A distinctive home in London’s Chelsea neighborhood is being shopped off-market for £15 million, or roughly $19 million, listing agent Charlie Gibson of Oliver Bernard Private tells Observer.
The house flaunts a unique flair from being a former courthouse that dates to the 18th century. It was converted into a residence in the late ‘90s by philanthropist Sylvia Pessoa Bourne and her ex-husband, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The Courthouse is one of the most unusual freehold houses on the market, with an impressive ceiling height of 6.27 meters, complete with stained glass windows. It gives the atmosphere of a church,” Gibson says of the home, which sits on a quiet cobblestone street in England’s capital.
The 5,400-square-foot building was converted to a five-bedroom house from its former use as a courthouse. “From this house, the judges sent the prisoners to Australia,” Pessoa Bourne told Hello! Magazine last year. “They came, the paperwork was done, and then they left by a special door at the back, which is still there.”
It was also used by wine merchants in the early 20th century. However, prior to the purchase by Pessoa Bourne, it was never a residential space, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The couple spent three years on the conversion, working alongside former interior designer and artist Mauro Perucchetti. “He was fantastic, taking what was then a very avant-garde approach,” Pessoa Bourne told Hello! “The layout, the big doors with the sculpted handles, and the large living room all make the most of the great natural light.”
The building’s exterior was restored during the conversion, but they could not make any sweeping changes there. “We could only play with the interior,” Pessoa Bourne told Hello! That interior required a significant overhaul to turn it into a residential space.
The home is beautifully designed, with inspiration drawn from around the globe, including a primary suite that drew inspiration from the Amanpuri Hotel in Thailand. The design welcomes inspired interior design, as the home has many spaces suited to showcasing a private collection of art and objects.
On the ground floor, much of the home features double-height ceilings that give the main living spaces grandeur and bright natural light. “With an abundance of entertaining space, it’s ideal for hosting glamorous parties,” Gibson tells Observer.
A walkway bridge sits above that living space, giving a view down to its towering windows and fireplace. That bridge then passes through a wall of small stones that Perucchetti told the Journal he placed by hand.
Even the bathrooms have panache, with some bearing tile-covered walls, wood paneling and shelves over a tub, or other idiosyncratic features. The texture of the design is felt in every room with oversized teak doors, heavy bronze handles, and teak paneling. It makes for a one-of-a-kind residence with a price tag to match.
“Given its rich history and great interest, to ensure we fully qualify any potential buyers before a viewing, we have decided to launch the property via our private office, which uses password encryption to ensure the most exclusive homes stay private,” Gibson says of the decision to keep the distinctive home off-market.