No sooner has unknown actor Matt Smith landed BBC1’s coveted Dr Who role than I find him flat-hunting in north London. He’s looking for a two-bedroom home in Belsize Park or Primrose Hill, both favourite luvvies’ haunts.
His budget? “Around £500,000,” says a local estate agent. Smithy, who will pocket a “substantial seven-figure sum” for his five-year BBC contract, will find both areas are close to his favourite Camden drinking den, the Hawley Arms, where he carouses with Amy Winehouse, Peaches Geldof and Kelly Osbourne.
Recently acclaimed for his lead role in Polly Stenham’s award-winning West End play That Face, he will be hard-pressed to challenge his popular Time Lord predecessor David Tennant.
If your builders told you that they needed two more years to finish refurbishing our home you might want to sack them. But not Christopher Moran, owner of Crosby Hall, London’s largest privately-owned Tudor mansion.
© Nigel Howard
“Simon Thurley [English Heritage chief executive] warned me that it would probably take 15 years and it has done,” he tells me. “But the long gallery and dining room should be finished by May and the chapel and library by the end of 2011. We’re using the finest craftsmen and materials to conserve this great building, which means that you can’t cut corners.”
The controversial Islington-raised financier bought Sir Thomas More’s Cheyne Walk palace overlooking the Thames in 1988. The restoration cost? An estimated £30 million and counting.
Despite being hailed as Britain’s new “Princess of Pop” Pixie Lott enjoys her home comforts too much to start looking for her own flat. Indeed, she continues to share a bedroom with her older sister Charlie-Ann in the three-bedroom house in Brentwood, Essex, that she grew up in with her stockbroker father Stephen, mother Beverley and older brother, also called Stephen.
© Zak Hussein
The Bromley-born singer-songwriter’s first two singles, Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh) and Boys and Girls, both topped the charts this year. Kooky Pixie, whose new single Cry Me Out is released later this month, has achieved transatlantic stardom without help from Simon Cowell or TV talent shows.
Viscount Chelsea, heir to Earl Cadogan’s London property empire, has sold his Georgian mansion overlooking the Thames for £3.7 million through John D Wood.
The rambling Cheyne Walk property has been bought by society hostess Amanda Eliasch, who recently sold her Chelsea Square mansion for £10 million through Russell Simpson. She plans to stay in a hotel for six months while builders carry out refurbishments.
Meanwhile reclusive Edward Chelsea has moved into a larger property on his father’s fabulous £3 billion, 90-acre central London estate.