This 14,000 sq ft mansion is fit for Hollywood but dwells in Hockley (Essex)

24 Apr

The twin staircase, CCTV and infinity pool at this luxury mansion are fitting of a Hollywood actor. But it is a little closer to home.

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The Essex property has been put on the market for £4m.

24.04.14 Essex 8The owner – a property developer – is understood to have demolished the old house to make way for the new five bedroom property.

He is believed to have bought the plot in 2006 for £900,000.

The 14,000 sq ft home is in a leafty surburban road in Hockley and boosts 1.4 acres, a cinema room, wine cellar, pool and gym.

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John Seward, estate agent at Strutt & Parker in Chelmsford, which is marketing the house, said there had been a lot of interest and there were second viewings lined up.

He said: “The owner builds bespoke properties, mainly for people in London, and this is what he did here, for himself. Some of the rooms have never been lived in – it’s that new.”

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Is this Sandbanks property for sale the ultimate bling pad?

24 Apr

Views of Poole Harbour, a sweeping driveway, a leisure suite, a fully fitted media room and a 1,000 sq ft master suite. Is this the ultimate bling pad?

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Sandbanks on the south coast of England is well known for having some of the highest land values in the world.

Dubbed ‘Britain’s Palm Beach’, land alone can reach the equivalent of £10,000 per square metre.

And many existing properties are sold purely on the basis they’ll be immediately knocked down and replaced with a modern take on a Gatsbyesque party house.

Owners of properties in the area include football manager Harry Redknapp and Body Shop investor Ian McGinn.

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One of the latest Sandbanks party pads to go on the market is a five bedroom property for £6.7m.

It offers a contemporary venue for those looking to offer the best in entertainment to their friends and family.

An open plan kitchen and family room look through to the water’s edge, where’s there is an expansive deck, ideal for outdoor entertaining.

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And then, there’s the entire top floor dedicated to a master suite, including a bedroom, separate dressing room, luxurious en-suite and a spacious living room.

It leads to a private terrace running the entire width of the top floor, with floor to ceiling glazing panels offering views across Poole Harbour.

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But it is on the lower ground floor where the entertainment can really be found, with a swimming pool, sauna and a fully fitted media room.

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The sweeping driveway, landscaped gardens and waterfront seating area help to make the most of the property.

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‘Upside down’ houses with stunning views over Beer, waves & fields

23 Apr

They are called ‘upside down’ houses because the living arrangements are the opposite way around to a traditional set up. Bedrooms are found downstairs, while sitting rooms and kitchens are upstairs. It means far-reaching views of the sea or countryside can be enjoyed from the comfort of an arm chair.


What more can you ask for than a property that overlooks plenty of Beer – the deliciously named picturesque village in Devon that is.

This three bedroom detached home on the World Heritage Jurrasic Coast has been built ‘upside down’ to make the most of the views on offer.

There are sliding doors in the living room onto the balcony and there is the potential to extend to the side or to the rear of the property.

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This Brighton property is bound to generate ripples of excitement as it has a first floor living area leading to a heated swimming pool with a wave machine.

The first floor also includes a sitting room with triple aspect, a contemporary kitchen and underfloor heating.

There are five bedrooms on the ground floor, along with a designer family bathroom.

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The views from this oast house in East Sussex are certainly ones to boast about.

The living room has a door leading onto a balcony offering breathtaking views of the fields surrounding the property.

The only interruptions are a long driveway and one neighbour.


If a house is set in 1.5 acres, a vaulted lounge with floor to ceiling glass doors and windows makes sure you can capitalize on the stunning views.

This four bedroom detached home in Rickford offers exactly that. The design of the property means it takes full advantage of being set in a stunning semi-rural – but not isolated – location.

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This three bedroom detached house has breathtaking sea views ranging from Christchurch Priory through to Hengistbury Head, across to the Purbecks and beyond.

But there is potential to make even more of this property as double glazed doors give access onto the garage roof and the current owner has planning permission for an extension.

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Vendor spotlight: Stunning Suffolk farmhouse with holiday lets

22 Apr

Would a stunning farmhouse in Suffolk complete with three holiday lets and a studio suit you? Friends and free range children camping in the paddock are among the best memories of life here for Sam Denny-Hodson and Paul Vogel, writes Harriet Meyer.

