From Harry and Meghan's rumoured house hunt to Dua Lipa's renovations, here's where London's celebs live now
With a new Primrose Hill set, rumoured royal return and the odd mega renovation, the capital’s celebs have been busy on the home front this year
Ah, celebrities, they’re just like us. Locked in planning disputes with their neighbours, moving out of London for the children, embarking on costly renovations, evicted by the King… well, maybe not exactly like us.
Indeed, for most of us, the decision to move house does not come with heavy symbolism attached — if I buy in London it may well mean I have decided to keep working in the capital, but for the foreseeable my job won’t send seismic waves through an industry. If you’re an A-list glossy editor or Premier League footballer, that same property purchase becomes somewhat more newsworthy.
So London bashers take note, the capital is still alive with the sound of celebs buying, selling and doing up homes. Here’s what happened this year.
The new Primrose Hill is...
...Primrose Hill! Back in the naughty Noughties, you couldn’t set foot on Regent’s Park Road without spotting Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale walking the dog and Jude Law buying cigarettes at the Post Office on your way to the pub where Kate Moss and the Gallaghers might be propping up the bar.
The Primrose Hill set was at the infamous epicentre of London celeb land.
But after years of debauched parties and rumoured wife-swapping antics, that scene crumbled, leaving only Sadie Frost keeping the candle burning (no longer at both ends).
With the predictability of any trend cycle, however, 20 years later and a new celeb set are moving in after a couple of decades in the financier doldrums.
At the time, two of his celebrity ex-girlfriends were linked to the area, with Rita Ora living in a six-bedroom house there and Taylor Swift believed to have a base there when she was dating British actor Joe Alwyn.
A royal return?
In the early spring, shortly after publication of his tell-all memoir Spare, Prince Harry and Meghan were reportedly asked by the King to give up the use of Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate as part of a redistribution of royal properties.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been given the use of the cottage by the late Queen as a wedding gift in 2018 and later split the use of it with Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank.
A source told OK! Magazine that “they will soon start looking for a property of their own near London and Harry is very much leading this”.
It is unknown where the couple might choose to settle, but the insider did not rule out occasional use of a small apartment in Kensington Palace — full circle from their early days of dating when Prince Harry lived in Nottingham Cottage in the grounds.
Classic rockers and pop moguls
Featuring off-street parking for four cars, a private bar and a gym, the house is located in a popular area for the rich and famous. Ed Sheeran and the Beckhams are among the well-known residents of the west London neighbourhood.
It was then reduced by almost a quarter to £1.35 million in July. Despite this hefty price cut, the two-bedroom warehouse flat remains on the market.
Rick Astley was among artists who recorded at the nearby studios in the Eighties, saying that he stayed at Waterman’s home when he moved to the capital from the North-West. His five-bedroom childhood home in Warrington was also put up for auction this year, with a guide price of £380,000.
London leavers — and remainers
In autumn 2022, Boris and Carrie Johnson sparked frenzied speculation throughout south London.
Local gossip had it that they were house hunting around Herne Hill and Dulwich Village after Johnson stepped down as prime minister and subsequently left Downing Street (and his famous gold wallpaper).
Johnson’s fellow party member Jacob Rees-Mogg’s childhood home in Somerset also went up for sale for £2.75 million in March. The Rees-Mogg family lived there until 2001 when they sold it for £820,000.
The four-storey house is estimated to be worth £2.7 million and is decorated in an eclectic style described by Fogle as “Victorian adventurer” in an interview in Homes & Property.
Sure, it might not have technically involved a move out of the capital, but for some Londoners crossing the river can feel just like that. Chef and writer Gizzi Erskine put her cute pink mews house in Hackney on the market for £900,000 in the summer and plans to split her time between Brighton and south London with her musician boyfriend Matt.
“I’m going to miss going down to Broadway Market and having the most amazing fishmongers, Fin & Flounder. I live off of Ridley Road and that’s a big West Indian and African market — I love the vibrancy of, it’s so fun,” she said, of the area she has lived in for 20 years.
Rumours swirled around Edward Enninful’s next move after he stood down as the editor of British Vogue to take up a “global advisory position” at the title.
Fashion industry gossip suggested Enninful, who was the first gay black man to edit the title, had clashed with Anna Wintour, the editor of US Vogue who now controls all new global editions of the glossy magazine.
Insiders speculated that he might be in line for a range of international positions. But the fashion power player firmly pinned his flag to the London mast when he announced on Instagram that he had bought a new house in his “beloved” west London.
The deal was done off-market by Becky Fatemi of Rokstone. Enninful’s post shows a paved front garden leading down to a wrought iron gate on a garden square lined with period townhouses.
New (planning) rules
What with legal fees and stamp duty, moving can be expensive (yes, so is renovating nowadays) but if you’ve found a good house in a great location then it can still be preferable to improve rather than move.
At least Dua Lipa seems to think so. The pop megastar won planning permission for a basement extension and rear extension replacement on her Hampstead home.
Having attended both primary and secondary school near Hampstead Heath, the local girl-turned-global superstar paid £6.75 million for the Victorian property at the start of 2020.
Plans drawn by architect 4M Group — which created the first Kosovo Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012 — showed a subterranean swimming pool hidden beneath the back garden, steam room, shower and changing room as well as a cinema and studio.
Despite opposition from the local neighbourhood forum, Camden council green lit the project this year.
The couple, who relocated from Los Angeles with their sons in 2020, are planning a California mid-century inspired overhaul of the house.
Materials that evoke Los Angeles will be used in the house, which also takes inspiration from the work of modernist architect Alvar Aalto.