April 14, 2015

London Market Update

Filed under: Latest News — Tags: , , , — Frank Harris @ 1:32 pm

Activity in the residential property market in London has been suppressed since last summer for a variety of reasons but the most commonly quoted is the uncertainty caused by the impending General Election.

The Election is having a significant impact. Economic activity is heavily affected by political uncertainty, amplified by housing policy being high on each Party’s agenda. The main concern is over potential polices that may be introduced by a Labour government including rent controls, minimum-term tenancy agreements, a Mansion Tax along with other implications for the higher end of the market and overseas owners.

This uncertainty has affected market activity in London which has seen reduced transactions. Sales volumes were 20% lower at the end of December 2014 compared with the previous year. It is interesting to note that at the higher end, the number of properties sold at £2m+ has seen a lower than average reduction in volume with only a 10% fall in demand. However, the impact of higher Stamp Duty (in effect from 4/12/14) and extending Capital Gains Tax to non-residents (in effect from 6/4/15) are being increasingly cited by purchasers at the top end of the market and it will take time for these to be reflected in price movements before volumes increase. Therefore it is likely that prime London transactions will be significantly reduced over this year’s first two quarters.

Despite the reduction in the volume of market transactions, prices, according to the most recent information published by the Land Registry, show an average increase of 13% in London between February 2014 and February 2015.

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The average increase masks varying increases across the London boroughs which have ranged from 7.8% to 18.7% over the year to February 2015 recorded by the Land Registry.

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Despite the decrease in activity, buyer sentiment remains broadly positive. A vital component to continued activity and price growth is buyer expectations. The Halifax price optimism index increased to 60 in March (it was 20 in 2012) showing that expectations are sufficiently conducive to prices rising. The Bank of England has reported that there were 61,760 mortgages approves for house purchases in February, the highest level in six months. This is additional evidence to support a growing market ahead. Post-election we should see activity swiftly resume, providing clear policies are formed by the new government.

Rental values are reported to have increased slowly in central London over the last few months according to the main residential indices. Frank Harris & Co’s group’s figures for the last financial year show that the number looking to rent a property is 12% higher than the year before with those looking to let out their property increasing by 8%, suggesting a slight upward pressure on rents. Uncertainty in the sales market has prompted more to rent than buy of late as prospective purchasers hold off until after the election. However, post-election the sales market could strengthen negating this boost to rental demand. Fundamentally however, it is London’s strong and stable economic conditions which is why rental prices are increasing.

April 7, 2015

Apartment moments from Silicon Roundabout with stunning views across the historic gardens of the Honourable Artillery Company

202805_BAR150069CLeading City estate agent Frank Harris & Co. is marketing a spacious, modern apartment with a large balcony and spectacular west-facing views across the playing fields of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC).

The apartment has the tranquil feel of being in a country village overlooking the local cricket green, yet is moments from Silicon Roundabout, one of the world’s major tech hubs.

The HAC has been on the site since 1641 and today comprises a regiment of the Territorial Army. The main building on the site is Armoury House, a historic Georgian House set in five acres of grounds known as Artillery Garden. These grounds were originally used for archery practice and cricket. Records exist of a game of cricket being played there as early as 1725. It was also the site of England’s first balloon ascent in 1784.

The grounds are now used for rugby in the winter and cricket in the summer. They are also rented out for black tie events. The beautiful Artillery Garden is ringed by a variety of trees planted in 1996 and 2000 to celebrate the new millennium.

The two-bedroom apartment occupies the entire second floor of a five-storey residential building that was renovated in 2006. As well as the spacious balcony, its features include climate controlled air conditioning/heating, two bathrooms (one en-suite), and an open plan living room/kitchen.

Situated in City Road, the property is on the doorstep of Silicon Roundabout, home to world-class tech businesses, including Candy Crush creators King, and Google Campus. Superb local amenities include numerous high quality restaurants, the Barbican Centre and Waitrose supermarket.

The property is within easy walking distance of the City, and minutes from Old Street, Moorgate, Liverpool Street and Farringdon stations. The property will benefit from Crossrail when the new service starts in 2018, giving access to Heathrow in 32 minutes and Bond Street in just four minutes.

Says Frank Harris director, Tina Evans:202805_BAR150069A

“It is rare to find an apartment with a balcony that offers such exceptional views in this part of London. The HAC is a hidden treasure that many people, even Londoners, don’t know exists. Apartments that overlook the HAC’s beautiful green space rarely come onto the market. The apartment is fabulous too, in terms of spaciousness, layout, and location. It is minutes away from the City of London and right by Tech City. On top of all that Crossrail will be in operation before we know it, giving super-fast access east to Canary Wharf and beyond, and west to the West End and Heathrow.”

