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Ilminster: the town liked by Alice
Fashion designer Alice Temperley has paid £2.25 million through Savills for an eight-bedroom Grade II-listed Regency house near Ilminster, Somerset. Only a short distance from her father’s Kingsbury Episcopi cider farm, the house was used by Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower to plan the D-Day landings.
The former Met Bar cocktail waitress and her German husband/business partner Lars von Bennigsen also own an open-plan, laterally converted mews house near their Notting Hill design studio. After founding the business 10 years ago they now have 300 outlets in 37 countries, with clients such as Emma Watson, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Award-winning sculptor Marc Quinn has spent £3.27 million on a building plot in Formentor, Majorca. He and his wife, best-selling children’s author Lady Georgia Byng, will spend an estimated £2.45 million building a holiday home to share with their sons, Lucas and Sky, and Tiger, her daughter from a previous marriage. “It’s taken Marc three years to get planning permission,” says a neighbour. “The authorities have recently clamped down on all new developments.”
© Glenn Copus
The Belsize Park-based artist is best known for his sculpture Self, a bust of his head cast in his own frozen blood, and his 12ft marble portrait of disabled and heavily pregnant artist Alison Lapper, which temporarily occupied Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth. Recently, he extended his three-storey studio in a Clerkenwell industrial unit.
Firefly Properties is selling Grade I-listed Clare House in East Malling, Kent, which doubled as Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies in BBC1’s adaptation of William Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair, starring Natasha Little as the scheming Becky Sharp. The eight-bedroom Palladian property, for sale at £3.75 million, is popular with TV companies because of its distinctive oval drawing room, circular library and octagonal dining room, all grouped around a domed circular staircase hallway.
“Channel 4 once used it to represent the White House, but I can’t see the similarity myself,” laughs its owner, ex-City trader Mark Lewis, who restored it from “a very dilapidated state” in 1995.
Nigel Lythgoe, the telly tycoon who helped to launch Pop Idol and American Idol, can’t stop buying property. His latest acquisition is in Bel Air, which even blasé Piers Morgan, a guest at the star-studded house-warming, describes as “stunning” and “in the really fancy part of Los Angeles”.
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“Nasty Nigel”, as critics once dubbed him, grew up in the Wirral, the son of a Liverpool docker. He now owns three homes in America, including a 168-acre Paso Robles vineyard in California, plus a pad in Potters Bar and two more in Portugal and Australia.
As a judge and executive producer of the US blockbuster show So You Think You Can Dance, Lythgoe now rivals TV ratings rajah Simon Cowell.