Inside London’s most expensive home — a £58m house at controversial Chelsea Barracks


15,000 sq ft townhouse at the controversial Chelsea Barracks development has gone on sale for £58 million, making it the most expensive property in London currently listed on the open market.

Although the palatial six-storey home has its own restricted access website, rather than being marketed on any of the search portals, the most expensive home listed elsewhere online is a £54 million mansion in Mayfair dating back to 1732.

The new Chelsea Barracks townhouse, which is described as «21st century Georgian» in style, is one of 13 in the exclusive enclave of 64 apartments, penthouses, and a mews house, which was designed by the Duchess of Cambridge’s go-to architect Ben Pentreath.

The mews house sold in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic with a price tag of £18 million, while three of the 13 townhouses have sold so far.

The interiors are by Albion Nord

/ Chelsea Barracks

The location is the definition of prime real estate – on the southerly tip of Belgravia and the border of Kensington and Chelsea.

The seven-bedroom home has its own spa with a 12m swimming pool and in-house treatment rooms. There’s a cinema room, a private garden and roof terrace, a private garage, passenger and service lifts, a study and at the end of the garden a separate luxury mews house for guests, or lucky teenagers.

The interior design by Albion Nord is all herringbone flooring, marble fireplaces and soaring ceilings of 3.5 metres.

Number 2 Whistler Square is the only one of the 13 townhouses with an annex house in the garden and is therefore the most expensive of the collection.

The spa and swimming pool

/ Chelsea Barracks

The conversion of the former military base has courted controversy since its inception. Sold by the Ministry of Defence to Qatari Diar (the development arm of the Qatari royal family) and British property developers Candy & Candy in 2006 for £1 billion, the first iteration of the masterplan was met with fierce opposition from nearby residents.

Locals slammed the original design by modernist architect Lord Rogers, which included 320 apartments across pavilions and 10-storey buildings of glass and steel and the Price of Wales also intervened. The plans were considered out of keeping with the area which is dominated by elegant period buildings.

A revised 12.8-acre masterplan by architects Squire & Partners was based on the traditional London garden square with an eight-storey apartment block a nod to Belgravia’s white stucco-fronted Georgian piles.

The apartment complex was made from Portland Whitbed – a middle layer of Portland limestone quarried on the Jurassic coast. The cream-coloured rock is indented with tiny remnants of fossils and imprints of tiny marine creatures.

The roof terrace

/ Chelsea Barracks

This rock was not simply chosen for how it looks, according to lead architect Michael Squire, but because of its low levels of embodied carbon compared to other traditional construction materials.

This is one of the reasons why Chelsea Barracks was awarded the highly coveted eco-credential the LEED Platinum accreditation for neighbourhood design.

The development is also made up of 40 per cent publicly accessible green space, with a kitchen garden, a herb garden and a garden inspired by the artist Bridget Riley.

Squire is proud of the fact that anyone can just walk through the middle of the development rather than it being gated. His vision was that people could cut through the residential quarter from Chelsea Bridge Road to Pimlico Road.

Despite this, the scheme still raises eyebrows. «I can’t imagine that the masterplan for Chelsea Barracks would have been approved by the current Mayor of London if it was submitted today,» one estate agent told H&P.

However, a spokesperson for Chelsea Barracks confirmed that 126 affordable new homes will be built in a later phase along with a healthcare centre and retail outlets.

The developer has also funded the restoration of the Grade II-listed Garrison Chapel as a community centre. Last summer it was announced that the former military chapel would become exhibition space for the Prince’s Foundation, whose president is the Prince of Wales.

The space will be used to exhibit the work of the charity and its students and graduates with a particular focus on traditional arts and heritage craft skills in a gallery space. It will also run classes and workshops for locals.

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