March 27, 2015

Sixth floor apartment overlooking historic Tavistock Square

202806_MAR150007NLondon has many beautiful squares and Bloomsbury’s Tavistock Square is certainly one of them. It can also lay claim to having one of the more fascinating histories.

The square’s name comes from the Marquis of Tavistock, the title given to the eldest son of the Duke of Bedford, owner of the land when it was developed in the 1820s.

At its centre is a statue of the father of India, Mahatma Gandhi. The statue, by British sculptor Fredda Brilliant, shows him sitting with bowed head and crossed-legs, wearing only his trademark robe. A gift from the Indian High Commissioner to Britain, it was unveiled by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in May 1968.

The Gandhi statue is one of several memorials in the square that has led to it being known as the ‘peace park’. There’s a cherry tree in remembrance of the Hiroshima bombings, a field maple to mark the United Nations’ International Year of Peace in 1986 and one to honour conscientious objectors installed in 1994.202806_MAR150007A

Given its Bloomsbury location, it’s not surprising to learn of the square’s literary heritage, too. Tavistock House was home to Charles Dickens between 1851 and 1860 and it was here that he wrote wrote Bleak House, Hard Times, and A Tale of Two Cities. There is also a bust in the square of novelist Virginia Woolf, whose family home was nearby.

 

Our apartment was originally two apartments, but these have now been joined to create one unusually large apartment. All the principal rooms overlook Tavistock Square’s pretty gardens from the apartment’s prime sixth floor position.  At the time of writing this article, this apartment has gone under offer, over the asking price.  We are looking avidly for similar flats to sell in Tavistock Square, so please contact our Bloomsbury & Kings Cross Office – Tel: 020 7387 0077

 

March 23, 2015

New hotel and bar brings Hoxton to Holborn

Holborn’s hottest new venue is without doubt the Hoxton Hotel on High Holborn, recently visited by our staff at Frank Harris & Co.  It occupies that otherwise nondescript strip that separates Holborn from New Oxford Street and from the outside isn’t much to look at. In fact, you’d be excused for walking past and missing it entirely. That’s not too surprising when you find out that the building was formerly a BT office block.

Once you step inside though you can’t fail to be wowed. As the name suggests, the Hoxton Hotel has more of an edgy east London style that you usually find in refined Holborn. That’s explained by the fact that this is a sister hotel to the original Hoxton Hotel that opened in Shoreditch in 2006.

The ground floor is taken up by Hubbard & Bell, a bar and restaurant run by Soho House Group and on the Thursday night we visit is rammed with after-work drinkers and diners.

Design wise it’s similar to the Hoxton Hotel. Mingling with leather sofas and brick walls painted a sparse white are retro school chairs and teak stereo cabinets.  There’s a bar along one side and at the back is the main restaurant that describes itself as catering for all appetites: “Think big portions of all kinds of meat, truffle chips and banana splits.”

After a couple of Proseccos at the packed bar we head to the restaurant and it doesn’t disappoint. On the side of the room are comfy looking booths with yellow leather seats but being a two we’re shown to a communal table in the middle of the room. This is a bit of a squeeze but on the plus side you can eavesdrop on your neighbours’ conversations and get a close up of their food. There’s a lot of “I like the look of what you’ve ordered” going on. At one stage I’m tempted to ask for a taste of the burger that’s been plonked down in the front of the lady to my left but I manage to restrain myself.

I’m glad I didn’t as the chicken I order is huge. Described simply as ‘leg, breast, tomato ailoi’ this is a big slab of tender barbequed bird with a subtle tomato flavour. My companion has the turbot which she said was excellent and the only let down is the rather greasy chips. The star of the show though was the side dish of kale with caesar dressing. Which only goes to prove that healthy food can be tasty. Who knew?

As well as the restaurant – packed from breakfast onwards according to our friendly waitress – the hotel has 174 rooms, the Chicken Shop restaurant in the basement that only serves spit roasted chicken, a nail bar and in a separat  e café next door, the Holborn Grind espresso bar.

Hoxton Hotel is a vibrant, fun venue doing its bit to bring a little bit of east London into Holborn. We’ll drink (and eat) to that.

The Hoxton Hotel is only a short walk from our Southampton Row office where you’ll find loads of properties for sale or rent in the area.

For more details of the Hoxton Hotel go to www.thehoxton.com where you’ll find copies of all their menus.

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Covent Garden, Mansion Flat, WC2H £1,000,000

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Ormonde Mansions, Southampton Row, WC1B £1,250,000

 

March 19, 2015

Pop into our refurbished Marchmont Street office and meet new senior sales negotiator Lucy Oakley

IMG_3124As you may have noticed if you’ve passed by recently, our Marchmont Street office has had a stunning makeover.

The new interior matches our branding and is bright and comfortable. We’ve also got new window displays to showcase our properties. The windows let in lots of light and from the outside you can peer in and watch us beavering away.

