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London home where Diana Dors entertained A-list celebrities as well as the Kray twins goes on sale

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The London property where British actress Diana Dors lived during her professional heyday has hit the market for £4.5million.

Dubbed ‘England’s Marilyn Monroe’ thanks to her blonde bombshell image and Hollywood career, Diana scandalised 1950s Britain when tales of her sex parties and infidelity emerged.

She hosted notorious, alcohol and drug-fuelled get-togethers at her various properties – including one in Kent – for A-list celebrities – with the guest list thought to also include gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray (who were believed to be old friends of Diana’s).

Her Chelsea double-fronted townhouse on Burnsall Street, located just off the King’s Road, was her home between 1953 and 1968 and offers an abundance of living space over basement, lower ground, ground and two upper levels. 

The London property (pictured) where British actress Diana Dors lived during her professional heyday has hit the market for £4.5million

The London property (pictured) where British actress Diana Dors lived during her professional heyday has hit the market for £4.5million

Dubbed 'England's Marilyn Monroe' thanks to her blonde bombshell image and Hollywood career, Diana (pictured) scandalised 1950s Britain when tales of her sex parties and infidelity emerged

Diana, pictured later in her career

Dubbed ‘England’s Marilyn Monroe’ thanks to her blonde bombshell image and Hollywood career, Diana (pictured) scandalised 1950s Britain when tales of her sex parties and infidelity emerged

She hosted notorious, alcohol and drug-fuelled get-togethers at her various properties - including one in Kent - for A-list celebrities - with the guest list thought to also include gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray (who were believed to be old friends of Diana's). Pictured, the living room at her former home in London

She hosted notorious, alcohol and drug-fuelled get-togethers at her various properties – including one in Kent – for A-list celebrities – with the guest list thought to also include gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray (who were believed to be old friends of Diana’s). Pictured, the living room at her former home in London

Her Chelsea double-fronted townhouse (pictured) on Burnsall Street, located just off the King's Road, was her home between 1953 and 1968 and offers an abundance of living space over basement, lower ground, ground and two upper levels

 Her Chelsea double-fronted townhouse (pictured) on Burnsall Street, located just off the King’s Road, was her home between 1953 and 1968 and offers an abundance of living space over basement, lower ground, ground and two upper levels

Providing 2,152 sq. ft of living space, the three storey, fully modernised Blue Plaque home of the British-Hollywood actress Diana provides two reception rooms and four spacious bedrooms, all offering access to en suites (pictured)

Providing 2,152 sq. ft of living space, the three storey, fully modernised Blue Plaque home of the British-Hollywood actress Diana provides two reception rooms and four spacious bedrooms, all offering access to en suites (pictured)

When living there, Diana (1931-1984) was famous for regularly holding racy parties at her Burnsall Street townhouse, with guests enjoying lavish champagne functions that lasted until dawn. 

Providing 2,152 sq. ft of living space, the three storey, fully modernised Blue Plaque home of the British-Hollywood actress Diana provides two reception rooms and four spacious bedrooms, all offering access to en suites, with the ground floor opening onto a patio garden.

The current owners converted the basement to provide an additional fourth bedroom with an en suite and transformed the Victorian property into a light-filled home with modern living spaces and a contemporary feel.

As part of the refurbishment, the ceiling heights were increased on the lower ground and basement floors and two glass floors were added, one in the patio garden and another directly below it on the lower ground floor, allowing light to cascade into the lower floors. 

The original staircase, which had sat awkwardly in the middle of the house, was also moved, creating open living spaces on all floors. 

The current owners converted the basement to provide an additional fourth bedroom (pictured) with an en suite and transformed the Victorian property into a light-filled home with modern living spaces and a contemporary feel

The current owners converted the basement to provide an additional fourth bedroom (pictured) with an en suite and transformed the Victorian property into a light-filled home with modern living spaces and a contemporary feel

As part of the refurbishment, the ceiling heights were increased on the lower ground (pictured) and basement floors in the property

As part of the refurbishment, the ceiling heights were increased on the lower ground (pictured) and basement floors in the property

THE BRITISH MARILYN MONROE: DIANA DORS AT A GLANCE 

Diana Dors was dubbed the UK's Marilyn Monroe

Diana Dors was dubbed the UK’s Marilyn Monroe

Born Diana Fluck in 1931, Dors grew up in Wiltshire and loved cinema from an early age, idolising Lana Turner and Veronica Lake.

She was offered a place at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art aged 14 and became its youngest ever student after lying about her age.

After a string of modelling gigs and bit-part film roles, she began netting leading roles in 1949 and by 1951 had been established as a ‘sex symbol’ of the British industry.

She appeared primarily in British comedies until 1956 when she signed a three-film deal with RKO Pictures in Hollywood.

