A certain and particularly well-heeled section of society always loves to come in first place: the biggest bonus to splash around town; the most fabulous car to tool around in; the best Damien Hirst painting to hang over the fireplace. Unlike almost all its neighbors in London’s searingly expensive Cadogan Square, this six-story mansion has not been carved up into flats. The red-brick beast is the largest residence currently for sale in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Of course, anyone who wants the prestigious neighborhood’s biggest and baddest house needs to be very well-heeled indeed because the asking price for this trophy, listed by Becky Fatimi at Rokstone and Alex Christian and Richard Gutteridge at Savills, is an eye-watering $47 million.
Several years ago, the owners — South African-born English investor Julian Treger and his wife Leslie — proudly showed off the mansion in the French version of Architectural Digest. (As of about two years ago, the Tregers also maintained a spectacular cliffside home in the mountains near South Africa’s seaside town of Plettenberg Bay.)
Called Stuart House, the 11,351-square-foot behemoth is tucked behind Sloane Street, just a gemstone’s throw from Harrods, and comes with a rare and coveted key to the private Cadogan Square gardens, which are always locked to keep the hoi polloi from mucking the place up. Built in 1884, and Grade II-listed, the house retain original period features — ornate stone and plaster molding, huge stone fireplaces and grand staircases. These florid embellishments look fantastic juxtaposed against the owners’ classic furniture pieces and contemporary art collection, which includes one of Damien Hirst’s spin paintings in the dining room, albeit not over the fireplace.
Along with five opulent reception rooms spread over two floors — there are two 500-square-foot living rooms, a dining room and two studies, one of them nearly 40 feet long — there’s casual family room or what promo materials call a “teenage den” atop the house. There are also six bedrooms and a total of six full bathrooms, plus two powder rooms. The spacious master suite opens to a large private terrace, and includes a dressing area and enormous bath; a tiny staff suite, with a private kitchen and bath, is wedged into a dark corner of the basement.
There’s also a rooftop terrace, a double-wide garage — an amazing bonus in Central London! — an elevator, and a subterranean “wellness retreat, including gym and elongated swimming pool,” per the listing. Apparently, it’s the only swimming pool in Cadogan Square. (More bragging rights.)
Stuart House is what’s known in the U.K. as a freehold property, which adds significant value and yet more bragging rights. Much of London’s land is owned by a few aristocratic families. With a leasehold property, a homeowner does not own the actual land on which their home or apartment sits; instead, they hold longterm leases purchased from said families. With a freehold property, the land is owned by the homeowner. For the last couple hundred years, most of the area around Cadogan Square has been owned by the Cadogan family, which makes for incredible wealth. According to Bloomberg, the current head of the family — octogenarian Charles Cadogan, the 8th Earl of Cadogan — sits on a fortune valued at nearly $6.5 billion.
The first owner of Stuart House was Oscar Leslie Stephen, a director of the Great Northern Railway, which was chartered to bring coal from the northern part of England to the south, and the building is a great example of the Queen Anne style popular in the 1880s: red brick, with a Dutch gable, pilasters on the upper floors, with a hipped roof and arcaded brick chimneys. A special feature are the two carved brick bas-reliefs showing the Stuart rulers of Britain: King James VI of Scotland — later also King James I of England — and Mary Queen of Scots. Below is Mary arriving in Scotland.
A descendent of the Stuart dynasty later married a member of the Cadogan family. These bas-reliefs, along with the name Stuart House, were a reminder to all who passed that the Cadogans were related to royalty. Obviously, even the earliest residents of the house were determined to flaunt their status. And wiith a $47 million price tag, the house will definitely flaunt the wealth of its next owner.