Tuesday, 20 October 2015

I wish I'd snapped up an old photography studio.

This week the property that once housed the studio of photographer Terence Donovan went on sale for an eye-watering £18m.

It's had a bit of a makeover, of course, and been much expanded. More than a bit if I'm honest, as it was 'done' by the never knowingly restrained Candy & Candy.

In fact, it's hard to believe it's the same place I spent several days in while making a commercial with the celebrated snapper.

His studio, which is round the back of Claridges, was just one of the many wonderful spaces I was lucky enough to visit while working with some of London's top photographers back in the 90s.

There was Lichfield over in Notting Hill, Snowden in Kensington, Bailey up in Primrose Hill and others only slightly less famous with amazing spaces in Chelsea, Belgravia, Soho, Holborn and Battersea. I particularly remember the purpose built artist's studio of Tessa Traeger on Flood Street in Chelsea.

Today, the combined value of these studios, tarted up, must run to well over £100m.

Although I understand why Donovan's old studio has been given an "007" makeover, I can't help feeling nostalgic for the original look.

These wonderful light filled double height spaces were just begging to be turned into spacious, minimalist New York style lofts. White walls, bare bricks, stripped wood floors, simple kitchens, old French dining tables, huge and slightly distressed big comfy sofas, vast modern canvases to occasionally break up the white....that's all they needed to make them into 'creative' homes rather than creative workplaces.

Sadly, for me at least, the market doesn't seem to agree.

So there are acres of Carrara marble, lavish underground pools that will hardly ever be used, vast wine showcases, pile upon pile of shiny bed cushions, etc etc.

I'm sure it's beautiful in its way. And certainly of very, very high quality.

But even if I had £18m to spare (plus The Osbourne Tax), I wouldn't be rushing to put in an offer.

I'd be focussing on finding an original, and snapping that up.

(OK, that's enough of the rubbish puns.)

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