But after her then-husband Dennis Hamilton punched a photographer when the couple were pushed into a swimming pool at a Los Angeles party the press turned on her, and a subsequent divorce from Hamilton saw her contract terminated on a ‘morals clause’.

She returned to Britain and continued her career while enjoying high-profile relationships with stuntman Tommy Yeardye and comedian Richard Dawson.

After another attempt at breaking the US failed, she left Dawson and their sons Mark and Gary and returned to the UK, but her career became restricted to supporting roles, with most coming in the sex comedy boom of the 1970s.

Meanwhile she stayed in the headlines after hosting adult parties.

She married actor Alan Lake in 1968 and they remained together until her death from ovarian cancer in 1984 aged 52, having son Jason in 1969.

The modernised house now provides a large open-plan kitchen and reception room with a glass feature ceiling and guest cloakroom on the lower ground floor, as well as a ground floor double reception room which features a framed print from Dors’ iconic 1953 photoshoot at the house. 

The Victorian-era property was extensively renovated by its current owners who purchased the property in March 2018 in a bad state of repair and spent 18 months renovating it to provide a stylish London home. 

On February 11 2018, the Blue Plaque to Diana Dors was installed on the outside of the house, unveiled by her son Jason Dors-Lake.  

Percy Lendrum, Director of Dexters, said: ‘With its wonderful baby-blue facade and beautiful modern interiors, this elegant townhouse on Burnsall Street was the Chelsea home of British-Hollywood actress Diana Dors during the 1950s and 1960s. 

‘Famous for the fantastic celebrity parties held here over two decades, this Chelsea house has been enlarged and modernised and now offers a discerning buyer heritage, character and stylish interiors, a home that is really memorable and adorable, just like Diana Dors herself.’  

The original staircase, which had sat awkwardly in the middle of the house, was also moved, creating open living spaces on all floors (pictured)

The original staircase, which had sat awkwardly in the middle of the house, was also moved, creating open living spaces on all floors (pictured)

The Victorian-era property was extensively renovated by its current owners who purchased the property in March 2018 in a bad state of repair and spent 18 months renovating it to provide a stylish London home. Pictured, one of the four bedrooms available

The Victorian-era property was extensively renovated by its current owners who purchased the property in March 2018 in a bad state of repair and spent 18 months renovating it to provide a stylish London home. Pictured, one of the four bedrooms available  

Two glass floors were also added during the makeover, one in the patio garden (pictured) and another directly below it on the lower ground floor, allowing light to cascade into the lower floors

Two glass floors were also added during the makeover, one in the patio garden (pictured) and another directly below it on the lower ground floor, allowing light to cascade into the lower floors

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Selling your home? Here’s how to make sure it has kerb appeal by sprucing up outside space

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As anyone who has indulged in the brutal ‘swipe left’ culture of internet dating will testify, you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression. And the same is true when trying to sell your property.

That’s why what lies at the front of your house — be it lawn, gravel or flagstones — can play a major role in making a sale.

Indeed, having a pleasing ‘shop front’ to snag potential buyers scrolling through listings or even walking past outside can offer leverage to boost the asking price, says Colby Short, CEO of estate agent comparison site getagent.co.uk.

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

‘Homes that offer a front garden carry a 4 per cent property price premium versus those without, and that equates to more than £11,000 in the current market,’ he says.

So what changes can you make to the patch in front of your house to help improve the saleability of the property?

Some alterations are simple, entry-level innovations. For example, even the smallest swatch of grass should be mown and rubbish-free. 

In fact, bins and recycling boxes are often the first thing you see in a front garden, as well as the detritus left by squirrels who have curated bits of dinner from your bags of rubbish. But it’s easy to hide bins away in a box unit.

‘If you’re trying to hide ugly bins, how about building a bin store with a planter on the top, then you can have some gorgeous outdoor succulents and flowering alpines?’ says QVC UK’s gardening expert Michael Perry. 

You can also buy wooden bin stores from outdoor furniture suppliers such as Wayfair (from £125.99).

Meanwhile, hanging baskets outside your front door help to break up a harsh brick wall, says Sean Lade, of Easy Garden Irrigation.

‘Hanging baskets are an excellent choice for adding colour and scent to your front garden and soften the front of your house. They should be installed at eye level —about 5 ft off the ground.’

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

And think about replacing tired fencing or dilapidated brick walls with natural borders, such as Boxwood hedging, which will add visual interest and is also easy to prune throughout the year.

‘If you prefer a cottage garden appearance, then why not train climbing plants to create natural archways around your front door, porch or gate?’ says Deborah Cobb, product manager at builders’ merchants MKM.

‘Raised flower beds are also a clever way to add some natural foliage. If you fill them with evergreen shrubs, then they are an easy-to-look-after and low-maintenance option that will look good all year round.’