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Names: Sam Denny-Hodson and Paul Vogel

Occupation: Owner of a cashmere company and textile designer

Property description: Packway Farm is a stunning Grade II listed farmhouse with fantastic views in the town of Halesworth in the northeastern corner of Suffolk.
It comes with three separate holiday lets and a studio, alongside an orchard, greenhouse, decking and terrace.

Asking price: £995,000

Estate agent handling the sale: Jonathan Penn and Tim Dansie, Jackson-Stops & Staff, 15 Tower Street, Ipswich, IP1 3BE.

Area stats: Average asking price of £231,795, with values up by £13,509 on last year. Average value of detached house £303,814.

Thinking of selling your home?


Why are you moving? To be closer to the children’s schools. Felix is 13, Rufus is 10 and Milo is nine, and all three are at school in Woodbridge, which is where our new home will be.

Have you found somewhere to move to? We have bought a plot with a bungalow. The plan is to demolish this and build our own ‘Palm Springs’ style home, with lots of glass and wood. The new property should be ready by next summer, and in the meantime we shall live in our beach house in Southwold.

What do you like most about the property? We love the secluded location. It’s been a fantastic place in which to bring up our boys.


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What is your happiest memory in the property and when did it happen? We had a huge party for Paul’s birthday a couple of years ago with many friends camping in the paddock, lots of food, free range children and music.

When did you buy the property and how much was it worth?
We bought the farm for £550,000 11 years ago. We have spent around £340,000 to £400,000 on improving and extending the main house and turning three barns into gorgeous holiday cottages.

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Do you know your neighbours?
Yes. We have lovely neighbours on either side. While we can’t see them – we sit in the middle of our own four acres – we know they’re there.

Packway 2What do you like about the local schools? Moving from London we appreciate the slightly more relaxed, nurturing environment in local schools.

What is the traffic and transport like in the area? Traffic noise isn’t ever a problem as there’s so little. Trains into London are frequent and the service is good.

What’s your favourite place for dinner in your area? Satis House…just amazing.

How would you spend the perfect day off in your area? We love great food. It would start with a dog walk along the coast to Orford with breakfast at the Pump St Bakery, shopping at Collen & Clare in Aldeburgh, lunch at The Bell in Saxmundham, cinema in Aldeburgh and dinner at Satis House…staying there if babysitting could be arranged.

What local secret is there in the area that would take a new resident a while to discover?
That there’s a very sophisticated undercurrent to Suffolk. The art and literary scene here is as – if not more – buoyant than London.

If you could change one thing about the house what would it be? I’d move it half an hour down the A12 towards our children’s school so we could keep it.

What items are included in the sale of the property (eg. white goods in the kitchen)?
All white goods and all items in the cottages and some in the house are available to buy.

Who would be your ideal buyer?
Just anyone who will love the house as much as we have.

What do you most fear about the house selling process?
As we are building our new home rather than buying a ‘fully-formed’ house, I suppose the fear is that funds aren’t available for this from the sale process.

Agent’s advice on tackling these fears?
Tim Dansie, director of Jackson-Stops & Staff remortgaging, says: “Our job is to ensure that the deal happens quickly and as smoothly as possible. We also aim to find the right buyers with available funds, so that the sale process moves through to completion quickly.”

Coco Chanel’s former French villa is on the market

17 Apr

The former home of fashion designer Coco Chanel is suitably dressed, but perhaps not in the way you would expect.

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As it is not so much the interior of the property – although this is impressive – but the what lies beyond the walls of the Mediterranean villa and in its past that is likely to stop you in your tracks.

The seven bedroom and six bathroom property boosts panoramic views of the French Riveria, with miles of stunning coastline on offer.

It also has a colourful history, with Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and – more recently – Sir Winston Churchill all having stayed as guests.

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Its romantic setting in the hills of Roquebrune Cap Martin is emphasized by ancient olive groves, which are believed to have been planted for the former princes of Monaco.

The main villa has four large reception rooms and is set in 6.42 acres. There is also extensive secondary accommodation.

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Bag a property bargain with these multi-million pound pads requiring updating

16 Apr

If you have a multi-million pound budget to buy a home, you may be led to believe that you can afford to select the property of your desires. But recent house price rises – particularly in London – means such a budget will not stretch as far as it once did. One option to make your money stretch further is to consider properties that require updating.

Here are some £1m plus properties that need modernizing:

1. End of terrace house, with five bedrooms, in London’s Upper Cheyne Row for £6,650,000.

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2. Five bedroom detached house in London’s Willesden Lane for £2,750,000

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3. Three bedroom detached house in Wimbledon Village for £1.975,000

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4. Six bedroom property in arguably one of the best roads in St John’s Wood, London, for £5,950,000.