Andrew Sorene, Group Director, who is based in the office says: “We all love the new decor. It’s a fantastic working environment and perfect for meeting clients and applicants. Hopefully this will cement our position as Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia and King’s Cross’s number one estate agent.”

Next time you are in the area, why not pop in to say hello and have a look round. If you do, you’ll be able to meet our newest member of staff, Lucy Oakley.

Lucy spent the last 10 years of her career in St Johns Wood before deciding to make an exciting change and join Frank Harris & Co.

Says Lucy: “I love London and I love weekends spent exploring all it has to offer: Spitalfields with its on trend vibe, Covent Garden’s more touristy feel, the hidden garden squares, farmers markets and flea markets, even blue plaque hunting.”Lucy Oakley Black White

Lucy, who is mum to an 18-month-old little girl, Annie Oakley, describes herself as chatty and positive, full of enthusiasm and joy de vivre.  “Sell or buy yourself a home through me and you’re guaranteed to be in safe, knowledgeable and positive hands,” she says.

So, do come in to have a look around and say hello to Lucy. We’ll even make you a nice cup of tea or a coffee.

 

March 13, 2015

London goes green – for St Patrick’s Day

St-Patricks-Day-300x257There’s no doubt about it, the Irish know how to throw a decent party. So it’s no surprise that us Londoners are so keen to celebrate St Patrick’s Day every year.

The festival of Ireland’s patron saint actually takes place on Tuesday 17 March but there’s no need to wait until then to start enjoying the ‘craic’. London’s official shindig takes place on Sunday 15 March when around a quarter of a million people will join the St Patrick’s Day parade through central London.

Headed by former boxer Barry McGuigan, the procession of floats and marching bands starts in Green Park, before making its way along Piccadilly and Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. In the square there will be a celebration of all things Irish. As well as lots and lots of people dressed in green you’ll find Irish music, a food market, a children’s theatre and a comedy festival. For more information go to www.london.gov.uk.

For something a little different, dance the night away at what’s being billed as the highest St Patrick’s event in Europe. The Shard is hosting a St Patrick’s Day Silent Disco on its Level 69 viewing gallery. The choice of music from the resident DJs will include one channel that only plays Irish folk and ceilidh music. The evening kicks off with a glass of Jameson Irish whiskey and ginger ale to get you in the mood and there’s also Guinness on tap in case you start flagging.

If all that dancing sounds far too energetic, why not visit one of London’s traditional Irish pubs for a glass of the black stuff?

The tiny Harp pub in Covent Garden is renowned for its beer having recently been voted CAMRA National Pub of the Year. On a grander scale entirely is Covent Garden’s Porterhouse, the London outpost of Dublin’s Porterhouse Brewing Co. This vast pub is set over 12 levels and sells a range of beers including no less than three stouts. If stout’s not your thing try their Brain Blasta, which they describe as a ‘strong’ ale. At 7%, when they say strong, they mean strong.

The Tipperary at 66 Fleet Street dates back to the 15th century and claims to be the first pub to serve Guinness outside the Emerald Isle. This pub has all the charm of a traditional Irish boozer and sells no less that 16 Irish whiskeys.

We hope you enjoy your St Paddy’s Day. You’ll know you’ve had a good one when you not only wake up the following morning wearing something green, you also look green, too.

Happy St Paddy’s Day from all at Frank Harris & Co.

March 4, 2015

Beautiful Barbican

202805_BAR140319DOur lovely small style Type F1a studio is in Breton House, which is on the North of the Barbican Estate. The studio faces West and has a lovely view over the podium, benefitting from an abundance of sunshine in the afternoons and evenings. On the Eastern side of the block, the view is across to the East of London and looks down over neighbouring Whitecross Street.  Whitecross Street is a vibrant marketplace, the permanent home to a large Waitrose and many eclectic bars and restaurants, vintage barber shops and beauty salons and a quirky collection of art galleries; whilst every lunch time the street hosts an exciting food market where one can sample delights from every corner of the globe.

In particular, there is one local businesses which the team at Frank Harris & Co. City Office can wholeheartedly recommend: Taylored Framing Ltd. can be found next to the Curious Duke Gallery on Whitecross Street. If you need anything framing from old cinema posters, to African street art, to more corporate shots for the office; Alan Dean of Taylored Framing Ltd. is the man for the job. Having met Alan several times, he always shows such an enthusiasm for whatever piece of art is put before him, his ability to see the amazing difference the right style of frame can make, is both astonishing and extremely gifted- he has transformed many mediocre bits and pieces of mine into legitimate artworks which I am proud to have on my walls!

