London art dealer Ivor Braka to swap his show home for a £60m Knightsbridge mansion project
London art dealer Ivor Braka has sold his thirty-year-old private Knightsbridge home/gallery, swapping it for a mansion across the road with an estimated potential value of over £60million.
The maverick collector, who has filled his red-brick home in Cadogan Square with sculptures and paintings by artists such as Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, will soon move his treasure trove of art and designer furniture to a lavish listed mansion Grade II – also located in exclusive Cadogan Square.
The neo-Queen Anne style house has been empty for several years and Mr Braka plans to complete an ambitious restoration of the property, converting it from apartments into a single house, which could exceed £60million depending on the current average prices. per square foot at the prestigious address.
The currently subdivided house features opulent interiors with oak paneling, a striking Jacobean Revival staircase and stained glass windows.
Rather than modernizing the building, Mr. Braka wants to restore it. “I like to go with the original aesthetic of a place. With places like this, you can’t erase that character, so if you don’t like it, you won’t buy it.
He added: “I’ve been in my place for 30 years, but it’s good to do something different. When I saw the house at number 52, I fell in love with it.
The property has an illustrious history and was designed by architect Sir Ernest George in 1886 for Sir Thomas Andros de la Rue, chairman of the De La Rue ticket printing empire. It was later owned by Tate & Lyle sugar magnate Vernon Tate, who used it as lodgings for visiting executives.
The building and adjoining house were bought by the Cadogan Group, one of London’s wealthiest landowners, for £30m in 2010. The group then won permission to convert the buildings into apartments serviced into a giant mega-mansion, but the work was never undertaken.
Cadogan Estates designs in 2015 showed how the properties could be transformed into 20,000 square feet of accommodation and an elevator connecting all floors to the main house. Homes in Cadogan Square typically sell for between £2,000 and £3,000 per square foot, which could give number 52 a price tag of £60million.
Mr Braka’s art collection is now split between his London home and one of his two pubs he owns in Norfolk. In 2011 he gutted and renovated The Gunton Arms, an 18th-century pub in a 1,000-acre deer park that’s now filled with artwork by Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.
In 2012, Mr Braka angered some of his London neighbors by installing sculptures by Tracey Emin and Anthony Gormley in his back garden, which was also shared by eight other properties.
The exhibit featured a 15-foot pole topped with a small bird by Emin and a standing figure by Gormley as well as two sculptural supports for a mulberry tree.
But one of his neighbors did not appreciate the free art exhibition and complained to Kensington & Chelsea Council, forcing Mr Braka to apply for planning permission for them to stay.
Mr. Braka has confirmed that he will take his sculpture garden with him when he leaves.