Smile, you'll always have your London manor, Lily
Disappointment for award-winning singer Lily Allen, who had set her heart on buying a 16th-century Cotswolds manor house with exquisite topiary and a rose garden for a snip below £3 million.
Alas, the purchase has fallen through. “One thing that sold that house to me was the kitchen garden. It didn’t just have vegetables and herbs but a fruit section,” says the Hammersmith-born Smile singer who is expecting a baby with her builder boyfriend, Sam Cooper, in February.
But the downcast couple plan to continue the search for their perfect rural retreat around Cirencester and Stroud, close to the home of Lily’s father, actor Keith Allen. Her Queen’s Park house is currently rented out.
Former Coronation Street sexpot Suranne Jones is finally forsaking her Manchester roots and has begun flat hunting in London. This follows her recent success with serious drama roles in ITV’s Unforgiven and BBC1’s Five Days and the need to be nearer her work.
© Krestine Havemann
Last time the curvy, Oldham engineer’s daughter moved south she soon felt homesick and scuttled back to her tiny Victorian cottage near her parents. One essential feature of her new pad must be some outside space for her beloved Jack Russell, Baxter.
“I’m really interested in gardens and hope to grow old in a big house with a large garden,” she says. This autumn she co-stars opposite former Doctor Who heart-throb David Tennant in BBC1’s comedy-drama series Single Father.
No chance of Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe moving on to terra firma.
© Graham Jepson
He owns three houseboats on Chelsea Embankment: “One for me, one for my housekeeper and the third for my daughter Charlotte,” he says. “And I’m having a fourth one built.”
The Essex brigadier’s son and former Dragons’ Den star adds that his 2,000sq ft vessel would be worth £8 million, instead of only £1 million, if it were on the other side of the road on Cheyne Walk where Mick Jagger, Bryan Adams and Crown Prince Paul of Greece live. “Ah, but I have the better view,” he laughs.
Chelsea gallerist Michael Hoppen, older brother of interior decorator Kelly Hoppen, is selling his six-bedroom house in Wandsworth for £3.25 million through James Taylor.
“We’ve lived there for 24 years but now that our four children have either left home or are on a gap year we’ve decided to downsize,” he tells me. “We spent a year restoring all the original Victorian features, from fireplaces to cornices. It’s a fantastic area with great schools, restaurants and shops, as well as being very safe.”
The South African-born photography guru and his wife Jennifer, a former solicitor, plan to swap their 5,000sq ft home for “a more lateral property near Wimbledon Common where we have an allotment”.