents Lurot Brand, says this is the most luxurious mews home he has ever laid eyes on.
‘I’ve never seen a mews with higher spec, it’s astonishing,’ he tells us. ‘This is the first project for the guy who developed it and he has put his heart into it. It’s a niche, boys’ toys house and very expensive. Where would you find another like this?’
The plain white front door, complete with video door intercom with four screens and electric door lock, opens directly into an open-plan kitchen and seating area. Here, high-end finishes and seamless panel gaps give a nautical feel. There are Miele and Gaggenau appliances throughout, including two drinks cooler fridges, a steam oven and a warming drawer.
But what about passers-by peering in at all this luxury? No worries, just switch on electronic tinting privacy windows. The gadgetry continues beyond the kitchen, too, with ten iPad Minis in Launchport wall docks that control everything from lighting and CCTV to the music that is piped out of ceiling speakers in every room.
But it’s not just the high-tech stuff that this house does well. There’s bespoke joinery throughout; cedar wood lines the wardrobes (you’ll never need to buy another mothball to protect your haute couture silk), while highly lacquered cherry wood appears in the kitchen, cinema and dressing room.
James says top-end mews houses continue to appeal to young affluent buyers — he just sold one to Ellie Goulding — just as they did to film and rock stars in the 1960s and 1970s.
‘This house will not appeal to everybody,’ he says, candidly. ‘There are only a few owners who want something really different. It makes One Hyde Park look a little pedestrian in specification,’ he adds, referring to the Knightsbridge development famed for its luxe appeal (and its multi-million pound price tags).
Mews houses were once home to cockfighting and drunken revelry, stables and horses, and the people who worked with them, out of sight of the well-to-do. Because many of them aren’t listed, they remain perfect for those wanting to create a mega-mansion in a small footprint. ‘The thing about mews houses is that you never know what is behind the front door,’ says James.
‘The front needs to stay the same but you can do what you like inside, that’s why people find them such fun. They think small poky stables but you can double the size and make best use of space; they can be exceptional.’
This property, says James, was perfect for this transformation. ‘Some houses are too narrow for basements. We advise a lot of people on mews and they don’t listen to us but this house really has been considered. It flows beautifully and it is really light.’
On the first floor is the master bedroom, while upstairs are two further bedrooms, all with a modern luxe-meets-art deco styling.
James says anyone with the cash could be looking at a good investment, predicting that prices on high-end properties, which have taken a hit lately, could rebound.
‘Property always needs to be a long-term investment as it doubles every ten years on average. With such a weak pound, a foreign investor or expat returning to London should be pleasantly surprised at just how much their currency buys in prime central London.’
The rest of us will just have to wait for that big cheque to come in…
What you get for your money
■ Three-bed mews house in desirable Stanhope Mews East in SW7
■ Cinema basement with programmable TV windows nRoof terrace with an open fire-lit seating area, BBQ and hot tub
■ Ceiling speakers in every room, with individual wall-mounted volume controls
■ Electric underfloor heating independently controlled in each room.
■ Bang & Olufsen telephone system
■ Outdoor cinema located on roof terrace with 50-inch, wall-mounted TV and Bose outdoor speakers
■ Well located for the shops, restaurants, boutiques and bars of South Kensington and Gloucester Road
■ Also features a reception room, utility room and study
■ Bespoke joinery throughout
To find out more, visit lurotbrand.co.uk