Homes, Interiors and Property

Kensal Rise has risen

Welcome to Brent — once called the drive-by-shooting capital of the UK. Before that it was the People’s Republic of Brent, ravaged by poverty and famed from the late Eighties for outspoken local MP “Red” Ken Livingstone, London’s first elected mayor.

When I moved to Kensal Rise in Brent, the place was derided. But “The Rise” has now risen, earning a reputation as a celebrity haunt-meets-Nappy Valley. Last year Brent experienced Britain’s fastest-rising house prices, outpacing even the oligarch hotspots of Kensington and Knightsbridge.

Evening Standard 04/06/2014

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Cupboard Love

'Think organised. Think organised squared... and that's Susanna Hammond. In the space of a day she can change your life for the better. Susanna should be available on the National Health.' These are the words of Emma Burns, the talented director of interior design company Colefax and Fowler.

Country & Town House 10/2012

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A capital investment

When we moved to London's Kensal Rise in 2003, I hated it. I disparagingly referred to it as 'The Suburbs'. We'd lived in Holland Park and Kensington. I loved the Royal Borough's stucco houses, gracious parks, cafes and shops. But we'd sold our duplex in Kensington during the rise of the property market and, sitting smug, waited in a rented house in Holland Park for the market to crash. And waited. And waited.

Daily Mail 03/09/2010

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A new house, a new life and an Easter wedding

Simon Cowell, Marlon Brando, Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra and OJ Simpson have at least one thing in common: they have all dined at Patmore, the five-bedroom Surrwy home of public relations supremo Max Clifford, who is putting it on the market at £1.795 million as he prepares for a new life with a new wife following an Easter wedding.

Evening Standard 13/01/2010

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Making his mark

French interior designer Jacques Grange is an industry legend whose latest project saw him completely revamp New York's Mark Hotel. Caroline Phillips hops stateside to pay a visit and recommends how to get the look back home.

Country & Town House 10/2010

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My builder’s big feat

He may stand on his head before starting work, but Nathan Brown was just the builder we were looking for when we embarked on a radical conversion of our Victorian terrace house. Nathan, of Brownstone Design, is one of a new breed of builder: married to a TV producer, he practises feng shui and yoga before rolling up his sleeves, and he knows the importance of finishing projects on time and within budget.

Evening Standard, 27.07.05

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The sound of music

Not heard of Lili Tarkow-Reinisch yet? Well, you soon will. She’s one of London’s hottest new songwriters. Her lyrics are being promoted across the Atlantic to Grammy-award winning singers like Carrie Underwood, and to American Idol.

Not bad going, considering Lili is also a full-time psychotherapist, wife, mother of two, Aikido black belt and marathon runner. And the sole decorator of her Ralph Lauren-meets-Louis Vuitton-and-Andrew-Martin-style apartment.

Evening Standard, 08.07.09

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Spye Park

This is the story of the Spicers of Spye Park, and if they sound like characters in an eerie film, there certainly has been plenty of attention paid to the sets. Spye Park – so-called because of its unique vantage point over the village of Lacock in Wiltshire – was originally a Jacobean house lived in by a Mr Baynton, who gambled it away.

Country homes and interiors, 11.1986

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On a Moroccan roll

When Vanessa Branson purchased her riad in Marrakesh, she was the only woman who didn’t sign the deal with a thumb print. There were other details that also made the transaction novel. “Myself and my business partner, Howell James, had to wait a further four days before completion because the vendors didn’t trust our notaire to hand over the keys and money.” Vanessa and Howell followed the 26 Moroccan family members involved in the sale back to the riad, and the problem was resolved over mint tea.

Rich City, 16.02.05

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The scandalous mistress of the castle

At Ayton Castle, Lady Christine de la Rue, in red jumper and jodhpurs and wearing dusters on her feet, is skating around what appears to be 27 miles of wooden hall floor. A polishing trick she picked up at the Pucci Palace in Florence. The fire is blazing, sandwiches are laid out on the grooms’ table in the hall - where they play ping pong and do Scottish Reels - and Highland terriers scamper about.

The mistress of Ayton Castle, Berwickshire, is a colourful character with a past as dramatic as her castle.

Evening Standard, 12.10.94

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