It is not unusual for vendors to offer extra items to buy on top of a property’s sale price including white goods, curtains and even carpets.
But William Heller, who has just sold his large five-bedroom detached house near Bideford in Devon for £875,000 had been offering the most surprising additional item we’ve heard of for a while – a steam railway.
For an extra £150,000 the buyer of his home Amberwynd was able to acquire a working miniature railway in the huge grounds to the rear of the property. The line is no child’s plaything and although the gauge of the rails is narrow, locomotives of up to 3.5 tonnes operate on the line pulling carriages transporting up to 80 people.
The line starts at a station to the side of the property before winding through trees in its landscaped back garden, past the signal box and out through a small wood and into a large field, which it travels around in two large ‘S’ shapes before the line ends.
Mr Heller, whose day job is being a TV cameraman, is a life-long train enthusiast who has taken his love of railways from attic model sets slowly through to his current line. On running days his trains run to strict schedules and he is joined by a station master and signalman while Mr Heller drives the trains.
The number of people who can afford it will be very small, but nevertheless one of London’s most venerable landmarks is to be converted into a home and sold for £200m making it Britain’s most expensive home.
The property, which was built in 1750 for the Second Earl of Egremont, was until 1999 the ‘In and Out’ club on one of London’s most famous thoroughfares, Piccadilly, overlooking St James’s Park and Buckingham Palace.
The club, which takes its unofficial name from the prominent entry and exit signs on the property’s street-facing boundary walls, was originally named the Naval and Military. In 1999 it moved to new premises at No.4 St James’s Square after failing to negotiate terms for a new lease at its now former address.
No. 94 Piccadilly was originally known as Cambridge House, a name that its current owners, publicity-shy billionaire property developer siblings David and Simon Reuben may wish to resurrect.
They bought the Grade I listed property and its neighbour, the American Club, for £130m in 2011 after they had stood unused for a decade while the previous owner tried unsuccessfully to get planning permission and funding to convert them into a hotel.
Instead, this week it was revealed that the Reuben brothers are to convert No.94 into a 48-bedroom mansion with a 35,000 bottle wine cellar, underground swimming pool and gym.
Until that work is completed and a £200 million price tag achieved Britain’s most expensive property is Park Place, a Berkshire mansion that Russian billionaire Andrey Borodin paid £140 million for in 2011 followed by an apartment at One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge sold – also in 2011- for £136 million.
See Zoopla’s list of London’s most expensive streets.
Moving into a new home before you’ve sold your old one is a luxury only the extremely wealthy can afford, and that includes fashion designer Stella McCartney.
The 41-year-old, who designed the Olympic kit for Team GB, has put her former home (see pictures below) in a fashionable back street of Notting Hill on the market for £2.5 million leaving its large, open plan rooms stripped of everything and, for a clothes designer, looking very bare.
One design feature that has surprised many is the second floor master bedroom, which is open plan across the whole footprint of the property and includes the bathroom – so Stella’s Victorian bath now stand a lonely vigil at one end of the room.
But as well as an unusual layout, the property offers membership of a fashionable club – the Notting Hill set.
Just around corner is is The Cow, an oysters and champagne pub run by Terence Conran’s culinary son Tom plus famous local residents include comedian Ruby Wax, model Elle McPherson, actress Sienna Miller and musician Damon Albarn. The Travel Bookshop, where Hugh Grant works in the 1999 film Notting Hill, is a ten minute walk from the property’s doorstep.
But such starry connections haven’t helped Stella sell. The property has been on the market since June and although there are rumours she’s just received an offer, it remains for sale.
Stella, who has moved permanently to her Georgian mansion in Worcestershire with husband Alasdhair and their four children, bought the property in 1997 for £695,000 so if she gets her asking price will trouser a £1.8 million profit on the sale.