Controversial Kensington home with half its 11,000sq ft living space underground listed for £44 million
A modern Kensington home which stunned neighbours when it got planning approval is for sale for £44 million for the first time since it was built.
Kensington and Chelsea council gave the go-ahead for the seven-bedroom Pitt Street house in 2007, despite objections that the design was not in keeping with the period homes more commonly spotted in the conservation area.
Residents said the cavernous property, which has about half the living space below street level, would “have more in common with an office building than a typical dwelling in the area”.
But then-planning chief, Michael French, said there was “no impact upon the character or appearance of the area that would justify a refusal” of the design proposed for the site of a Fifties house.
The two-storey dwelling was demolished to make way for the build, which was masterminded by luxury developer Mike Spink.
His name is synonymous with some of the starriest London projects of recent years, including a £57 million Knightsbridge mansion and an £85 million St James’ home overlooking the Mall.
The resulting 11,000 sq ft property, now for sale with Beauchamp Estates, has a lower ground floor arranged around a courtyard.
This includes a 58-foot kitchen and reception room, swimming pool, home gym and sauna, as well as self-contained staff quarters.
There is a home cinema in the basement and parking for four cars, while a lift connects all five floors of the house, including the main bedroom suite with its wraparound dressing room on the top storey.
It’s a unique proposition in this corner of Kensington, where stucco-fronted villas go for around £5 million.
“The house certainly isn’t for everybody. It sticks out like a sore thumb on Pitt Street,” says Marcus O’Brien at Beauchamp Estates Mayfair.
“The current owner helped design the home for this unusually wide south-facing plot. He’s a keen art collector, so wall space was paramount. It’s been his family’s full-time residence ever since.
“Planning guidance has become more stringent at Kensington and Chelsea council and across London, so I don’t think you’d get consent for this house today. It really is unique.”
Indeed, the following year, permission to replace the Fifties garage next door with a four-storey home was refused, with the council citing the desire to keep a garage at ground level “incongruous within the street scene”.
A sale anywhere approaching the asking price would see the home sit comfortably among London’s most expensive house sales of last year.