Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rich Russians Buy A Big House in London

Thanks to Fawning Flora across the pond in the United Kingdom, Your Mama was directed to an article in the Daily Mail which reports that London's largest private house besides Buckingham Palace was recently scooped up for a blistering £50,000,000 by Russia's richest woman Elena Baturina. Miz Baturina, who claims a building conglomerate fortune of over two billion bucks happens to be married to Yuri Luzkhov, the current mayor of Moscow.

Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals that the (alleged) purchase price converts to $100,093,500 at today's rates, a particularly mind numbing number given that the behemoth is reportedly in "a dilapidated state" and will require a tremendously expensive restoration and renovation. It's just a good thing then the new owner has more money than the damn Pope because it's going to cost her a Vatican sized fortune to renovate the (approx.) 40,000 square foot palatial pile.

Someone pass Your Mama the nerve pills because even more shocking is that the seller, a property developer named Marcus Cooper, only bought the humongous house in July of 2007 for £32,000,000 ($64,059,840) and reportedly did not even touch a floor board or tile before flipping the beast of a house to Miz Baturina at an astonishing £18,000,000 ($36,033,660) profit. In just one year. Can the children hear Your Mama gasping for breath?

Anyhoo, the ornately and exquisitely detailed Queen Anne style mega mansion called Witanhurst sits on 7(ish) acres in an area of London called Highgate and features a staggering 90 rooms including 25 bedrooms, 12 terlits, more than half a dozen reception rooms, several kitchens, a Grand Ball room that stretches seventy damn feet long and of course staff quarters up the proverbial wazoo.

Last year the really rich Russians reportedly purchased another house in hoity toity Holland Park. Now children, what does the mayor of Moscow need with two lavish and outrageously priced houses in London?

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

'what does the mayor of Moscow need with two lavish and outrageously priced houses in London?'

Two hiding places!!

bentley said...

Non-Russian toilet paper?

StPaulSnowman said...

It is just fine with me that these extremely wealthy people buy magnificent old mansions.......as long as they don't gut them and divide them up into condos. Clearly public money can only support so much preservation of magnificent historic residential architecture. The staggering losses of beautiful .but impractically grand houses, demolished since the second world war, is heartbreakingly cateloged through archival photographs in the Country Life publication, "England's Lost Houses." Now, open it up for public visits once a week and give the proceeds to the National Trust.

Anonymous said...

This place isn't historic - It's just big & has been on the market on & off for the past decade! Location sucks - if you're gonna live in London then live IN London - not way out in Highgate. Anyway, just another extremely wealthy Russian to add to the already 350,000+ that live in London - Moscow will soon be a ghost town at this rate.

Anonymous said...

Yup, it's not in the best of shape:
see
http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/wittanhurst/Wittanhurst12-500.jpg

Leah said...

Those rich Russians just *love* to hide their money in London:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/realestate/keymagazine/909RUSSIANS-t.html

Leah

Leah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

25 bedrooms but only 12 terlits? Pity the "chamber" maids.

StPaulSnowman said...

If this is new construction then it is good counterfeit. Even if the interior woodwork was moved from another, historic property, it is worth preserving. Many staircases, panels and even ceilings have been spared demolition in this way.

Londonistan Fan said...

Interesting to note the anti-Russian venom in these posts. I presume, perhaps incorrectly, that these are from British posters. Thank God a Pakistani didn't buy it or we would have heard worse.

Anonymous said...

Damn Russian Brides, get you every time.

Anonymous said...

"Thank God a Pakistani didn't buy it or we would have heard worse"

What? Pakistanis have been a huge part of the U.K for the past 50 years or so ... I've never met any British person that has had any issues with those from Pakistan - Especially in London which is the most ethnically diverse city on the planet - people just don't care.

Unless of course you're talking about a few British born Pakistanis who are brainwashed at mosques & are hellbent on causing catastrophe & carnage ... just look at the huge case of the past few months, 8 British muslims planning to blow up 7 U.K-U.S planes above the Atlantic ... In cases like this, I think those targeted [Usually British, American] can call them whatever the hell we like - individuals planning to kill 2000+ people above the Atlantic don't deserve any god damn respect!

O.K, back to real estate.

Alessandra said...

Does anyone else feel like rich Russian is becoming very similar to what rich Japanese was in the 1980's? Just me then? Okay.

Londonistan fan said...

Anon 11:17........what are you smoking?......."never met any British who has had any issues with those from Pakistan" Ever seen a British film or TV show?

Flora said...

You can ogle the floorplans at Knight Frank where they still have the listing up.

Anonymous said...

Are the Russians buying in the USA?
I have not heard about many rich Russians in Southern California. We have plenty of poor Russians in West Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of poor Russians where I live to. But I don't like Russian or other kleptocrats, so...there may be some venom.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem most people have with Russians is that they are EXTREMELY tacky. Most Western Europeans who are as wealthy would never show such vulgar taste. Or people that grew up with money I should say.

Trudy said...

Not to defend Russians deep affection for Versace type interiors, but I don't think all these rich west europeans are immune from vulgar taste...Let's face it...all these houses that Russians are buying were built by English people...and Buckingham Palace is the very apex of a vulgar display of wealth.

StPaulSnowman said...