Taylored Framing Ltd. can be found at 173 Whitecross Street EC1Y 8JT and viewings of the sublime, bijoux studio in Breton House can be arranged by calling Frank Harris & Co. City Office on 020 7600 7000 or by emailing city@frankharris.co.uk.

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February 26, 2015

Cathedral with connections

202805_BAR150018L202805_BAR150018It is not hard to see the benefits of living in EC1, an area which seems to grow more exciting and diverse every week. With new exciting developments completing in the area in the next few years, such as Crossrail (completion 2018) and a new Redrow scheme coming to the Barbican in the shape of the old YMCA tower on Fann Street; now is as good a time as any to buy into EC1.

The area has a lively, village feel to it, with Charterhouse Square as the green heart and many unique, local businesses can be found in the cobbled streets which lead off it. The quarter has an endless supply of bars and restaurants from high end eateries such as Smith’s of Smithfield and Club Gascon to sweet, trendy little coffee joints like Ask for Janice. 202805_BAR150018A  202805_BAR150018DHistoric attractions like The Charterhouse and Smithfield Market for example, are just as at home here in EC1 as offices, restaurants and residential buildings.

Frank Harris & Co. have just taken on a fantastic property in Cathedral Lodge, a smart portered building nestled between Charterhouse Square and The Barbican Estate. Nicely positioned to enjoy Farringdon, The City and Islington to the North. The property has two bedrooms, one with an ensuite bathroom and is in immaculate condition with wooden floors throughout. The kitchen and bathrooms are very good quality, having been updated within the last five years with good quality, John Lewis fittings. The property is quiet and peaceful despite its excellent, central location and has an abundance of natural light due to the large windows found in each room. A secure parking space is the cherry on the cake of this brilliant offering. Please call the City office on 020 7600 7000 to book a viewing.

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February 13, 2015

A virtually stress free way to buy #property in #London!

Filed under: Latest News — Tags: , , , , — Frank Harris @ 3:41 pm

Technology is driving the way we do pretty much everything these days and estate agency in central London is certainly no exception.

The internet has completely changed the way that we buy and sell houses; photos, floor plans, interactive street view and much more are all available at our fingertips at any time of day or night. Minor improvements to this service have crept in over the last few years thanks to pioneers like Rightmove and Zoopla but the time has now come for the next major change in how we view properties.

Frank Harris & Co. have been using virtual tours thanks to Inspired Labs since the middle of 2013 and our clients have already reaped enormous benefits from this latest technological advancement.

Sam - Black and White“Many of the buyers that have bought through us over the last twelve months simply would not have been able to commit to these properties without the use of this superb technology,” says Sam Ball, Sales Manager at Frank Harris & Co.’s midtown office: “The world is getting smaller, this has been well known for years; many of the buyers currently purchasing in central London are coming from overseas and even the buyers that are already based in London tend to be phenomenally busy in their own careers. Making time to view properties, whether for their own occupation or for investment purposes, is harder than ever. What the virtual tour does is enable potential buyers to view properties from the comfort of their own home or office, allowing them to pick and choose which properties they visit in person. The tours are fully interactive, meaning that you can quite literally walk through the property at your leisure. This technology is here to stay and I don’t think it will be too long before all agents are taking this up through fear of being left behind.”Andrew SoreneBW

Frank Harris & Co have been helping people to buy and sell their homes in central London for more than 30 years and are held in high regard by local residents. “Getting ahead of the technological curve is not always an easy thing to do but on this occasion I think we have introduced this product at precisely the right time,” said Andrew Sorene, Group Director, who has been with Frank Harris in Bloomsbury and Midtown for more than 25 years himself. “Amazingly, I think we may be the only estate agent in the immediate local area who is offering the fully interactive room by room tours to our clients.”

To view one of these fully interactive virtual tours for yourself please visit frankharris.co.uk or scan the QR code below. If you would like more information about this fantastic new technology or if you have any queries about the property market in general please contact Sam Ball on 0207 405 4444.QR Code

January 30, 2015

Flat For Sale in Poirot’s Whitehaven Mansions

202805_BAR150003Star of 33 books, 1 play and over 50 short stories spanning a lifetime of more than 50 years, Hercule Poirot is one of the literary icons of the 20th century and synonymous with the diminutive Belgian Detective is his Mayfair home of Whitehaven Mansions. When a number of the books were serialised for the small screen during the late 1980’s, television producers scoured London’s property scene in search of the perfect building to replicate the 1930’s Art Deco Whitehaven Mansions that had been so meticulously described in the books. After compiling and subsequently whittling down a long list of potentially suitable blocks the producers decided upon Florin Court in Clerkenwell.

