Pavement tour: Chelsea Green
Who knows the inside track on Britain's prime addresses? The long-standing local agents – of course – so each week we pin a different one down for an insider's walk around their manor.
This week: Ed Mead of London agent Douglas and Gordon is joined by leading property writer Cheryl Markosky
Where: The streets of Chelsea Green – SW3
It's a cold but clear winter's morning and I've come to meet Ed Mead, head honcho at the Sloane Avenue office of Douglas & Gordon. Alarmingly, he roars up at the appointed time on a huge bike – not a surprise, as Ed's a thoroughly 2010s agent, famed for his matinee idol looks, dislike of stuffiness and witty turn of phrase.
No tweeds or blazers here - Ed's in black Easy Rider leathers and stands out from the other key-clutching agents to be seen rushing around the area - plus he's well connected. His wife Jamie Jago is a well known spin doctor.
So, off to Chelsea Green with sales-sharp Ed. If Miss Marple won the lottery and fancied a more metro-rural existence, she might pitch up in this quiet territory off the buzzy Kings Road and well-dressed Sloane Avenue. And yes, there is a verdant patch on the actual green, lent the metropolitan touch by classy shops, such as Jane Asher's cake emporium, Fifi Wilson's hat-and-frock merchants and sweetly-scented L'Artisan Parfumeur.
Ed is not the only star, mind. The likes of Nigel Havers, various members of the Cadbury dynasty and Mike Bloomberg can be seen sipping a glass of red in The Builders Arms. "What has changed is how British families have been joined by rich foreigners. We even have a relative of Bin Laden."
Ed says that with a melee of homes owned by both housing associations, the local authority, the Guinness Trust as well as private individuals, this area was anything but smart until the turn of the last century.
"The elite of the day lived in Knightsbridge or the East End, the centre of trade. Only poor artists bothered with Chelsea, but Royals would alight from carriages in the Royal Avenue and Queens Gate to wave to the less blue-blooded," he explains.
In some ways you'll feel you've been transported back in time. Chelsea Green is one of those rare spots in these make-do-and-mend days where houses are quoted in the millions but you can still find a cobbler, picture-framer, laundrette and fishmonger alongside more upmarket boutiques and eateries.
A one-bed flat ranges from £350,000 to half-a-million, while adding on that extra bedroom ups the value from £650,000 to £1 million. And expect to pay at least £1.5-2 million for a three-bedroom house.
It is always good to know where an agent would put his money and Ed is happy to point out his favourite gems. "Flats in Arundel Court solidly built between the wars that come with balconies make great pied-a-terres."
He also rates portered Windsor Court, where he's selling a one-bedroom garden flat for a very un-Chelsea £325,000 (see right). The catch is that there is only 20 years left on the lease and Ed estimates you'd need to fork out a further £180,000 for a 90-year extension.
"Chelsea Green's hidden secret, however, is The Gateways' charming Arts & Crafts double-fronted houses in a well-managed enclave with pretty Oxbridge quad-style gardens," points out Ed. He is selling a three-bed house (see left) that needs updating for £2.25 million.
- Primelocation property in Chelsea Green
Chelsea Green is one of those rare spots in these make-do-and-mend days where houses are quoted in the millions but you can still find a cobbler, picture-framer, laundrette and fishmonger alongside more upmarket boutiques and eateries.