The famous former Mayfair mews-studio of fashion photographer Terence Donovan at 28-30 Bourdon Street, now a 5,788 sqft five bedroom uber-luxury house after a James Bond inspired makeover by design house Candy & Candy, is for sale for £18 million through estate agent Wetherell.
The house has a glittering history that combines the worlds of celebrity, fashion, rock-music and television. It has a Grade II listed Queen Anne style Victorian-era red brick façade with large windows, feature brickwork and elegant gables.
The property was originally built in 1890-92 by Jonathan Andrews, the Mayfair contractor who also built nearby Mount Street. It originally served as horse-shoeing premises, owned by the Metropolitan Horse Shoeing Company, who groomed horses and repaired carriages for the aristocracy and high society of Mayfair. In 1910 the carriage company went into liquidation and the building was converted into a mews property and served as artisan’s studios.
Between 1978 to 1996 the property became the photography and film studio of fashion photographer and film director Terence Donovan (1936-1996). Along with David Bailey, Stepney born Donovan became famous for his fashion and celebrity photography which captured the mood of the Swinging London of the 1960s. Together, Donovan and Bailey were the first real celebrity photographers.
In the studio and the street outside Donovan photographed famous names including Twiggy, Nancy Kwan, Grace Coddington, Cindy Crawford, Lennox Lewis, Bryan Ferry and Richard Attenborough and processed photography shoots for magazines including Vogue, Marie-Claire, Harpers Bazaar and Sunday Times Magazine.
It was in the property that Donovan edited his first feature film, Yellow Dog, completed in 1975 and between 1980-1996 the studios were used to produce music videos for celebrities including Robert Palmer, Liza Minnelli, Toyah, Julio Iglesias, Rod Stewart and Marianne Faithfull. During the 1980s they were also used to process numerous shoots of Donovan’s favourite VIP client, Diana Princess of Wales.
The studios were also used to produce over 3,000 television commercials for famous brands ranging from food products to automobiles to clothing items. Such is the fame of the studios that a Westminster Green Commemorative Plaque was placed on the front wall of the building following Donovan’s death in 1996, and in 2012 bronze statues by sculptor Neal French showing Terence Donovan photographing Twiggy, were placed in the street adjacent to the property.
In 2003 the studios, by then derelict and in need of renovation, were put up for sale and acquired by new owners who then commissioned luxury design house Candy & Candy to completely transform the interiors behind the retained façade to create a new uber-luxury residence.
Given the photography and film history of the building, the design house used Ken Adam’s various sets for the James Bond films and Swinging London as the inspiration for the remodelled interiors.
Behind the retained façade, steps lead down into a dramatic double-height open plan reception space fashioned from Egyptian grey stone with light cascading in through the vast period windows to one side. The double-height space is cleverly divided with a mezzanine living area above and a dining area, reception and kitchen/breakfast room below.
From the 18ft high ceiling hangs a bespoke 7 tonne steel chandelier with a black metal finish providing mood lighting for both the mezzanine and floor below. On the lower floor the dining area is double-height with a bespoke table seating 14-16 people and glass flooring providing views down into the 15 metre swimming pool in the leisure complex in the basement below.
Adjoining the dining area is a raised lounge area and drinks bar with a glass walled ‘champagne wall’ where 400 bottles of champagne or fine wines can be chilled and illuminated. Off the dining area is the open plan “Rolls Royce quality” kitchen/breakfast room which has a bespoke design with metallic lacquer units, stainless steel worktops, marble topped central island/breakfast bar and Gaggenau and Wolf integrated appliances.
The mezzanine living area overlooks the dining room below and is divided into lounge and media room areas with a large cinema-style plasma screen on one wall. The space has Carrera marble slab flooring, bespoke lounge furniture and an electronic glass wall which slides open to reveal an outside terrace and double height ‘green wall’.
The design of the adjoining study was influenced by a 1950s Dunhill lighter and has dark stained, high gloss walnut wood joinery, dark timber desk and white marble floor. There is an Egyptian stone lined ensuite shower room off the study.
The master bedroom suite includes the bedroom, a day room, walk-in dressing room and main bathroom. The bedroom has two feature walls – a black patinated steel wall with integrated plasma screen and a leather wall behind the master bed. The day room has floor to ceiling glazing overlooking the ‘green wall’ providing a restful retreat full of natural light. The bedroom and master bathroom are divided by a glass wall with the bathroom featuring a sunken black stone Jacuzzi bath and separate marble shower room. The walk-in dressing room has dark stained walnut wood joinery with built in storage and display wardrobes.
There are three further VIP bedrooms. One has a feature stone fireplace, statement wallpaper on the ceiling in the form of a photograph of a Twiggy style model (highlighting the fashion photography history of the studios) and an ensuite bathroom. Another has a main bedroom with silver-grey stained Oak floor, a free-standing sculptural bathtub in front of the fireplace, walk-in dressing room and marble shower room.
In the lower ground floor basement of the house is the leisure complex. The centerpiece is the 15 metre lap pool with slate feature wall, illuminated by dining area glass floor above and fibre-optic lighting. A glass wall divides the pool room from the adjoining mirrored gymnasium. The leisure complex also benefits from a steam room, sauna and changing/shower facilities.
Complete with guest cloakroom, staff apartment, utility room and garage, the house has state-of-the-art integrated IT systems with centrally controlled lighting, air conditioning, music and multi-media systems.
Peter Wetherell, Chief Executive of Wetherell says: “This amazing James Bond inspired Mayfair residence was once the mews studio of legendry photographer and film producer Terence Donovan. It has been a venue for photography and films for some of the world’s most famous people from fashion, Royalty, celebrity and music. The new interiors are of exceptional quality and innovative design and the result is an outstanding home ideal for entertaining and stylish living. Located in the heart of historic Mayfair, close to Claridges and New Bond Street, the house is for sale on a freehold basis which is rare in the West End.”
Bourdon Street is a quiet mews located off New Bond Street and Davies Street in the heart of historic Mayfair. Claridges Hotel, the fashion boutiques of Bond Street, Mount Street and Berkeley Square are all on the doorstep.