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Inside Britain’s most expensive beachfront home which is on sale for £15m

An entrepreneur who grew up in a council house has put ‘Britain’s most expensive beachfront home’ up for sale for £15million.

Robert Kay, who left school at 14 with no qualifications, paid £4million for the stunning mansion at the exclusive Sandbanks estate in Poole, Dorset, in 2013.

Now, after renovating the coastal pile on ‘Millionaires’ Row’ where the rich and famous live, Robert is putting it on the market. 

The five-bed luxury property, which has an outdoor infinity swimming pool, has gone up for sale just days after a 117-year-old bungalow on the Millionaires’ Row sold for £13.5million.

The £15million modern mansion is on the opposite side on the posh peninsula and looks out onto the beach and Poole Bay.

The stunning beachfront home on the exclusive Sandbanks resort in Dorset - which is home to the rich and famous - has hit the market for a whopping £15million

The stunning beachfront home on the exclusive Sandbanks resort in Dorset – which is home to the rich and famous – has hit the market for a whopping £15million

The luxury five-bedroom property backs right onto the exclusive Sandbanks resort beach

The luxury five-bedroom property backs right onto the exclusive Sandbanks resort beach 

Located on Millionaires' Row, no expense has been spared in kitting out the mansion, which is touted as being Britain's 'most expensive seaside home'. Pictured is the kitchen

Located on Millionaires’ Row, no expense has been spared in kitting out the mansion, which is touted as being Britain’s ‘most expensive seaside home’. Pictured is the kitchen

The modern mansion has a huge entrance hall, kitchen, dining room and lounge that all have sea views.

There is a gymnasium, cinema room, office, wine cellar and boot room on the ground floor.

Upstairs there is a massive master bedroom suite that also has stunning sea views, en suite bathroom and dressing room along with four more bedrooms, three of which are en suite.

Outside there is a large sun terrace, the pool and landscaped gardens that lead onto the beach – which is the most exclusive in Britain, which counts footballers, actors and Hollywood stars among its residents. 

Mr Kay, 65, grew up in a two-bedroom council estate home in Iford, Bournemouth. He started a video rental business in the 1980s and made enough money to invest in the property market.

Robert Dunford, of estate agents Tailor Made, said: ‘We believe this property is Britain’s most expensive beachfront property.

‘There are luxurious homes in coastal hotspots like Cornwall, Jersey and Guernsey that are on for more but they are all inland.

‘This house has direct beach access, there is no road or path of clifftop in the way. 

The property was bought by entrepreneur Robert Kay, who grew up in a council house before making his millions. Mr Kay is pictured outside his old council home in Iford, Bournemouth in 2009

The property was bought by entrepreneur Robert Kay, who grew up in a council house before making his millions. Mr Kay is pictured outside his old council home in Iford, Bournemouth in 2009 

The modern mansion was bought by Mr Kay for £4million in 2013 and has a huge entrance hall, kitchen, dining room and lounge that all have sea views

The modern mansion was bought by Mr Kay for £4million in 2013 and has a huge entrance hall, kitchen, dining room and lounge that all have sea views

It is packed full of luxury, featuring its own personal gym (pictured), cinema room, office, wine cellar and boot room on the ground floor

It is packed full of luxury, featuring its own personal gym (pictured), cinema room, office, wine cellar and boot room on the ground floor

Outside the property features a stunning infinity pool. large sun terrace and landscaped gardens that lead onto the beach

Outside the property features a stunning infinity pool. large sun terrace and landscaped gardens that lead onto the beach

It has five bedrooms, with some rooms having unrivaled seaside views over Poole Bay

It has five bedrooms, with some rooms having unrivaled seaside views over Poole Bay 

‘The property was very tired looking when our client went in there.

‘Externally, it is slightly understated in appearance. It is not a modern contemporary home with straight lines and right angles. It has been sympathetically refurbished.

‘Inside, no expense has been spared. The owner stripped it right back and redesigned it all.

‘The table in the dining room was designed and made by the same people that make Sunseeker yachts.

‘The grounds of the property are stunning and could easily be mistaken for a scene in Miami or LA.

The impressive mansion has an elevated upper garden is elevated and a lower garden that offers direct access onto the award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach

The impressive mansion has an elevated upper garden is elevated and a lower garden that offers direct access onto the award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach

Inside, the home feature marble flooring and a modern, white-wash finish

Inside, the home feature marble flooring and a modern, white-wash finish 

The living room overlooks the sea, with the dining area having been custom built by the same people who design luxury Sunseeker yachts

The living room overlooks the sea, with the dining area having been custom built by the same people who design luxury Sunseeker yachts 

The £15million modern mansion is on the opposite side on the posh peninsula and looks out onto the beach and Poole Bay

The £15million modern mansion is on the opposite side on the posh peninsula and looks out onto the beach and Poole Bay

‘The upper garden is elevated, giving privacy and maximising views and the lower garden offers direct access onto the award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach.’

