Homes gossip

Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp has begun looking for a family home to rent in St John's Wood, Highgate or Hampstead, and best-selling biographer Robert Lacey has bought a two-bedroom home in Fulham and has plans for a major revamp
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Johnny Depp and girlfriend Vanessa Paradis
© Getty
Johnny Depp and girlfriend Vanessa Paradis

Captain Jack Sparrow flies north

Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp has begun house-hunting in north London. His budget? Up to £25,000 a week.

“Johnny is looking for a large family home in St John’s Wood, Highgate or Hampstead,” reports an insider. “It must have excellent security and be suitable for a young family.”

The raffish, Kentucky civil engineer’s son has two children, Lily-Rose and Jack, from his 12-year relationship with French actress/singer Vanessa Paradis. As well as homes in Los Angeles and Paris they own a 35-acre island in the Bahamas and a vineyard near St Tropez with its own chapel, plus a West Indies-based 156ft yacht The Vajoliroja.

Two years ago Anglophile Depp donated £1 million to Great Ormond Street Hospital after doctors saved Lily-Rose from a serious kidney infection.

Celia Birtwell
Celia Birtwell
Cult Notting Hill textile designer Celia Birtwell has bought a country cottage with a lush garden in Worcestershire. “It’s something that she has dreamed of having for years,” reports a friend. “It’s her private retreat where she can get away from her busy life in London."

Together with her late business partner and husband Ossie Clark, the Prestwich-raised seamstress’s daughter became the favourite sitter of David Hockney, who described her as “the face that launched a thousand prints”.

During her Sixties/Seventies heyday her customers included Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Paul McCartney. She and builder Andrew Palmer, her partner of 23 years, share a two-bedroom house and flower-filled conservatory a short walk from her Westbourne Park Road boutique.

Robert Lacey
Robert Lacey
Best-selling biographer Robert Lacey has found a new non-literary project to occupy himself. He has sold his four-bedroom Pimlico house for £1.65 million through John D Wood and paid £600,000 for a two-bedroom Victorian semi off Fulham’s busy North End Road.

“I’m planning a major revamp of the place with my son Bruno,” says Lacey, whose 1977 tome Majesty became the definitive biog of The Queen. “I’m also building a ground-floor extension and applying for planning permission to add another floor.”

His recent book, Inside the Kingdom, was a controversial portrait of Saudi Arabia. Previous subjects include Princess Diana, the Queen Mother, Grace Kelly, Henry Ford and Sir Walter Raleigh.

Amy Gilliam
© Rebecca Reid
Amy Gilliam
Film producer Amy Gilliam has spent an estimated £485,000 through Aston Chase and Pilcher Hershman on a one-bedroom Camden loft apartment overlooking Regent’s Canal. The 46-unit London and Newcastle development is in a former Victorian printworks that was once the creative hub of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson.

Amy, a close collaborator with her father Terry, the Monty Python star and director of such films as The Fisher King and Brazil holidays at his Umbrian villa, where he has founded a summer film festival.

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