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TBS in The Telegraph – “This house cost $25m to build and sold for just a tenth of that – here’s why”

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
11 Feb 2020  |   Philip Eastwood

The article focuses on a property designed by Goldfinger, Ernő Goldfinger: the architect whose name is as synonymous with a Bond baddie as it is with such brutalist-style Seventies buildings as west London’s love-it-or-hate-it Trellick Tower. (Indeed, Ian Fleming named 007’s nemesis after the architect, with whom he had a long-running feud.) The name alone is not enough, however, to easily snag a buyer for Teesdale, a timber-clad house tucked away in four leafy, landscaped acres of prime Windlesham in Surrey. Built in the Sixties, it is the only post-war private house designed by Goldfinger that is still in its original condition, according to Historic England. It has been on and off the market for two and a half years, its price dropped from £3  million to £2.5 million; now it’s on sale for £2.85 million through Savills. Despite sparking interest around the globe, it is unsold and is being rented out.

Individuals designing homes can be more adventurous but it might not be to everyone’s taste. Recognised iconic architect-designed homes are often listed, which is an immediate obstacle for many potential buyers. In the case of Teesdale, the listing even includes the dining table, which cannot be removed. These homes can often be something of a time capsule.

While the success of branded residences shows that having a luxury hotel, fashion or even car brand associated with the scheme helps to shift units, a star architect’s name does not always have the same pulling power. So how do you go about selling your idiosyncratic, starchitect-designed home?

Practical concerns such as the use of space and light will usually trump the pull of an architect’s “brand”, says Philip Eastwood of The Buying Solution, a buying agency. But there are exceptions. “In Notting Hill, where residents are keen on the minimalist look of Michaelis Boyd, it’s a talking point if Alex Michaelis has designed the home you are selling. One of my clients had four homes designed by him, he was such a big fan,” says Eastwood.

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