Living in Chelsea has always been desirable, with the best in location and amenities.
Charlotte Pasha talks fine properties and the King’s Road to the team at Knight Frank
One need only wander around Bywater Street or Cadogan Gardens to see that Chelsea is a charming place to live.
Near to the shops of the King’s Road, the culture of Sloane Square and the restaurants on Pavilion Road, we are fortunate to have a local community feel in the heart of London.
James Pace is a partner at Knight Frank and its office head in Chelsea.
“I love working in Chelsea. I have always loved the area since spending my teenage years stomping up and down the King’s Road.
“I think it’s the diversity of places to go out to, the types of retail outlet, the historic mix of architecture, the culture and the different people that you get here, all in a small space on the banks of the Thames.”
Harry Dawes, office head at Knight Frank in Knightsbridge, agrees. “This area has a very soft place in my heart; I’ve trudged the streets over and over. I do everything on foot as much as possible.
“I love Chelsea’s architectural heritage and its garden squares, namely Lennox Gardens and Cadogan Square – they’re little oases of tranquillity in the hustle and bustle.”
Of course, one can’t discuss life in Chelsea without mentioning the King’s Road.
“I love the character of the King’s Road, it’s an enormous allure.
“There is still a bohemian feel to some of it, and with the redevelopment of Duke of York Square, you have world-class shopping, but also the artisanal feel of a market square. Cadogan have done incredibly well to create that enriched environment.”
At the heart of the property industry are the individuals working in it, he says.
“The real allure is I get to meet so many interesting people. Not just our clients and customers – the people involved in property tend to be quite extroverted. There’s a lot of characters in the industry,” Harry adds.
Chelsea’s residential options are excellent.
“I’ve worked on some amazing homes in the area. Houses on St Leonard’s Terrace will always stand out for me, overlooking the Royal Hospital and Burton Court.
“You can go there in the summer and you’re 150 metres from the King’s Road, watching a game of cricket. The houses are beautifully proportioned – it’s probably my favourite street. The classic living of a large family house with a traditional ﬁrst-ﬂoor drawing room, great family room and kitchen is very much available here,” Harry says.
James tells me about a house he sold in the Boltons Conservation Area.
“The house was previously owned by a Middle-Eastern family who had a ‘Bond-like’ gadget that allowed the front wall to sink into the pavement to allow cars to park in front of the house.
“They once had Margaret Thatcher step in to secure planning consent for the works that had been done to it in the Eighties.”
He goes on: “Lionel Bart’s old house in Seymour Walk was THE party house of the 1960s and 70s. It had an incredible drawing room and master bedroom overlooking the very private garden with a swimming pool.
“You could just picture the likes of the Rolling Stones swinging from the chandelier to the minstrel’s gallery in the drawing room. I actually managed to sell it to the new owner on a day when there was a power cut, which says everything about the quality of the place!”
Everyone plays favourites, and for James, it’s Uncle Monty’s house from Withnail and I.
“It’s one of my favourite ﬁlms of all time. The owner hadn’t changed anything from the ﬁlm. It had the best reception room I’ve ever seen, with amazing views of one of London’s biggest gardens, and the owner had also spent years collecting antique marble and mahogany from the gentlemen’s clubs in St James’s.”
As for what’s new, The Glebe will be coming to the market soon.
“There are only going to be nine units within the development in total – seven apartments and two villas – the likes of which have rarely been seen in London. The scale and volume and quality of ﬁnish is breath-taking – more collectable works of art in one of the most secure developments than simply homes,” James ﬁnishes.
So who is living in these homes?
“Chelsea has a very European demographic. It’s an established area and international buyers will always explore it as a destination,” Harry says. “There are great school options, and there’s a real family vibe.”
Knight Frank is a headline sponsor of the inaugural Chelsea Awards.
‘We’re an international ﬁrm with a strong local presence and supporting local business as a community is really important to us,” Harry says.
“There is genuine value to be found in Chelsea.”
Buyers are clearly recognising this – the number of viewings and new applicants in Knightsbridge in January of this year had each risen by eight per cent from the same time last year, according to Knight Frank research.
With the King’s Road’s signiﬁcant redevelopment plans adding further appeal, the property market in Chelsea is certainly desirable. Watch this space.