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5. Five bedroom terrace house in London’s Brook Green for£2,850,000

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A shiny new-build home overseas or older characterful? The choice is yours…

15 Apr

Choosing between a shiny new-build or older characterful overseas property can be baffling. Cheryl Markosky seeks advice from the experts.

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Some people are diehard fans of brand spanking new homes where you can march in and not worry about doing a thing. Others wouldn’t want to be caught dead in a new home, preferring period property with personality.

But is a period home a black hole for cash, with the maintenance you have to lavish on it simply to keep it upright? And what of bland new homes that are cookie-cutter boxes modelled on a computer plan provided by a developer?

Although he can see the merits of old and new, Roddy Aris, of Winkworth International, is generally on the side of older re-sales.

He points out that Britons have an idea of quality that’s not necessarily replicated by an overseas developer. “To make the house builder realise your dream is unrealistic. At best, you’ll only get about 80 per cent of what you desire.”

Whereas with a re-sale, if you don’t like it you can quickly knock a few walls down, paint and install a pool to create your vision, Aris says.

Also, Aris believes that it’s harder to find high-end new homes in prime locations in the Balearics or on the Riviera. “Good spots have already been built on, so most new developments end up in B areas. If you want an A-list spot, you’re more likely to find older homes.”

As long as you’re buying from a reputable builder you can take comfort in a new home purchase, suggests Michael Cunnington from MJC Associates in Mallorca.

“I tell people buying from a trusted developer, such as the Bendinat Group, means they won’t need a lawyer to check anything. But I wouldn’t say this with a private seller or some other house builders,” he explains.

A big plus in buying new is the 10-year guarantee against structural defects that comes with the property, similar to NHBC’s home construction warranty in the UK. “If your property’s second-hand and the 10-year guarantee hasn’t run out you’ll still be covered,” notes Cunnington.

Equally, he argues that if you bought off-plan at the beginning of construction, generally your asset will have increased in value by the time it’s completed. As there’s a shortage of sites where house builders can build now in Mallorca, a new-build property is bound to climb in value.

When purchasing a re-sale home, Cunnington advises employing a good lawyer who will carry out due diligence to ensure the property was built where it was meant to be and there have been no illegal add-ons.

“It’s not usual practice to have surveys carried out here. I can recommend builders who can take a look at a property, but of course this is no guarantee,” he says.Cunnington reassures purchasers by noting that old Spanish fincas have been on the island for more than 200 years and are still standing.

However, he cautions buyers searching for homes in blocks that are about 25 years old to find out the age of the plumbing and when it was last renewed. “The plumbing in your apartment might look okay, but sometimes pipes running through the building to it aren’t in great shape.”

Ray Withers, chief executive of Property Frontiers, comments on new build projects, such as Bacolet Bay on Grenada in the Caribbean. “Generally, buying new-build provides more security, providing it’s been built well and to international standards. This is not the case with older properties, but a survey can offer some certainty.”

He cautions buyers that many properties outside of Europe weren’t built to last. In the Caribbean, building technology is improving all the time.“Brand-new buildings will have the highest hurricane rating. The Caribbean climate and salt air can age materials quickly and new buildings use technology to cope with this.”

In Italy, old and new hold appeal for different buyers in equal measure. Paul Belcher, MD of Ultissimo, says it’s down to individual taste – there’s no right or wrong.

“Turn-key convenience, the attraction of shared facilities and maintenance costs are all drivers for new homes. Downsides are higher purchase taxes, including a 10 per cent IVA payment (Italian VAT) and no kitchen – it’s regarded as moveable furniture rather than part of the fittings,” he comments.

Meanwhile, those wanting the charm and authenticity of an older property might have to carry out significant work to bring it back to life. But this is where greater value’s to be found, Belcher argues.

Something old, something new – properties for sale:

The best of both worlds – a villa in Puerto Andratx, Mallorca, for £4,900,750. Built in 1986, it has been renovated with modern under-floor heating, air-conditioning and a modern pool and gym installed.

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Dating back to the 1890’s, this restored Liberty Villa is in Barga, Tuscany, Italy, is on the market for £1,894,407. It has original vaulted ceilings, a formal dining room and grand main staircase.

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Three-bedroom, three-bathroom updated 1968 house in Vero Beach, Florida, USA. It is on the market for £432,913 and boosts views of pool, dock and water.

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