Florin Court is a ten-storey block of flats that was built between 1935 and 1937 (almost the exact scope of the television series chronology) for Charterhouse Ltd by architects Guy Morgan & 202805_BAR150003MPartners and builders J. Gerrard & Sons. In 1988, the block was refurbished and modernised for Regalian Properties at a cost of about £2 million by architects Hildebrand & Glicker. That was when the building acquired its current name, Florin Court. More importantly, however, this was also exactly when the first series of Poirot started shooting.

The serendipity of the find was almost too good to be true, at the precise time they needed to commence filming a block precisely matching the description of Whitehaven Mansions, lovingly restored to former glories and entirely devoid of occupants was found. Unfortunately the vacant nature of the block was not going to last and as such the producers set about filming every conceivable angle of the block and its environs, in light and darkness, for a 72 hour non-stop period. But for a few exceptions in later incarnations, the footage shot that weekend has been used to recreate Whitehaven Mansions ever since.

In post Poirot days Florin Court has maintained its’ reputation as one of the most sought after blocks in Clerkenwell. Sitting around the historic Charterhouse Square the building offers superb facilities to its residents including a swimming pool and roof garden with stunning panoramic views west across London.

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December 16, 2014

Lettings & Property Management Services from Frank Harris & Co.

202806_ROW140130BFrank Harris & Co. would be delighted to provide you with a seamless lettings and property management service for your buy-to-let investment property, or portfolio of investment properties. We operate from our well-established offices across central London, offering a range of stunning properties, from studio apartments through to large family homes. All of our offices are linked through industry specific software which contains the properties’ attributes and details; we record tenant requirements and send out electronic alerts when suitable matches are found.

Client management and service excellence

In order to work successfully for you we make sure that we listen carefully to your specific requirements and deliver on the services we promise, aiming to exceed your expectations whenever possible. The starting point is our people; your dedicated team would bring together the relevant mix of sector, client management, lettings and property management expertise. We enjoy unrivalled knowledge of the areas local to our offices and we are willing and able to respond to any enquiries you may have. Our experienced teams are industry qualified and able to deal with all levels of enquiries.  As the only current firm of estate agents to take up membership to the Institute of Customer Service, we have placed client service firmly at the top of our business agenda, carrying out the necessary audits and staff training in order to attain accreditation from this highly-regarded organisation.  We work hard to provide a flexible, bespoke service to our clients. By listening closely, the Frank Harris & Co. teams will take time to hear the things that others can miss.

Knowledge and experience – an unrivalled track record

We have a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from working with other Landlords and high profile corporate companies and we would be happy to discuss this in further detail with you. We believe that the talent and experience that Frank Harris and Company can offer is unequalled.

Compliance

Our dedicated, experienced property management department ensures that our managed properties are fully compliant with all safety regulations (including Gas Safety, Electrical Safety and Furniture and Furnishings Acts) and that they meet with the Association of Regulated Lettings Agents (ARLA) standards; this provides an assurance to our clients that we are specialist advisors on the letting process, from the initial enquiry through to ending the tenancy and handling the deposit.

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Frank Harris and Company is confident of the value its staff will bring to you. Tracey Cumming, as Head of Lettings, and Wendy Akast, as Head of Property management, will work hard to ensure that we deliver beyond the required service levels to you; that we exceed your expectations and that our relationship with you is managed effectively at all levels.

We believe that good communication is key to successful collaborative working and we are completely committed to ensuring we maintain an ongoing, effective dialogue with you.

Costs

We are able to offer very competitive rates and would be happy to discuss this in further detail once we progress to the next stage.

Why Frank Harris & Co.?

  • An unrivalled knowledge of the property sector;
  • A bespoke estate agent with an existing property management department, enhanced continually over the years;
  • Innovative leadership which provides a dedicated resource of highly experienced people ready to facilitate your immediate needs;
  • A single point of contact for Landlord and Tenant in Property Management;
  • Access to an experienced and trusted portfolio of Contractors;
  • Regular property inspections with full written report and photos.

December 9, 2014

The Great Christmas Pudding Race

Victoria George Fran Rob Tina Rob (1) - CopyThe morning of Saturday 6th December saw Tina Evans, Georgina Rabl, Francesca Phillips & Victoria Ogilvie from the Frank Harris & Co. City Office take part in the Annual Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden. The four ladies made up the ‘Property Puddings’ team alongside two colleagues from Jackson-Stops & Staff; Robert Dawson from the Pimlico branch and Robert Butterworth from the Holland Park Office.The Pudding - Copy

The morning consisted of a costume parade which saw the six ‘Property Puddings’ model their fetching Christmas Pudding hats and branded t-shirts. The competitors then took part in a Zumba workout to warm themselves up as the weather was bitterly cold! This lead to the event itself- an obstacle course relay race throughout which all the competitors were carrying a Christmas Pudding! The course included several inflatable obstacles, whipped cream and icing sugar. Everyone that took part had such fun and it was made all the more worthwhile due to the £1100.00 raised so far for Cancer Research.