In terms of what plants to go for, Nicola Bird, founder of seed subscription service The Floral Project, suggests some annual flowers are perfect for planting at the front of your house if you’re looking to sell. 

‘They include varieties such as cosmos, phlox, zinnias and sweet peas — not only to bring a bright splash of colour to your front garden, but also serve as a great conversation starter with your potential buyers.’

Even if you don’t have a patch of grass in front of your home, there are other fundamentals which will help with the sale, says Jonathan Rolande, professional property buyer at housebuyfast.co.uk.

This includes jet-washing your path. And just before a visit from potential buyers, remove any vehicles, where possible, to help to create an impression of space.

‘Clean the windows, frames and front doors — and clean the house number,’ he says. ‘If the garden is mostly given over to parking, soften the look with pots and planters filled with bright flowers and attractive shrubs.’

 You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy

He adds that if you don’t have a lawn, terracotta planters on the front sills look great with fragrant plants such as lavender and rosemary appealing to the sense of smell, too.

If your front garden is really small, use decorative gravel such as pea shingle or slate chippings, suggests Thomas Goodman, property expert at homeowner and tradesman connection website myjobquote.co.uk.

‘This will give you an attractive, low-maintenance base for topping with a few nice plant pots.

‘Fix anything that’s broken, including gates, fences and walls. These detract from any nice planting and give the impression of a home that’s not properly maintained and is going to need work.’

Colby Short says some items in your garden should be permanently jettisoned to improve the chances of a sale.

‘You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy. The same goes for any large statues or display items, particularly if they are of a political, religious or risque nature.

‘When it comes to potential buyers, you want to present a blank canvas. But that doesn’t mean this canvas can’t look good and add appeal in its own right.’

On the market… with kerb appeal 

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

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Elephant Park expands its retail offer (GB)

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Lendlease has announced the openings of two new spaces at Elephant Park: all-day kitchen and bar RAREBIT; and community garden store The Nunhead Gardener.

 

RAREBIT – the all-day kitchen and evening dining, bar, and grocery store – has opened its first brick-and-mortar location on Elephant Park’s casual dining hub, Sayer Street. The brand-new concept has a menu focusing on British favorites including the Welsh ‘rarebit’, and its grocery stocks a range of independent wines, craft beers, and coffee from East London coffee shop, Climpson & Sons. This selection is complemented by cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy, charcuterie from London Smoke & Cure, and produce from Natoora.

 

The Nunhead Gardener is the latest brand to move from one of Lendlease’s meanwhile units into a permanent space at Elephant Park, following the likes of Dima Beautiful, Beza Ethiopian Vegan, and bar and bottle shop The Tap In. The 900ft² unit on Sayer Street stocks a selection of indoor and outdoor plants, as well as specialty gardening tools, seeds, and seasonal scented candles.

 

Guy Thomas, Head of Place Assets at Lendlease, commented: “Both of these openings speak to our core values at Elephant Park, with a commitment to providing our local community with uses that are independent, sustainability-oriented, and unique. The arrival of RAREBIT adds a new cuisine to casual dining hub Sayer Street, and The Nunhead Gardener’s revamped permanent space has created a plant haven that we know local people will love.”

 

Mark Angell and Will Nias, Co-Founders of RAREBIT, said: “RAREBIT is about bringing a modern, fresh concept to people who want top-quality food and drink. Whether that be for grocery shopping or sit-down dining, we are so excited to be welcoming customers through our doors at Elephant Park. It is such a buzzing area, and we are proud to introduce RAREBIT to this diverse and vibrant environment.”

 

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Hotel Indigo debuts in Austria

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Hotel Indigo opened its first hotel in Austria, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt. Located a short walk from the city’s historic center, the hotel offers 158 guest rooms, a rooftop garden resembling an urban jungle, a restaurant, and a lobby bar.

 

Taking inspiration from a famed local architect, Otto Wagner, a key member of the Secessionist movement, guests will find touches of gold used throughout the fixtures in the bathrooms as well as intricate patterns, made famous by Otto, woven into the carpet design in the hallway, and the tiles behind reception. Otto’s love for gold, Art Nouveau design, and ornate patterns can also be seen at famous local buildings such as the Majolikahaus, a short walk from the hotel. From ground level, the building looks innocuous, but as guests look skywards, they will see the top floors are decorated with exquisitely sumptuous floral motifs in brightly colored porcelain and gold leaf, a hallmark of the new style.

 

Stefanie Augustin, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt, commented: “We are pleased to open our doors and accept our first guests into the first Hotel Indigo in Austria. We sit in the heart of the surrounding neighbourhood and strive to make all the locals proud, by helping to bring a bit of that external story in so guests can truly experience what Vienna has to offer.”

 

 

 

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