Trudy, Trudy, Trudy...............lack of taste, vulgarity and tackiness know no national boundries. Ask Mr. Trump. I think great wealth is like the designer gene. More is better, why have one lamp on a table when you can have three? How about some miniatures AND a stack of old books......a chenille throw? It is endless. The very wealthy are simply able to be tasteless on a collossal scale. Still.........even a small house can have a lime green kitchen and pink carpet.

mimi bobeck said...

WELL! I NEVER! That is the last time I invite you to spend the weekend stpaulsnowman! I thought you liked my table with 5 lamps, my collection of troll miniatures, and my pink carpeted lime green kitchen.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference. Buckingham Palace is from a time when that was pretty standard design for that type of property. Making something not nearly as old look like a Russians Versace dream comes across as tacky. Though I do agree, Trump properties are completely tasteless. If I lived in his penthouse in Trump Tower I would need a huge box of vicodins and a bottle of goose for the headache inducing interior design.

Live from London said...

Buckingham Palace if far from tacky It's full of the finest paintings,furniture and decorative arts that money CAN'T buy, plus it was always meant to be a place to entertain visiting heads of state etc.

StPaulSnowman said...

Mimi Bobeck.........my deepest apology.......if you reconsider and invite me over, I will bring you a lava lamp and a clear lucite toilet seat with coins embedded in it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.30 a.m., according to the description athttp://www.hamhigh.co.uk/wittanhurst/, the original home was built in the 1800s, bought in 1913 and added on (completed in 1920). Sounds historic to me.

Fabulous woodwork, fabulous interiors...say, can anyone loan me $100 million? I'll pay you back when I get my tax return, honest!

lil' gay boy said...

Vulgarity knows no bounds; to be honest, there are even rooms in Buckingham Palace that, if we didn't know or believe to be chock full of priceless works of art & antiques, would frankly strike us as overdone, pretentious and perhaps even a little tacky, regardless of their intended use.

But since they are provenance-laden, we ogle and swoon and ooooo and aaaahh.

But you can bet you bottom dollar that sometime in history there must have been somewhere in the private apartments that a little splash of lime green or neon pink festooned something…

Live from London said...

The flashy Russian taste, although not to my liking, is lots of fun and gives us all something to gag and giggle over. Just imagine what the ancient Greeks said about those upstarts the Romans!
Romans went to Greece and just dismantled whole buildings and took them back to Rome. Trophy properties are not a new thing!

sandpiper said...

So, Mama, is this room (pictured) where the pizza boy waits for his tip?

StPaulSnowman said...

LGB makes a good point about the inherent respect for provenance and historic context being distinct from personal style and taste. I have ooohed and ahhhhhed over high Rococo decoration but I certainly wouldn't want to live in it.........or even near it. I think Buckingham Palace is an architectural fart compared to Castle Howard but I certainly respect its importance.....except for the games and pool house Donald Trump is planning to add 'round back.

Anonymous said...

Quote: but I don't think all these rich west europeans are immune from vulgar taste...

Not to mention Trump taste.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I conceed that London has more expensive trophy properties. However, I am so sick of hearing pompous Brits perpetuating the theory that London, and its upper class residents are far wealthier than Manhattan and Manhattanites. Most of these properties are bought by foreigners, not by the English.

StPaulSnowman said...

anon 6;48 Just where have you been hearing that? It would be interesting sport to listen to the money classes of these two great cities go after each other. I am seeing a fun documentary, without that dysmorphic Moore cretin, full of interviews from great houses, flats, apartments..........with old and new money bashing each other across the pond.

Anonymous said...

"I am so sick of hearing pompous Brits perpetuating the theory that London, and its upper class residents are far wealthier than Manhattan and Manhattanites"

On this blog? But in reality there are far more billionaires in London than in NY - though Forbes often gets this wrong which has caused many newspaper articles in the London press. Anyway, "Brits" [Most hate that word by the way - it's like saying Yanks] don't usually give a damn about money & being better than the next - thats more an American thing than a British thing [I'm neither nationality so can be neutra!] but most wealthy people I know in London & NY are both Londoners & N.Y'ers & love both cities - The 2 capitals of the world, there is no need for them to go head to head & no need for their residents to go head to head. And yes, "Brits" & their fellow Europeans will always be "pompous" - or some would just say 'cultured' perhaps?

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to see just how tacky wealthy new money Russians are... Take a look at property in some of the Russian sections of Brooklyn like Sheepshead.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a nation of criminals and whores. Brooklyn, NY has suffered from the unregulated Russian immigration. The streets in my neighborhood have never been more crowded and dirtier. The insurance fraud perpetrated by these vermin is monumetal. I have never seen more medical centers, ambulettes and drugstores in my life. I am relocating to get away from these totally clueless people. They are the most ecologically challenged i have ever met. They use tree beds for trash. They wear stinky cologne and stink up the elevatorsand hallway. I do not care how much money they have obtained legally or otherwise, you cannot take the Russian mentality out of these people. They have turned this area into a ghetto!

Edward Thirlwall said...

Wow, I have never seen such a big house before. Usually such huge spaces are made for public amenities like a museum or a church or something. However, if the Russians did buy this enormous house for residential purposes, then perhaps they just need the extra storage for all of their massive artillery collections.