November 13, 2014

Just launched: Two new developments in historic #SouthBank buildings

West Apartment Bear Pitt2It’s not often you get the chance to buy a new build South Bank home set in a historic building. But this month we’ve launched two new schemes, each with a fascinating history.

The Bear Pit takes its name from the 16th century theatre and bear-baiting arena that once stood on the site. You can see it clearly shown on London’s oldest surviving map, published by Braun and Hogenberg in 1572.

To modern ears, bear-baiting doesn’t sound much fun but it was hugely popular in Tudor times. Thankfully those days are long past and it’s now a Grade II listed building that has been converted into two meticulously designed duplex apartments. Properties of such character and grandeur rarely come onto the market as new builds.Bear Pit interior

Step out from the front door and you are in the heart of London’s BanksideThe Globe Theatre and the river Thames are literally round the corner. Few properties offer such access to sophisticated London living. The Tate Modern and Borough Market are both within 500m; Blackfriars, London Bridge and Southwark tube stations are all an easy walk.

For more details about the two apartments, Pepys House and Davies House, click here.

You would be hard pressed hard to find a Victorian building more splendid than Dover House. It has been restored to its former glory to create nine breathtaking apartments. The interiors are by the world-renowned Argent Design.

These are now being sold off plan. Completion is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2015.

Built in 1895, the building was formerly the Dover Castle Hotel and Restaurant. The ornate billiard room and mirrored grill room are fine examples of Victorian good taste and craftsmanship. This has been echoed in the development. Argent Design have spared no detail and the lavish interiors do more than justice to the majestic exterior.Dover House exterior

Dover House is located on Lower Marsh at the centre of London’s cultural quarter. It’s a short stroll the Old and Young Vic theatres, the National Theatre and the South Bank’s eclectic bars and restaurants. A hop over Waterloo Bridge and you’re in Covent Gardens and the West End’s shops and theatres. Or, if your taste buds are twitching you can wander down the road to sample the delights of nearby Borough Market.

For more details about Dover House, click here.

November 11, 2014

6 tips for making buying or selling your home less stressful

Filed under: Latest News — Tags: , , , , , , — Frank Harris @ 11:34 am

Buying or selling a property is the most stressful part of modern life, according to a recent report. The anxiety of moving is rated as worse than being made redundant or even getting divorced. The reasons for the sleepless nights include the huge sums involved, slow solicitors and the risk of the deal falling through, to name but a few.

To help you move home without having to tear your hair out, Sam Ball, sales manager of our Bloomsbury office, gives us his top tips.

1.  Consider holding an open day

Holding viewings can be disruptive and it’s stressful having to keep your home tidy all the time. One way round this is to hold an open day. This can create a buzz around your property and help find a buyer in a short space of time.

2.  Get a good solicitor

Don’t shop solely on price: the cheapest solicitor is unlikely to be the best. Engage one who has been recommended to you and knows the area you are selling or buying your home in. This is likely to be the biggest transaction you ever undertake so getting the right solicitor is important.

3.  Put your home on the market for the right price

You will want to maximize the amount you sell for, of course, but if your asking price is too high you risk having it on the market for months on end. Worse still, it can get stale so may not sell even if you later reduce the price. Make sure your estate agent can justify the asking price they suggest to you.

4.  Instruct your solicitor as soon as your home goes on the market

Ask your solicitor to prepare a draft contact and apply for the title deeds before you have even secured a buyer. This can shave weeks off the time it takes to exchange contracts.

5.  Get all your paperwork in order

Sam - Black and WhiteYour buyer will want to see all the planning permissions, building regulations consents, FENSA and other guarantees relating to your property. Having this paperwork to hand can save frustrating delays on your sale.

6.  Ask your agent questions

Buying or selling a home is complex and stressful and it’s not always easy to know what’s going on or why it is being delayed. Don’t be shy to tap into your agent’s expertise to find out what is going on or to explain the reason for any hold ups.

Sam can be found at our office on 104 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4BN. You can contact him on 020 7405 4444 or at samball@frankharris.co.uk.

November 10, 2014

7 interior design tips and trends for 2015

Filed under: Latest News — Tags: , , , , , — Frank Harris @ 12:12 pm

One of the more interesting aspects of being an estate agent is seeing so many different interiors. Some are stylish and elegant, while others are, let’s just say, less inviting.

We know how tricky it can be to get that perfect design inspiration. Today’s fashions change so quickly, it’s hard to know what’s ‘now’ and what’s as dated as avocado bathrooms.

To help you through the maze of interior design, we spoke to interior designer Rebecca Allan, of Alexander James Interior Design. Rebecca recently designed the beautiful show home for the Bear Pit apartments that we have just launched on the South Bank. She talked to us about the trends we can expect to see in 2015 and gave us her top tips for transforming your home.

