2 years ago
From the outside, this 130-year-old Swiss-style chalet looks like a quirky old-fashioned property. However, inside it’s the ultimate luxury home with a heated indoor beach, gold-covered bathroom, and £500,000 kitchen.
The Chalet Estate on the River Thames, next to Hampton Court Palace, is the ideal house for a wealthy party animal who wants to throw elaborate soirees.
It is on the market with Riverhomes for £7.5million (approximately $10 million), but that’s a bargain as the current owner has spent £4.7million (roughly $6.2 million) completely overhauling the unusual property.
The property was imported from Switzerland in 1882 and was once a garden feature for a huge house called Riverholm.
It was used as the boathouse with Riverholm until 1996 – but had fallen into disrepair before spatial architect Myck Djurberg bought it in 2012 and got permission to raise the building off the flood plain in 2014.
The 8,000-square-foot property features four bedrooms – one of which has a whole floor to itself – and is surrounded by acres of protected parkland. It also has a state-of-the art kitchen that has five Gaggenau fridges.
The bathroom has two £9,000 ($11,900) copper baths and £18,000 ($23,800) basins made in Italy with marble and 24-karat gold leaf. Even the stainless steel parquet floor is washed in 14-karat gold leaf.
The house, which is a short walk from the Palace, also has more than 600 feet of mooring for up to 25 boats and parking for around 20 cars – which would provide opportunities for private parties and also commercially, should you want to pay for those parties.
Inside is a lush oriental garden with a grated metal floor with a Koi carp pond underneath. A bridge allows you to see down to the beach party room with a bar, pool table, wine cellar for 1,600 bottles, and a stage area.
Behind the bar is a secret door to a cinema room and there is an old submarine door that leads to the spa complex with a gym, sauna, steam room, and pool.
In the dining room is an £80,000 ($106,000) table, encrusted with Swarovski crystals, that seats 18 people, with designer leather chairs. There is also a Swarovski crystal glass door between the dining area and kitchen.
The room is decorated with four original Battle of Waterloo cannons bought at auction for £7,000 ($9,260) each and lampshades made from £4,000 ($5,290) antique Indian saris.
Two of the guest bedrooms are designed around a Japanese theme, with “pod” style beds which have a massage system in them and a built-in TV and computer. The house has a surround sound system running through it.
Mr Djurberg said: “The inside of the building looked like council flats when I bought it, it was a total war zone. I’m not what you would call an ordinary architect and I wanted to preserve this special building.
“I think of myself as the custodian of this masterpiece. It’s an 1880s building and was a house for entertaining. It’s a really gorgeous property but it took me four years to renovate it. This building is one of those real one-offs.
“I wanted to retain that sense of an entertaining house. It’s perfect for big parties – we had 120 people here last week. It’s got 360-degree views of the river and the park so I wanted to reflect how special it is inside and create something lavish. I decided to make it as grand as possible… I don’t think it will be for people to live in all the time, it’ll be for someone to show off and have parties.”
A spokesman for Riverhomes said: “It is a one-off bespoke property, it is off the scale. When the owner bought it it needed an awful lot of work doing to it. But he hasn’t just updated it, he has propelled it into the 21st century.
“It has such a lavish and expensive finish to it. We have had a lot of interest in it as you would expect.”