Hampstead in North London is certainly a magnet for the hip and cool. Many famous actors, including Elizabeth Taylor, have lived in the suburb, as well as authors such as Evelyn Waugh and politicians such as former British prime minister Harold Wilson.
Several artists and actors still call Hampstead home, including Hugh Grant and Harry Styles, meaning it was the obvious place for Hollywood's leading cool couple, Kim Kardashian and Kayne West, to rent when they set up their London home.
They've moved on, in more ways than one, and the six-bedroom Los Angeles-style villa in one of London's trendiest neighbourhoods is on the market for £17.2 million ($22.6 million).
Spread over five floors, the 7,940-square-foot residence was designed by minimalist architect Claudio Silvestrin, who has also created sleek and visionary properties for fashion designer Georgio Armani and Caroline Neuendorf of the Artnet digital art dynasty.
“This trophy home is truly unique in London, created by an architect who is admired by both international architects and designers and A-list clients who want a home that is a piece of architectural artwork alongside being a beautiful residence of impeccable taste and refinement,” said Gary Hersham, founding director of Beauchamp Estates, the agents for the sale.
The emphasis is on entertainment and lifestyle. As such, three of the floors are designed for entertaining space, with the vast main reception room covering the entire ground floor. Full height windows open on to a large terrace, with the garden beyond.
And, of course, no 'House of Cool' would be complete without a passenger lift, a James Bond-style car lift and a cinema room.
The basement is dedicated to a health spa with a swimming pool, gym, sauna, steam and treatment room.
The effect of the Silvestrin design is simple, open living spaces with clear lines. The finishes include yellow-ochre rock slab walls and flooring, with the rock sourced from the Italian Dolomites.
In the premier Los Angeles property market, inside and outside living merge with each other and this principle has been mirrored at the Hampstead villa, where the entertaining and relaxation areas flow seamlessly between interior and exterior.
As such, the cool minimalism of the house flows into the contemporary garden, itself designed by RHS Chelsea gold-winning landscape architect, Chris Beardshaw.
On the first storey, the principal bedroom suite covers half of the floor space. It opens up to a balcony and separate terrace, has a walk-in dressing room and a master bathroom with a free-standing bathtub.
Each of the other three bedrooms has balconies, while the top floor hosts a large guest suite, which includes a wraparound terrace, a walk-in dressing room and shower room.
In essence, the person who buys the house will be purchasing far more than a four-walled residence. They will be acquiring a piece of art, no less so than if they'd attended an auction at Sotheby's or Christie's.
“The Claudio Silvestrin villa in Hampstead is an iconic residence, like a piece of contemporary artwork,” said Rosy Khalastchy, director and head of Beauchamp Estates' St John’s Wood office in West London.
“The cool minimalist interiors and the beautifully designed upper and lower gardens provide the perfect retreat for a family wanting a London base.
“Over the last few years the villa has been rented out to a series of major Hollywood stars who have wanted to reside in an LA-style pad while they have been working in London.
“Now the vendor has decided it is time to list this very special property for sale, and with its celebrity connections we anticipate a lot of interest in this residence.”
More money, more space
Indeed, there is much interest in London's ultra-prime residential property market at the moment. A new survey from Beauchamp Estates found the size and value of apartments, villas and mansions in the £15 million-plus price bracket has grown significantly.
The survey found that during the first five months of 2022 the average size of a £15 million-plus house being bought was 7,000 square feet. In the first five months of this year, it was 11,200.
During the January to May period last year, the average price of a London house sold in the £15 million-plus bracket was £21 million. In the same period this year, that figure is £30 million.
Beauchamp Estates believes the increase is down to a change in the buying priorities of the super-rich – in previous years, they were buying second and third homes in London but this year they are looking for primary residences, for which they will demand more space.
“During the first five months of 2023 there has effectively been two billionaire buyer property deals per month in Central London,” said Mr Hersham.
“There remains a sustained and healthy appetite among the world’s super-rich for buying trophy homes in the UK capital.”
It easy to see why the ultra-prime property market appeals to the super-rich beyond the obvious draws of living in London – it's a sound investment.
“Over the next five years most analysts anticipate prime London average prices to rise by around 20 per cent,” said Marcus O’Brien, head of Beauchamp Estates' private office.
“Compare this projected growth against global stock markets, which are volatile, and investments in the new tech and digital company sectors, where returns have been mixed. The price of gold has also risen more modestly in the last few years.
“This is why London real estate continues to attract the global super-rich.”
More from London's luxury properties
The Old War Office, a historic building in central London, once a hub of Britain's espionage elite, has been reimagined as a top-tier Raffles hotel and residences.
With the blending of past secrecy and modern luxury, the £350 million transformation offers panoramic views of the city, private residences rich with history and a penthouse that is a testament to the merging of antique elegance and contemporary sophistication.