The Telegraph: Glebe Place – The Chelsea Art House
- By Adam Foster
- 08 September 2015
The virtues of a thoughtfully hung painting or carefully placed sculpture, however, are often overlooked; after all, people are not buying the art, they are buying the house.
But, there are times when a property and the art works inside it become inseparable. The pieces do not just decorate the house, they are the house and, in some cases, can double its value.
That is certainly the case at Glebe House in Chelsea, a grand Georgian property on Glebe Place, which has been transformed into a Tate Modern-style residence, doubling as a private art gallery and a luxurious family home
The owner – a Georgian princess – has been collecting art for 20 years with her husband and filled the five-bedroom property with her collection when they bought it three years ago.
“We were given art work by all our wedding guests and carried on collecting from then. The house was created to house the portfolio [which comprises 143 pieces, including a moss wall behind the bath.]”
The property is now on the market for £14 million which, when you consider that there is a similarily sized house on the same street on the market for £5.85 million, shows just how much value there is in the artwork that both adorns and defines the home.
The property is now on the market for £14 million which, when you consider that there is a similarly sized house on the market for £5.85 million, shows just how much value there is in the artwork that both adorns and defines the home.
While the façade has been retained, the inside has been gutted and converted into a contemporary showroom, with double-height ceilings and light, voluminous interiors. The remodelling of the home, by Stephen Fletcher Architects, has been a two-year labour of love.
There is a staircase crafted in concrete with glass balustrades, and the family bedrooms all have timber flooring inspired by the Saatchi Gallery.
It almost comes as a disappointment not to find a Damien Hirst cow in the kitchen. What there is instead – in abundance – is artwork by the renowned Georgian artist and sculptor Tamara Kvesitadze, who was commissioned to design and install 13 new artworks for the major living spaces of the house.
Kvesitadze is best known for her mechanical kinetic sculptures. Her most famous work is Man and Woman, a nine-metre high moving sculpture on the Black Sea coast. It is almost as well known in Georgia as the Angel of the North is in this country.
Johnston says that the house is a holistic exercise: art and living blending seamlessly into each other. You cannot simply uproot the fish-tank wall separating the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom. It is integral to the whole design of the property, and gives it the artistic panache.
The Chelsea location is fitting. There have been artists slapping paint on canvasses in Glebe Place since Victorian times. Augustus John had a studio here, so did Winifred Nicholson. But the Chelsea they knew was more Bohemian than super-luxurious; the romance of the impoverished artist living in a draughty garret still lingered. Glebe House, and all it represents, is very much 21st century, driven as much by consumers of art as by the artists themselves.