An early start, and an appointment in Chelsea with a delightful couple who took me to lunch last week to thank me for all my efforts in trying to find them a base in town. So far they have been gazumped twice but they are determined to keep searching. As we were looking around the house, my client seemed distracted — she appeared more interested in checking out all the family snapshots on display. We finally made it to the kitchen, where the vendor was trying to keep a low profile, only for the two of them to shriek with surprise as they realised they knew each other. My applicant had been checking out the pictures because she thought she recognised an old schoolfriend — and she was right.
Dug out my French-English dictionary for a quick refresher for an open house event held with our joint agent from across the Channel on a fantastic house we have available on Rawlings Street. It has been meticulously refurbished, including climate control in all the bedrooms, Ralph Lauren wallpaper throughout and a stunning family kitchen/dining room. We had a large turnout — probably a reflection of the fact that a good-quality property is highly sought-after, as very little is coming on to the market at the moment. Everyone enjoyed champagne and French pastries while they had a good look around. While all this commotion was happening downstairs, our retired ambassador client continued as normal upstairs in his study, listening to music and contemplating his next book.
I introduced Pepper, my new miniature schnauzer, to office life. What is it about small dogs and babies that causes intelligent adults to go soft? Pepper commanded the attention of the entire office and was thoroughly spoilt, while I didn’t even get “hello” or a cup of coffee. Maybe he should come along next time I take applicants to view a less-than-attractive property. He might distract them so much that they don’t notice the lack of a view! Mind you, I don’t fancy carrying my poop-scoop everywhere.
A great day for the office — we exchanged on one of our biggest sales since the office relocated to its new flagship home on Sloane Avenue earlier in the year. Built in the 1850s, the property in question has been the home of many remarkable residents including the Countess of Narbonne, directly linked to the Comte de Narbonne, illegitimate son of Louis XV, and Henry Edward Fitz-Clarence, grandson of King William IV. Everyone was understandably in a great mood. When the property had first gone on the market, we had received a string of low offers from investors and opportunists looking for a deal, no doubt to develop it into a block of flats. The exchange was all the more positive when I learned that the purchasers of this historic garden square house were a family of four relocating from Europe to be near their children’s new school. It is always comforting to see family homes continuing to be used as such. More and more seem to be disappearing nowadays.
My son has broken his arm pretending to be Spiderman, leaping from a garden swing on to a trampoline at home — and missing! The hospital trip last night was a bit exhausting before today’s early start but at least it’s the end of the week. This afternoon, as I discussed an offer on a flat from an ex-Olympian swimmer, I found myself wondering whether my son’s injury will affect my hope that he will win Olympic gold sometime in the future. Oh well, if he doesn’t make the Games, maybe he can become an estate agent…
Giles Cook is an associate director at Chesterton Humberts in Chelsea (020 7589 5211)