It goes without saying that, if an apartment is fit for a countess, it’s guaranteed to be pretty spectacular. And that is certainly the case with this majestic fifth-floor apartment, which boasts 2,145 sqft of living space, coupled with unrivalled views of one of London’s prettiest garden squares – and an illustrious history to boot.
During the 1950s the property was the residence of the late Countess Raine Spencer, stepmother of Diana, Princess of Wales and the daughter of romantic novelist Dame Barbara Cartland, who was married to not one but three titled aristocrats: the Hon. Gerald Legge, the ninth Earl of Dartmouth, followed by John Spencer, the eighth Earl Spencer, and finally Count Jean-Francois Pineton de Chambrun.
A recent biography entitled Three Times A Countess delves into Raine Spencer’s remarkable life, covering the many escapades which took place at 47 Grosvenor Square, as well as her other homes. Raine Spencer adored entertaining and illustrious dinner party guests included Viscount Furness, Lady Pamela Mountbatten, Mrs Reginald Vanderbilt, and the Marchioness of Douro. The apartment also boasted high-profile neighbours, the most famous being the owners of the vast first-floor apartment below, socialite Artemis Onassis, the sister of billionaire Aristotle Onassis, and her husband Theodore Garoufalidis, the president of Olympic Airways.
The interiors at the time were devised by then-up-and-coming designer David Hicks and displayed the epitome of class and style for the era. Since modernised, the space now represents a golden opportunity for a buyer to make the apartment their own with a comprehensive refurbishment – making the most of the historical charm but with a fresh, modern palette.
Despite its history and former glory, the property is currently standing empty, prompting agent Wetherall to commission award-winning design firm Casa e Progetti to create a series of CGIs showcasing how the property could be transformed into a luxurious modern home.
Using the signature techniques of Raine Spencer’s favourite interior designer as inspiration – Hicks was noted for his bold colours, modern furnishings, and contemporary artwork – Casa e Progetti has created a series of interior concepts for the new apartment. Design intervention indeed.
The concept features two bedroom suites to the rear of the apartment. The principal bedroom suite is designed to make the most of an elegant curved bay window with a chic living area, while there is also a dressing/make-up area behind the main bedroom and a ‘wow moment’ walk-in dressing room and ensuite bathroom. The second bedroom suite is lined with wardrobes and also incorporates a built-in dressing area and an ensuite bathroom.
A triple reception room spanning the entire width of the apartment, meanwhile, features four tall sash windows offering views over Grosvenor Square and provides a stellar entertaining space.
Accessed by a spacious lobby with beautiful bespoke parquet flooring, the triple reception room is comprised of two separate living areas and a large dining area seating up to eight people, with a built-in cocktail bar for entertaining – or a quiet tipple after a long day. A bold green and orange colour palette in the dining area pays homage to the adjacent garden square in all its colourful glory as well as referencing some of Hicks’ best-known designs.
The large family kitchen and breakfast room has a separate pantry-come-utility room. From the kitchen there is a separate back-of-house staff corridor which connects the kitchen to the entrance lobby to assist staff circulation, especially when hosting guests.
Outside, Grosvenor Square is currently undergoing a makeover of its own in every direction. The former Canadian Embassy and US Naval Building have been transformed into decadent apartment buildings and the former US Embassy is currently being refurbished into a five-star Rosewood Hotel complete with high-end restaurants, cafes and luxury boutiques.
The central garden square is also set to be transformed with a new landscaping scheme and enhanced public realm, with the formerly closed area in front of the US Embassy being transformed into a magnificent public piazza fronting the new Rosewood Hotel.
Wetherell and Casa e Progetti predict that the apartment, for sale for £8.5 million, could cost up to £1.5 million to refurbish and dress, with the completed modern apartment worth up to £10.5 million.
The 5th-floor apartment at 47 Grosvenor Square is listed for £8,500,000 (unrefurbished). Visit wetherell.co.uk.