SELLER: Keira Knightley (and James Righton)
LOCATION: London, U.K.
SIZE: 3,223 square feet, 3-4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Even though (in)famously pouty-faced Oscar-nominated English actress Keira Knightley and her music making new husband James Righton of the indie rock Nu-Rave band Klaxon only settled in to a compact, Georgian-style townhouse in an historic, celebrity-jammed enclave in East London’s rapidly gentrifying yet still rough and tumble Spitalfields* area a bit more than a year ago they’re already selling up, we first learned from London-based celebrity property snitch Harry Hound, and listed their East London love nest with an asking price of £3,000,000. (That’s U.S. $4,759,680 at today’s rates according to our trusty currency conversion contraption.)
We’re not quite sure when exactly the young, rich, and arty-farty couple purchased the property or how much moolah they they coughed up for it but there are scads of reports from May 2012 that suggest she—or maybe they—shelled out around £2,400,000 for the 18th-century Huguenot-built house that has a rusticated base painted the color of burgundy wine. (That’s 3,807,740 U.S. clams at today’s rates according to our trusty currency conversion contraption.) The seller, according to Harry Hound and numerous reports from the spring of 2012, was Samantha Morton, another (two-time) Oscar-nominated British actress (In America, Sweet and Lowdown, John Carter).
The floor plans included with current digital marketing materials show the 3,229 square foot art- an book-filled corner townhouse has four floors above ground and two more below. There are, by Your Mama’s rudimentary interpretation of the floor plan, two street entrances and two entrance halls, at least four living rooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and three dedicated bedrooms plus a possible fourth bedroom that adjoins the master bedroom on the uppermost level.
The main center hall entrance and stair hall on the ground level connects to petite but pleasantly snug front and rear living room spaces, both with possibly functional and possibly not functional fireplaces. The rear living room has a full wall of cacophonous, mis-matched windows and French doors that open to a narrow exterior corridor that zig-zags back to a small, unkempt-looking private patio. A pint-sized study with built-in bookcases and a possibly functional fireplaces, a second entrance hall, and a windowless half bathroom complete the ground floor.
Upstairs, in the “formal” reception room just off the central stair hall, Miz Knightley and Mister Righton have installed a haphazard and homey sort of day-core that pairs traditional roll-armed English armchairs in mixy-matchy striped and floral upholstery with an au courant Moroccan area rug and a classic, mid-century modern coffee table by Isamu Noguchi. There’s yet another fireplace (that may or may not be functional) and several over-sized six-over-six sash windows with an up close and personal view of the architecturally pastiched, early 18th-century Christ Church.
A narrow but expensively equipped galley-style kitchen—the children will note the massive, commercial-style range—has cornflower blue wood cabinetry, butcher block counter tops, and yet another fireplace that may or may not be functional. The kitchen passes through to the dining room that’s fitted with what appear on the floor plan to be built-in cupboards.
The smaller of the two guest/family bedrooms on the third floor—the Brits call it the second floor—has direct access to a wee, windowless bathroom and the larger of the two bedrooms has large windows with more Christ Church views and makes use of a much bigger, windowed bathroom that opens off the stair landing and is fitted built-in linen cabinets and toiletry cupboards.
There’s a possibility for a third guest/family bedroom on the top floor but, given that access to the master bedroom appears to be through the room, Your Mama feels strongly it would make a much better fitness area, yoga studio or dressing room/closet than a bedroom. The master suite, we’re afraid, combines the bedroom and bathroom in to one, 30-foot long loft-like space and one must pass inconveniently through the bathroom area to get to the the bedroom area. Your Mama spotted fireplaces—or at least mantels—in the bedroom space and in the lounge area of the bathroom that includes a single pedestal sink and a claw-footed soaking tub in full view of the bedroom area. Frankly we prefer a bit more privacy for abluting and flossing but mercifully the toilet is encompassed in its own quite tiny cubicle.
Back downstairs, there’s a spacious basement level lounge with built-in storage and book shelves that flank a fireplace-like arch into which are stacked a couple of Moroccan poufs. The floor plan also shows a wet bar—or maybe it’s a slop sink, and a utility room where Your Mama and our house girl Svetlana both hope there’s a washer and dryer. One floor down from there, in the old coal storage space, the floor plan shows a 30-foot long but only 9’4″ wide screening room.
Mister and Missus Knightly-Righton’s East London residence sits smack in the center of a densely packed and fashionably chic enclave just around the corner from the artsy and fully gentrified Spitalfields Market and just off Brick Lane where there are more itty-bitty and reasonably priced curry restaurants than in all of Bangladesh. Artists and other bohemian types have flooded into the Spitalfields area over the last 10 or 15 years and the tiny knot of streets where the house in question is located has attracted a surprising number of rich and famous folks over the years. Novelist Jeanette Winterson lives in the vicinity as does über-artist/entrepreneur Tracey Emin as well as the collaborative art world duo known simply as Gilbert & George. The Pet Shop Boys’ Chris Lowe recently unloaded his house a few doors down from the one Miz Knightley has up for grabs—it was last listed at £2,600,000—and film director Joe Wright** and his Grammy-nominated sitarist wife Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of the late Ravi Shankar and the half-sister of nine-time Grammy winning singer/songwriter Norah Jones, recently sold their Grade II listed Georgian style townhouse to Welsh singer/actor Jonathan Pryce for $4,100,000.
We know little to nil about the semi-rural hilltop spread near Mazon in the Provence region on the South of France that Miz Knightley (and/or her family) reportedly owns and where, so the stories go, she and Mister Righton hosted their wedding party in May (2013) and were feted by high profile peeps like Sienna Miller and Karl Lagerfeld. The 20-acre estate is said to have an eight bedroom stone farmhouse, vineyards, and olive groves.
*Spitalfields was where most if not all of the presumed victims of late 19th-century mass murderer Jack the Ripper resided, although most were murdered in the adjacent Whitechapel district.
**Mister Joe Wright’s period piece films Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina all starred—you got it—Keira Knightley.
listing photos and floor plan: Davey Stone