The latest home design trend for billionaire property buyers in London is a glass garage where the owner can show off their supercar to admiring guests from the comfort of their sofa. A Knightsbridge house has gone on sale for £16.5m which, alongside the swimming pool, spa, bespoke wine cellar and media room that are now a given at the top of the property market, features a glass wall in the study offering a view of the garage.
James Forbes, partner at Strutt & Parker in Knightsbridge, the estate agent selling the four-bedroom Park Lodge, says he has seen a number of properties refurbished to include high-end garages. “People who are buying these properties often like cars and want to look after those cars and keep them off the street,” he says. As a result, developers have been fitting “leather dado-rails, heating and lights to guide you in”.
Clearly the developers didn’t picture this particular garage as somewhere to store a clapped-out chest freezer and some old wellies; they were probably imagining a Bugatti Veyron or a vintage E-type. However, Forbes says they have thought of everything: “What they’ve cleverly done here, something I’ve not seen before, is make it so the glass can be opaque if you need it to be. If you’ve got your grubbly old mountain bike in there after a trip round the park you don’t have to look at it.”
If, however, your Porsche is parked in there, a flick of a switch makes it visible beneath the bookshelf.
Tracy Kellett, a buying agent for wealthy clients in London, says fancy garages “are certainly a selling point for the high-net worths … if you’ve spent millions (not uncommon) on cars, you want to be able to show them off to friends in a suitable showcase”.
She adds that she’s seen heated and white-floored garages designed for those who want to display their collection. Meanwhile, Joe Burns, of super-prime property developer Oliver Burns, says one home he developed included a glass showcase for a car, another a display for motorbikes.
Forbes says that in these prime London properties “parking doesn’t necessarily add a lot of money but it is a very desirable feature”. And, strangely, it seems that it can be more desirable the closer it is to the living room. Or should that be living vroom?
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