Art connoisseur Charles Saatchi is planning his move into a discreet “little” mansion being built for him and Mrs Saatchi (aka Britain’s Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson) in a quiet street between Chelsea Embankment and the King’s Road.
A team of builders is working feverishly to meet a strict October deadline for the completion of what promises to be a magnificent new home. The double-fronted seven-bedroom villa, only 200 yards from Saatchi’s contemporary art gallery in King’s Road, was once owned by legendary mannequin designer Adel Rootstein.
“The transformation is a mammoth job,” reports an intrigued neighbour. “It was started three years ago by a developer who added three storeys to accommodate a new swimming pool, a private cinema and garages.
“Charles bought it off him recently at a bargain price. He was attracted by all the spacious rooms, which he can use to display his art and sculptures.”
Naturally, Mrs S has had a major influence, insisting on a brilliantly equipped kitchen that can double as a TV studio. She has also ensured that, despite its “impersonal” architecture, the house will become a real family home suitable for Cosima and Bruno, her two children from her first marriage to the late writer John Diamond.
With Waitrose, royal deli Partridges and the Duke of York Square farmers’ market all within easy walking distance, Nigella will never be short of something for a midnight snack.
Her Baghdad-born reclusive husband, an award-winning ad man, has always liked Chelsea. He and his second wife, American art dealer Kay Hartenstein, moved from Charles Street, Mayfair, to a fine Georgian house in St Leonard’s Terrace in 1991. But, following their 2001 divorce, he and Nigella bought an £8 million Belgravia lateral conversion in Eaton Square.