Mr Dunford said the property market in the Poole Harbour area is booming at the moment, largely due to the Covid pandemic.

He said: ‘Sandbanks and Poole Harbour has always been a desirable location but since Covid we are seeing more and more people relocating here from London for a better way of life.

‘The location brings with it the lifestyle. You have Poole Harbour, award winning sandy beaches and the Jurassic Isle Of Purbeck as your playground.

‘That interest is driving up demand for beachfront and waterfront homes of which there is a finite number on the Sandbanks peninsula.’

From a two-bed council house to Britain’s most expensive beachside mansion: the story of Robert Kay 

Robert Kay - who grew up on a council estate to become a millionaire

Robert Kay – who grew up on a council estate to become a millionaire 

He started life living in a humble two-bedroom council home in Iford, near Bournemouth. 

Fast-forward 65 years, and Robert Kay is the owner of Britain’s most expensive beachside mansion – which he is now selling for a whopping £15million. 

But despite reportedly having his own private jet and millions of pounds in the bank, Robert’s life wasn’t always so lavish. 

Growing up, he was one of six children sharing the two-bed home in Iford. His father worked night shifts at an engineering firm and his mother was a cleaner during the day. 

Times were tough.  ‘There was no money,’ he told Bournemouth Echo in 2009. ‘I used to go to school in second-hand clothes with someone else’s name on the tags.

‘It created a huge desire in me to have money. It wasn’t a particular amount, just enough so that I had the same as the other kids.’

He left school at 14 with no qualifications and picked up his first job buying and selling toys at markets in Boscombe, Wareham and Salisbury. 

After a brief stint working at Hendy Ford, where he reportedly told Mr Hendy Ford he could ‘run the place better’, Robert moved into working for himself. 

He drove taxis, cleaned cars and bought and sold vehicles. Then, in the 1980s, invested his money in the video-rental market, setting up his own firm – which led him to the property market, with four of his shops were sold to Blockbuster 

From here, he went on to own four nursing homes, before buying the luxury Tracy Park Golf Club and Country Resort near Bath from the Kuwaiti government in 1992 for £2m. 

He spent millions on office buildings before then buying the £4million at the exclusive Sandbanks estate in Poole, Dorset, in 2013.

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Living in a surfer’s paradise! Chic townhouse with incredible floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking beach in Cornwall goes on the market for £2.75million

A chic townhouse with breathtaking views over a surfer’s paradise has gone on the market for £2.75m.

Gwel Tresla has incredible floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the surf mecca of Polzeath, Cornwall, and even has a sky hammock to take full advantage of the panoramic views.

The five-bedroom home is one of three striking contemporary townhouses completed in 2020 with high specifications and smart technology throughout and has been a successful holiday let with Latitude 50.

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position, which means the owners will get to enjoy spectacular sunsets.

It has 2,863 sq ft of accommodation with the entrance lobby and a double bedroom with en suite on the ground floor, and four bedrooms and four bathrooms on the first floor.

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area with built-in bar at one end and a living area with a vaulted ceiling and a sea-facing balcony at the other.

The top floor has another living area/TV room with the sky hammock looking out over the beach and a bathroom. There is also a large covered terrace with built-in outdoor kitchen and barbecue.

Outside there is secure underground parking for two cars, a lockable surf and equipment store and outdoor hot and cold showers.

The house is just 25 yards from Polzeath Beach, a popular holiday spot with safe bathing and surfing and a vast expanse of beach.

Polzeath is close to the other popular resorts of Rock and Padstow and has a number of excellent restaurants and pubs nearby, great watersports opportunities and walking and golf.

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

Josephine Ashby from John Bray Estates said: ‘This striking architectural design, by Studio Arc Architects, delivers on all fronts, with breath-taking coastal views from all the principal rooms, and high specifications and smart technology throughout.

‘Completed in 2020, Gwel Trelsa is the dream beachfront property, offering comfortable and spacious accommodation that seamlessly blends comfort and luxury, resulting in a highly desirable family home or holiday home.

‘Situated in a prime frontline position at Polzeath, Gwel Trelsa commands front line views across the beach and over the surrounding coastline.’

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The 11 things that make your garden look tacky, revealed by a top expert – including the flower colour that just screams cheap

A well-maintained garden may be a relaxing retreat – but it can also boost the kerb appeal and even the value of your home.

