You can spend anything from £400k to £150 million to live in Chelsea. But forty years of working in the area has exposed a few nooks and crannies where properties never really come to the market. Walking around Chelsea you can easily miss them. People often forget that up until WW2 Chelsea was considered only good enough for artists. The true upper classes were sequestered in Mayfair and East until the Luftwaffe town-planned the area. But the Swinging 60s saw Chelsea enter its natural milieu and it’s never really relinquished its high-end status since then.
Yet, despite its profile, there are still undiscovered streets in Chelsea that are somewhat off-the-beaten track when it comes to property. With a post-Covid exodus from London afoot, who knows what investment opportunities might emerge? And, of course, it’s fun to dream:
Often not considered as Knightsbridge, this area has a very different feel, especially in the summer. Even though the mews houses here were built for horses, so often lacking in light and outside space, they’re usually tucked away behind grand houses and often have a garage. Ovington Mews is a classic example. The entrance is tiny, blink and you’d miss it but it’s just along from Harrods and still has the entrance to commercial space at one end so feels ‘real’.
In the same area, in a short street called Richard’s Place, is a run of small houses with a cut through to a smarter street hiding a property I once sold – the smallest house in London – literally one room with a tiny kitchen and bathroom but what a cool pad.
A plethora of local Council Estates – yes, even in Chelsea – means you can find a little more space with less appealing architecture. Try Pond Place, sounds gritty but isn’t and it’s at the northern edge of Chelsea close to Sth Ken Tube. No one else will know you live there and the SW3 address on your card is as authentic as any.
Snap up this Pond Place studio for sale for £415,000
Close to everything but lacking artistic merit it’s been the home of the older resident since the 20s and the pied a terre of more interesting types seeking an SW3 address ever since.
Spending the London average of £500k can be fun, depending on your definition. One room in a huge block could land you in one of the monolithic blocks with a stupendous view across London – personally I’d always trade space for a view.
If it’s location you’re looking for, try this 1-bed flat on the market for £550,000
Mid King’s Road
These small terraced houses have always catered to those owning country gaffs needing a night or two a month in town, although it’s a bit of a trek from the tube. Here lurks blink-and-you’ll miss-it Burnsall Street. There used to be a small walk through but some clever developer decided to build one of the narrowest houses ever – have a look, you couldn’t lie sideways across it.
Old Church Street
Even further from the tube is an eclectic mix or detached and terraced houses between The King’s Road and The River on Old Church Street. If money was no object I’d pick a hidden house here. We’re talking north of £125m yet you’d never know it’s there. For that authentic ‘Country House in London’ moniker there’s nowhere more deserving. Other houses in the street are old money or rock star, but it’s hidden well and parked cars won’t distinguish whether this was Chelsea or Wandsworth.
Check out this end of terrace house for sale on Church Street for a cool £7 million
Ed Mead is Co founder and Chief executive of property viewing service Viewber. Twitter: @ed_mead