Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

On Sale at [Pounds Sterling]32m ... but You Get 20 Bedrooms, a Ballroom and Space for 22 Staff; Just Right for Foreign Billionaires Buying Up Capital's Trophy Homes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

On Sale at [Pounds Sterling]32m ... but You Get 20 Bedrooms, a Ballroom and Space for 22 Staff; Just Right for Foreign Billionaires Buying Up Capital's Trophy Homes

Article excerpt

Byline: MIRA BAR-HILLEL

IT has 20 bedrooms, lashings of history, enough marble to fill the average Italian quarry - and a price tag of [pounds sterling]32million, which makes it the most expensive house on sale in the capital.

Old Swan House on the Chelsea Embankment is one of the latest fabulously expensive London properties to go on the market aimed at a tiny elite of foreign billionaires - usually from Russia, Asia or the Middle East.

New figures from estate agent Knight Frank reveal that foreign buyers now account for 60 per cent of the capital's house sales at [pounds sterling]4 million or above.

Four-storey, Grade II-listed Old Swan Housewas designed in 1876 by Sir Richard Norman Shaw, architect of the Savoy Theatre and Bedford Park in Chiswick.

Since then it has undergone a series of radical transformations, culminating in the latest multimillion-pound restoration by its current owners, who are believed to live in Monaco. Among the recent additions are a 40ft slate-lined swimming pool with a cantilevered bridge that glides across at the touch of a button.

As the former headquarters of Securicor, Old Swan House was where Charles and Diana's wedding presents were kept after the ceremony at St Paul's. The building has since been converted into a private residence, with 20 bedrooms, six bathrooms and a second-floor ballroom.

The entire third floor comprises a master bedroom suite - almost three times the size of a typical Victorian terrace - with two dressing rooms, two bathrooms and a sitting room. Among the other features are a galleried hall with wooden panelling, a cinema, accommodation for 22 staff, parkingfor four cars reached by lift and a heartshaped bath made of rare marble. The house was viewed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich before he bought his [pounds sterling]11 million home in Chester Square.

According to Knight Frank, house prices in central London have soared by 21. …

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