Barrie Warrener and Carmen Champney’s Westminster A brother and sister act tell us why smart buyers aren’t holding back and let us in on Westminster’s property secrets
Finish this sentence: ‘You know you’re in Westminster when...’
What are the latest home and interiors trends you are seeing?
Barrie: …you hear the chimes of Big Ben. I like to time my arrival at appointments on the chimes – that way both parties know you’re on time!
Carmen: There has been a noticeable move towards contemporary trends and styles of bathrooms and kitchens that are regularly updated.
Why are people attracted to Westminster?
What do you love most about Westminster?
Carmen: It’s incredibly quiet, particularly on weekends as many residents have country homes too. Barrie: The variety and juxtaposition of historic architecture you can find here – from Jacobean, through Georgian, Victorian and Arts and Crafts homes – all standing next to modern developments.
Carmen: The variety of the properties and the way you can find peace and quiet in the heart of London. I recently sold a 3,000-plus sq. ft period mansion flat with huge amounts of space and high ceilings – it was so tranquil and felt like a whole house. Barrie: I love the people, they’re extremely polite and discreet. It’s not the kind of place you come to be particularly obvious about your wealth.
What’s the most exciting change you’ve seen in your area?
What are the most popular streets in Westminster?
Barrie: More Georgian commercial property being converted into chic homes, and the redevelopment around Victoria station is really transforming the area.
Barrie: We love Queen Anne’s Gate and so do our international clients who come here. We’ve sold some of those properties more than once now.
What’s the one shop in your area you couldn’t live without?
Carmen: You can get really good value around here, for example buying what I call ‘second-hand new’ homes. You can buy a modern home in Zone 1 and all it probably needs is a new kitchen and bathroom. The people are also incredibly pleasant around here. Barrie: You can find some of the oldest homes in London. Some of the properties you walk into make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end they’re so old and atmospheric. When you buy in Westminster, you quite often buy a piece of history.
Barrie: It has to be the recently opened Waitrose – we’ve been crying out for one for ages.
If there’s one piece of advice I’d give buyers in Westminster, it would be... Barrie: Estate Agents are always going to say ‘Buy now’, but right now it’s true for Westminster. If you wait until the new developments around Victoria are fully established, you may have to pay more for everything. The ‘New Victoria’ is likely to drive prices higher across all markets in Westminster.
If there’s one piece of advice I’d give sellers in Westminster, it would be... Barrie: Make sure you price your property right; speak to someone who really knows the area and the market so you won’t risk getting this wrong and your property taking too long to sell.
PEOPLE ARE EXTREMELY POLITE AND DISCREET. IT’S NOT THE KIND OF PLACE YOU COME TO BE OBVIOUS ABOUT WEALTH
Tell us something unusual about Westminster?
Barrie, could you describe Carmen’s working style? One word: relentless. When she sets her mind on to something for a client, she just does not give up until the job’s done. Carmen, how would you describe Barrie’s style? Passionate. And do you ever argue? Barrie and Carmen: Never!
Find Barrie, Carmen and their team at: Dexters Westminster incorporating Hathaways 12 Greycoat Place, Westminster, London, SW1P 1SB 020 7590 9578