1. Boutique bedrooms

“A lot of our clients want a bedroom that feels as luxurious as a five star hotel but has the warm feeling of home. A sou140170_04classic way to achieve this is to start with a ‘wow’ bed. Add a subtle fabric headboard that blends in with the other materials in the room, plenty of lamps to create atmosphere and scattered cushions, throws and furs for a sensuous feel. If a bed with endless cushions isn’t your thing, opt for beautiful bedding with decorative piping and edging to create a refined finish.”

2. Panelled walls

“If you have the budget, panelled walls give a special sophistication to flat surfaces. These can be upholstered in linen, suede or even leather, adding interest and shape to what could be a bland, flat wall.”

3. Artwork

“Be bold with your artwork. It’s a great way to add a burst of colour without being too full on. For the Bear Pit, I chose a neutral, almost white backdrop to keep the space feeling light and airy. I then commissioned an artist to produce bespoke pieces that incorporated the colours and tones I’d chosen for the cushion fabrics and flowers.”

4. Dress your bathroom to perfection

“People love extravagant hotel bathrooms. It’s amazing how a few rolls of thick white towels, flowers and the display of high end toiletry products can transform any bathroom into a luxurious high-end space.”

5. From runway to room

“Clothing designers aren’t the only ones influenced by fashion week. Well-received colours and prints often find their way into the interior design world, too. Next year, I expect to see textile designs incorporating loose geometric shapes, hand painted techniques and blurred lines influenced by Asian and Moroccan designs. I also anticipate lots of blues and yellows.”

Bear Pit interior6. Brass, gold and antique

“We’ve seen a lot of chrome over the last few years but this is now being replaced with brass, gold, silver leaf and antique finishes. A lot of new furniture and fixtures in 2015 will have these elegant finishes.”

7. The finishing touches

“Less is more when it comes to choosing decorative objects for your home. Ditch the clutter and stick to key pieces that reflect your taste and style. It’s much better to spend your budget on a selection of impacting pieces that you love instead of a collection of purposeless accessories.”

November 7, 2014

Bloomsbury flat for sale once belonged to British comedy legend

bea28fc5-c132-4821-9e3b-0eaecd81f232Bloomsbury is well known for its blue plaques. Lift your head as you wander the streets and you’ll see them adorning the homes once lived in by literary and scientific giants such as Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Charles Darwin, to name but a few.  It’s not all writers and scientists though.

A rather unspectacular mansion block in Ridgmont Gardens was the unlikely first London address of reggae artist Bob Marley.

And a few minutes’ walk away in Marchmont Street is a plaque that bears the name of one Britain’s best-loved comedians, Kenneth Williams.

Born in Caledonian Road in 1926, at the age of nine Williams moved with his family to a flat above the barber shop his father ran at 57 Marchmont Street. It’s still a hairdressers today.

Williams, who is best known for starring in the Carry On films (he appeared in 26 of the 31 that were made), lived there until he was 30. The plaque in his honour was unveiled by radio presenter Nicholas Parsons as recently as 2009.mar140124_08

In fact, Williams spent most of his life in flats in and around the area. One of these was in Endsleigh Court on Upper Woburn Place. He paid £800 for his lease in this imposing 1930′s block.

Scottish comedian Stanley Baxter once suggested to Williams that they share the flat as work was bringing him to London. “I could no more share a flat with anyone than I could fly,” was Williams’ tart response. You can imagine him saying it in his trademark nasal drawl.

Williams lived there for three years during the late 1950′s and his diaries reveal how much he enjoyed it there.

Frank Harris & Co. have been instructed to sell the flat and it’s on the market for £395,000. It is just off Tavistock Square, less than a five-minute walk to Euston Station. It has recently been painted and measures 34sq m. For more details, click here.

This is a chance to live in a property that once belonged to a British comedy legend.   Please call our Marchmont Street office on 020 7387 0077 or at info@frankharris.co.uk

November 4, 2014

Parade Around EC4

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Image Courtesy of the Lord Mayor’s Show

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a time old tradition which has taken place in the City of London since the 16th Century. The Lord Mayor of London represents solely the City of London; the title is bestowed on a new candidate each year following elections at Common Hall comprising Livery Men from all of the City’s Livery Companies.  The new Lord Mayor is sworn in during the second week of November, the day before the Lord Mayor’s Parade.

Originally the parade was a flotilla of barges going down the Thames from the City to the Royal Cour202805_BAR140246Ets in the City of Westminster. 1856 was the last year the show went by barge, it has taken place on dry land ever since. The state coach was commissioned for the parade in 1757, this was considered a much safer way for the Mayor on which to make his way to Westminster following an incident with a drunken flower girl one previous year which resulted in the Lord Mayor falling from his horse and breaking his leg! The procession starts at Guildhall and weaves its way through the City of London winding up at The Strand to where the Royal Courts of Justice have been located since moving from Westminster in 1882.

