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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

If you fancy palatial living, this prime London mansion could fit the bill

Doughty House is being restored to its former glory and will provide whoever buys it with a truly unique home

London's £100m Doughty House. Courtesy Private Residence USA
London's £100m Doughty House. Courtesy Private Residence USA

if you have ever fancied the thought of your own centuries-old palace to live in, Doughty House in Richmond, near London, could be for you.

The Grade II listed manor house, gallery wing and Dower House is set in one acre of landscaped gardens and was once the home of the Viscounts of Monserrate. It is being transformed into a 38,000 square foot, 10-bedroom residence complete with heritage state rooms and leisure amenities and is due to be completed in late 2019.

One of London’s most important stately homes, the three-storey Doughty House was originally built in 1769 for Sir William Richardson and is located at the crest of Richmond Hill, providing spectacular views of the River Thames. In 1786 the Georgian mansion, which resembles Highgrove House, was purchased by heiress Elizabeth Doughty and gained her name.

In 1849 Doughty House was bought by wealthy industrialist Francis Cook who at the time was the third-richest man in England and owner of Britain’s largest clothing manufacturer. In 1885 he purchased and restored Monserrate Palace in Sintra as his summer residence and was enobled as Viscount of Monserrate by King Louis of Portugal.

The property was first sold to a developer in 1949 who attempted to convert it into luxury apartments and also considered a hotel, but planning and financial problems forced the company to sell Doughty House to another owner in 1953, and in the following decades the house fell into decline.

However, in 2013 the specialist ultra-prime developer K10 Group bought Doughty House and has spent the past four years working with the architectural practice HTP and luxury design house Argent, planning a £30 million (Dh145m) restoration project to revive it as a private residence - whose size rivals the garden wing of Buckingham Palace.

Under the current plans for Doughty House, the main house will be refurbished to provide an eight-bedroom mansion. The former Victorian-era conservatory will be restored into a split-level family kitchen, breakfast and informal-living area over the ground and lower ground floor levels.

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On the first floor will be the master bedroom suite, principal guest suite with day room, dressing room and bathroom and the top floor will provide four VIP bedroom suites, all with ensuites, and some with dressing rooms.

The lower ground floor will provide a study and covered courtyard garden along with extensive staff quarters including commercial kitchen and three staff studio suites. The basement of the house will contain a bowling alley.

The grand storey gallery wing will be converted to provide entertaining and leisure facilities. On the ground floor there will be a long gallery capable of entertaining over 150 guests, overlooking the garden on one side and the pool and spa complex on the other.

On the upper floor is a winter garden room, providing entertaining space for 160-200 guests.

On the lower ground floor of the long gallery there is a private health spa with its own concierge/reception providing access to a large swimming pool complex with pool surrounded and a spa facility with spa, sauna, massage room and plunge pool.

The two storey Dower House, meanwhile, is being converted to provide a guest bedroom suite, orangery/living area, kitchen, winter pavilion and guest/staff suite – bringing the number of bedrooms within the property to 10 in total.

From the garden façade of the main house a newly built sweeping Palladian style double staircase will lead down to the extensive gardens.

During the initial restoration work K10 Group discovered the original Rolls Royce repair depot put in by the Cook family, the last to own the house. This inspired K10 to create an underground car museum to be accessed by a special car lift, with the complex having direct access into the main house.

“The K10 Group strategy is to acquire and restore iconic historic buildings, that are unique pieces of British history, and transform them into private palaces which are a legacy for future generations," said the property adviser to K10 Group Peter Wetherell, the chief executive of Wetherell. "The '3 Ls' property adage of 'location, location, location' now has a new partner of 'vision, vision, vision'. To have the vision and ambition to create the finest mansion in London is incredible.”

And owning that vision will not come cheap. Doughty House at 142 Richmond Hill has a guide price of £100,000,000.