But, if done the wrong way, efforts to enhance your outside space can leave it looking cheap.

From choosing the wrong plant pots to – counterintuitively – being too tidy, the Mail’s gardening editor looks at the 11 common errors that can cheapen your garden, rather than helping it thrive. 

When tidy is too tidy

Many of us were brought up with strict ideas about well-kept gardens, with lawns neatly mown and weeds all pulled up. But that is no longer the prevailing aesthetic.

Letting go a little and being slightly untidy can lead to a more expensive looking haven. And leaving self-sown plants in summer and seed heads over winter will make your garden look more expensively abundant. Phew!

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic 

Yellow’s not mellow

Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for bright yellow flowers such as daffodils and sunflowers. But such garish flowers must be used in the right context.

Expansive garden beds the colour of a hi-vis vest? It’s a no. Yellow is difficult to match with other colours and should be used sparingly.

The perils of artificial grass

The quickest way to make your garden look cheap is to lay artificial turf. Used widely in sporting venues, fake grass became popular because it doesn’t need to be mowed or watered so is seen as low-maintenance and hard-wearing. But it almost always looks naff.

Plus, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. It is ruinous for wildlife and adds to global warming by absorbing more radiation than living grass, which acts as a carbon sink. Natural lawns allow rainwater to be soaked up, whereas artificial grass can cause run-off after heavy rainfall leading to flooding.

In hot weather, it can reach dangerous temperatures, especially for pets who might burn their paws. Plus, it only has a lifespan of ten to 20 years, after which time it is difficult to recycle.

 Soulless bare fences

Fences without greenery can make your garden look boxy and cheap. There are plenty of easy climbers you can plant to soften the feel and make your garden look more high-end.

Star Jasmine is a lovely evergreen with pretty white flowers, while climbing hydrangea is good for a shady corner.

If you want privacy, remember evergreen hedges can’t be more than 2m high, according to the High Hedges Act. Instead try planting deciduous silver birch trees with attractive white trunks and green foliage in summer when you are out in the garden.

Don’t settle for plastic furniture

Moulded plastic chairs are unsightly and should be avoided at all costs. Plus, they’re uncomfortable and topple if you lean too far back, or slice into any bare flesh unfortunate enough to touch the seat.

If your budget won’t stretch to buying new wood, rattan or metal alternatives, search local online groups to see if anyone has second hand deck chairs or outdoor dining sets on offer.

If you are willing to buy something preloved and weathered, it can often cost less but look more expensive.

Thin borders, a thing of the past

Narrow flower beds around the edge of a rectangular lawn used to be thought of as the ideal garden design, but these days it just looks scrimping.

Borders should be at least a metre deep to allow for multi-layered planting. Don’t just put them around the perimeter of your garden. Flower beds used to divide up a space add a touch of mystery and look much classier.

Gadgets and gazebos

Barbecues, fire pits, corner sofas, gazebos, over-sized paddling pools – its easy for your outdoor space to become cluttered with so many garden gadgets you can’t move around without tripping over them.

Decide what you really need and use often, then recycle the rest. Or store them away neatly in the shed until you want to use them.

Plastic plant pot horror

It is tricky to keep plants looking good in plastic containers, even the ones that attempt to imitate terracotta.

As well as the lack of sustainability, the trouble with plastic is that unlike materials such as wood and stone, it provides no protection for plants against drying out in summer and freezing in winter, and it is not breathable.

If you do have plastic pots, reuse them for propagating and save your best non-plastic containers for display purposes.

Paving the way to disaster  

Every gardener needs somewhere to sit, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of losing too much of your lawn.

Ideally there should be a ratio of at least two-thirds planting and grass to one-third hard surface. If you are putting in a new patio, consider leaving gaps between the pavers for low plants such as creeping thyme and Mind-Your-Own-Business which will also help with drainage. 

If you want to park your car in your front garden, choose a permeable surface with planting around the edges.

Fly-away greenhouses

I must confess I own one of these mini shelving units covered in a zip-up, see-through plastic smock. But after it fell over outside one too many times in windy weather, despite being tied to the wall, I have brought it in to our lean-to where I now use it as a propagating unit. A pile of overturned seed trays and spilled soil does nothing to add to kerb appeal.

Do away with dead pot plants 

Well-tended container planting can add a cheerful welcome to a garden or balcony, but there is little as off-putting as being greeted by a collection of unidentifiable shrivelled dead plants in pots.

Avoid this by doing your research and choosing plants you love which will encourage you to water and feed them regularly. Having a water butt nearby makes this task much easier.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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