202805_BAR140246CThis year, the parade will be on Saturday 8th November. The procession meanders past St Paul’s Cathedral and Ludgate Circus not far from where Frank Harris & Co. have taken on a charming one bedroom property on Carter Lane. Situated along one of London’s historic lanes, this second floor property takes advantage of large window which light up the bright living room with open plan kitchen. The bedroom has gorgeous high ceilings and a walk-in wardrobe. A separate marble shower room puts the cherry on top of this fantastic City flat. Please give Frank Harris & Co. a call on 020 7600 7000 to book a viewing.

 

October 28, 2014

Look Mum No Hands!

Filed under: Latest News — Tags: , , , , , , — Frank Harris @ 3:45 pm

ViewLook Mum No Hands! is an exciting local business on Old Street and makes for the perfect place for those who like cycling, coffee and beer in no particular order!

Head to the café during the day for an artesian coffee and slice of homemade chocolate Guinness cake; take your bike with you as there are two workshops on the premises to facilitate any repairs or improvements on your set of (two) wheels. Later on and perhaps once the bike has been safely put away for the evening, head there for a craft beer while you watch all major cycling events shown on the big screens.

This fantastic local business is just one of the varied array you will find in the Old Street area. Frank Harris & Co. are delighted to have this two bedroom property for sale on Old Street; featuring a large open plan reception room, a brand new kitchen, two bathrooms and two double bedrooms- topped off by a South-facing roof terrace with views over the City skyline. Please call Frank Harris & Co. City Office to view this wonderful property.

Reception Photo

October 24, 2014

Delights of Smithfield

202805_BAR120133CVictoria from our Long Lane Office was very kindly treated to lunch by some future clients of Frank Harris & Co. at Smiths of Smithfield. Home to four different dining spaces, Smiths is one of the many exciting eating houses Farringdon has to offer and it certainly did not disappoint as a lunch venue.

 

Each of the four floors offer a different experience: the ground floor is a relaxed bar which serves food all day- the décor is quite industrial which reflects the working nature of the environment in Smithfield; the first floor is a lounge style cocktail bar with softer interiors than the floor below. Moving up the building the second floor restaurant has an open kitchen with darker tables which add a sophisticated feel to the exposed brick walls; the top floor restaurant is the epitome of fine dining- the white table cloths and bright view over the meat market and local rooftops make this floor feel truly ethereal.

Victoria enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the Second Floor Dining Room. The provenance of the main ingredients is listed on the right-hand side of the menu with most of the meat produce making the short journey from butchers located in Smithfield Meat Market (Central London’s only fully operational meat market) just across 202805_BAR120133the road; some cuts of beef are even butchered on site at the restaurant! Three out of four of the party enjoyed an escallop of Wagyu veal cooked in parmesan and capers with a rocket salad which from all accounts was absolutely delicious; the other member of the group enjoyed a Thai-style shredded beef salad which had quite a kick! Pudding did not disappoint either as the party devoured a salted caramel cheesecake topped with caramelised pear and toffee popcorn.

The restaurant comes highly recommended, the atmosphere was lively evening at lunch time, the staff too were both helpful and knowledgeable making for a brilliant dining experience all round. Farringdon has so many amazing restaurants on offer it can be hard to choose although Smiths would be high up on our list as one of the best. Located just around the corner of this eatery is Florin Court, a beautiful art-deco building previously used in the filming of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Frank Harris & Co. are proud to be marketing a charming studio flat with the most astonishing views over St Paul’s Cathedral and the rest of The City. The building has fabulous facilities including its own swimming pool; not to mention this property is five minutes away from Farringdon Station a future stop on Cross Rail which makes it a fantastic investment.

202805_BAR120133G

October 23, 2014

Life Is Sweet!

Filed under: Latest News — Frank Harris @ 12:25 pm

PuddingWe were delighted to hear about the forthcoming 34th Great Christmas Pudding Race, being held in aid of the extremely worthwhile Cancer Research UK. Members of staff from Frank Harris & Co and our sister company, Jackson-Stops & Staff are busy preparing their costumes for this fantastic event, which kicks off at 11am with the obstacle course race in Covent Garden. There will be plenty of fun and entertainment for all the family, with some guest celebrities thrown in for good measure, so do come along and show your support. Last year’s Great Christmas Pudding Race raised an incredible £21,000, but they are hoping to beat that amount this year. Please click here to donate and we look forward to sharing photos of Tina Evans, Victoria Ogilvie, Georgina Rabl, Rob Dawson, Francesca Phillips and Robert Butterworth dressed as puddings on the day!

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