It’s an exciting time for the capital’s luxury property market.
Despite Brexit, demand is only getting stronger; Knight Frank predicts transaction volumes across Prime Central London in the second quarter of the year will be up 28% on the same period in 2016.
So what are key trends driving wealthy buyers to keep investing in London’s plush pads? These are the three we’re noticing when we design our homes.
1. Traditional style; modern interpretation
Classic styles are back in vogue. From grand Georgian fireplaces to elegant Victorian staircases, high-net worth buyers in London are after homes with a touch of old-fashioned class. However, they don’t want to live in a museum: they’re seeking contemporary takes on traditional interior design pieces.
It’s a delicate balance. We furnished one of our most recent projects, on Laverton Place in Chelsea, with dado rails, cornices and skirting boards – the same fittings an up-market nineteenth century townhouse would have possessed.
But we did it with a modern twist, for instance designing the cornices and panelling in a more dynamic angular manner – as opposed to the curved way in which they were originally crafted.
2. Technological innovation, not domination
We’re also seeing strong demand among high-net worth buyers for a bit of gadgetry.
Media rooms are a popular choice. These don’t have to be huge areas with screens the size of buses; often the more intimate types prove more appealing. At Laverton Place, we created, at basement level, a cinema area leading on from a private dining room. It’s a cosy size, with soft lighting, a few bespoke sofas and a modest screen. The layout adds fun and familiarity to the basement area – somewhere the home-owner and his guests can go and relax in after a meal – which is what our clients love.
Also, some technological convenience is good. Wealthy buyers definitely like being able to control the whole lighting of a house from one switch, for example. However, masses of in-house systems – be they for climate control or energy efficiency – are now a bit 2010: they’re too complicated and clunky whereas many wealthy buyers want simplicity.
3. Keep it boutique and bespoke
While traditional English interior finishings are all-the-range, when it comes to furniture less is best.
Minimalism has definitely made a come-back, with cleanly designed sofas, tables and chairs catching the eye of buyers used to bulky glitz and glamour.
Buyers are also on the hunt for properties that are unique, so bespoke furniture is a definite must to add that extra layer of star dust and exclusivity. We once redesigned a listed lateral apartment on Pont Street in Chelsea using furniture which our team designed in-house before getting it produced in Hong Kong. A big ask, for sure, but it’s what high-net worth buyers expect in a market like this.