“Turnkey properties ( i.e. properties you should be able to just ‘turn the key’ and live in the property) are an ever increasing trend in Prime Central London” says Simon Deen, Director (New Homes) at Aston Chase. “Developers are looking to differentiate their product from the rest of the market in what is becoming a very competitive arena.
Simon Deen: The turnkey process largely serves three functions:
“Firstly, for many foreign buyers making their first foray in to the London market, having the opportunity to buy a property to which you only have to bring a suitcase is very appealing. Many of them simply do not have the time to spend furnishing the property, let alone finding art, coffee table books etc. Whilst there is clearly not a one size fit all solution here, buyers have the ability to change items that they may not like slowly and over time, and therefore it provides a quick solution to an immediate problem.
The second benefit of a turnkey property that dressing serves is that it allows buyers to understand better how the apartment would work for them on a day to day basis. It’s hard for anyone, even the most seasoned property person, to fully visualise what a space looks like furnished, and therefore by taking this issue away, developers are far more likely to secure a buyer. You’ve gone from selling an property to selling an aspirational lifestyle.
Lastly by partnering with an interior designer, developers can also give themselves an additional sales angle. At The Park Crescent, Amazon have worked with DH Liberty, Taylor Howes and 1508 London, all of whom are highly respect and sought after by some of London’s most discerning buyers, some of whom will have used them on their current homes, or at the very least know a friend who has. In conjunction with a high standard of internal finish (kitchens and bathrooms etc.) it just adds to the overall appeal, and of course saleability.”
Marisa Varma, Creative Director at Harrison Varma
“We put a great deal of time and effort into purchasing decorative accessories and lifestyle items for our turnkey houses and show apartments. At Buxmead, we have gone all out to develop the communal residents’ facilities into an extension of our clients’ homes; it is a similar approach to the completing of the show apartments and demands individual items to inject character and life into these grand spaces.
- Longevity and quality – it is important that every single item represents the overall standard of our development and we do not cut any corners. Items must have a certain weight to them and using high-quality and recognisable brands (amongst others) is a must. Each item is individually selected by our team and we are praised for our attention to detail.
- Quality and scale of each item is very important, especially in large houses and apartments where the items really need to make an impact. It is much better to view pieces and assess them in person rather than in a brochure or online.
- Inspiration – our interiors team is always looking for inspiration and this can come from anywhere. We use Pinterest and other online media, but group visits to 5* hotels and trade shows always help. In particular, Immy and Marisa Varma take inspiration from travels and hotels and are forever taking photos of book cases and niche displays etc!”
Sourcing for turnkey properties
“At Harrison Varma, we source items from all over the world; but Maison&Objet in Paris once or twice a year is a must. We visit old favourites at the trade show and in town. We constantly strive to source new suppliers as well as sniff out new trends. We produce documents to outline the ‘look-and-feel’ for individual apartments and make sure each item is scheduled and organised so that it is easy to find. The sheer volume of the items we procure can make dressing apartments a complicated process!
We like to use lots of different suppliers and generally individuality for us is very important; it is crucial that our show apartments and communal areas have their own identity and a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not enough. We ensure that we do not use items more than once and make sure they tie in with the overall theme of the apartment or space. We try to steer clear of anything that looks too generic.
- Cutlery and crockery is not just decorative, but must be from a high quality brand and intended for long-term use; we often use Wedgewood. The same goes for towels and bed linen; thread count is important along with the brand.
- Coffee table books – we love using books from Taschen and Assouline; we choose subjects that we think will fit into the theme of the apartment and select covers to complement the interiors
- Walk-in wardrobes – we like to include hat stands, beautiful leather and wicker boxes and occasional clothing/accessory items to paint a picture of the wardrobe when full.
- Photo-frames – nice to include, but a real pain to fill as often have to use cut-outs from magazines!
- Glass bottles and feminine pieces – we love using both on dressing tables – trays are a great way to anchor items
- Kitchens – we love to show how these can be used in everyday life and often dress the tables with afternoon tea or fill up jars with complimentary sweeties. We make sure that everything is functional too: cutlery dividers in drawers for example, everything there is intended for use.
- Welcome gifts – when our residents move in they receive a welcome gift from us – often flowers and a hamper of larder items. At Buxmead, a bespoke iPad to control their heating, lighting etc. We also work with our residents to tailor appliances and lighting to them – so everything is ready for them when they arrive and is set just the way they like it.
- After sales care service – looks after our residents’ every need. We assist in shipping residents items from one property to another wherever they are in the world and can also procure any additional items they might desire; we have a large network of suppliers to call on.”