Keeping it thin and funky in smart Chelsea

Timothy Barber
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ONE way to really be the envy of your neighbours is to live in a house that’s fundamentally much more stylish, fun and unusual than theirs. That’s one thing you could be sure of if you lived in the Studio House on Edith Grove in Chelsea. Almost certainly, any guests turning up at the Victorian blocks of flats either side will be looking inquisitively sideways at the slim, glassy piece of design coolness squeezed in between and thinking, a la Lloyd Grossman, “who lives in a house like thaaaat?”

The house is essentially built into an alleyway between a couple of grand Victorian houses on a bustling street between the King’s Road and Fulham Road. Not that living here would turn you into some kind of alley cat – it’s a place of chic, architectural inventiveness, reflecting the Sixties era when it was erected. Its four floors amount to 1,925 square feet of light-filled space, and the house comes with a garden and its own parking space.

It’s also upside down. On the ground floor you’ll find the second bedroom, loo and bathroom; head up one floor to the master bedroom (en suite, of course) and third bedroom. Kitchen and dining room are above that, while the top level is given over to an airy reception room overhung by a great glass skylight filling most of the roof. With a funky metal stairway popping up in the middle of the floor and overhead ceiling fans, it has a cool, semi-industrial sensibility.

The room’s light-strewn minimalism make it the perfect space to hang that contemporary art collection you’ve been building up. The previous owner, by the way, is a gallerist who used it to display art himself. Nip to the Conran shop down the road and get it fitted out groovy, clean-lined furniture and fashionable objets.

This being Chelsea, prices in the area are pretty buoyant – the well of moneyed foreign buyers fancying themselves a chi-chi West London pad continues to run deep – and have climbed above their 2008 peaks. As investments go, it’s a solid one. And as fashionable, slightly bohemian properties in highly desirable areas go, this one’s a corker.

£1.75m freehold. For enquiries, call Farleys on 020 7589 1234 or visit


lThe King’s Road is packed with glossy boutiques and designer shops. Highlights are Austique (a treasure trove of pretty dresses by up-and-coming designers), Vivienne Westwood’s original HQ – World’s End, and the ever-dependable department store, Peter Jones. Head to Lots Road Auctions to source antique furniture, paintings and textiles.

l Chelsea is foodie heaven. Its streets are studded with Michelin starred eateries, including those of Gordon Ramsey and Tom Aikens. If you like your grub more laid-back, The Pig’s Ear is a superior gastropub where you can dine on dishes like braised pork cheeks with pearl barley or wild mallard with buttered savoy cabbage in a cosy, unpretentious setting.

l Schmooze with the rich and well-connected at swish new club Public. The brainchild of Prince William’s best friend Guy Pelly, it boasts a dedicated fancy dress room, a VIP area in the style of an old-fashioned sweet emporium and carousal horses for partiers to ride on the dancefloor. Alternatively, kick back at the colourfully decorated Azteca Latin Lounge with a cold Corona and Mexican nibbles.