The Times: Cheyne Court
- By Adam Foster
- 30 October 2015
Cheyne Walk can probably boast more famous past residents than any other London street. In alphabetical order they include: Hilaire Belloc, George Eliot, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and JMW Turner. The artists on this list are a reminder that this part of Chelsea used to be a bohemian district. Today it is more of a super-rich enclave, which means that the homes in the neighbourhood are more conventional. In the 1860s, Rossetti shared his house with wombats, kangaroos, a bull and other pets.
By 1899, when Cheyne Court was built on Flood Street, a road that runs north from Cheyne Walk, the area was turning upmarket. Mansion blocks such as Cheyne Court were aimed at the upwardly-mobile middle classes who were happy to swap houses for high-rise living because the flats in the building were as roomy as semi-detached residences and more convenient.
The top-floor Cheyne Court flat that’s for sale is a spacious 3,059 sq ft, more than twice as large as many family houses in Chelsea, but the home’s dimensions are partly the result of a makeover. The owners gained permission to extend into the roof to add another storey; on this floor you will find a master suite and a decked roof terrace. Downstairs, there are another four bedrooms, but the pièce de résistance of the redesign is a double-height vaulted sitting room that leads into the kitchen and dining room.
However, if this layout sounds to you like yet another loft-style industrial-chic apartment, then you would be wrong as the flat may be light-filled and uncluttered, but it is still cosy. A wood-burning stove is set into the pillar that divides the sitting room and the dining room. The logs are stacked in an extraordinary piece of black, metal shelving that turns the storage of kindling into an artwork. “It doesn’t feel like a developer flat, it’s more personal,” says Bertie Russell, of Russell Simpson, the estate agency handling the sale jointly with Domus Nova. He says that the owners may have carried out the conversion to create a family home, but have decided to sell because they have another flat in the block. The price is £8.5 million, much less than you would expect to pay for a house with a similar square footage.