On the House: Sophie Heawood's Property Binge. This week, houses to throw brilliant parties in

Sophie Heawood imagines the parties that could be had in the most hedonistic houses for sale right now

property neals yard
(Image credit: Alamy)

Oh what an atmosphere, I love a party with a happy atmosphere, sang Russ Abbott, approximately one thousand years ago. Here are five houses, currently for sale, in which you could definitely throw a party with a big old happy atmosphere. Enormous. About as large as the one that envelops the earth, but probably with even less ozone, due to all the hot air that my dreadful friends and I will blow into every one of them, because we are old enough to remember Russ Abbott and should probably die soon. 

Hampstead, £13m, Knight Frank

Knight Frank

(Image credit: Knight Frank)

Can we talk about this swimming pool? The parties I am going to throw in this swimming pool - and you’re all invited. Every last one of you. Even the woman who wrote to say she had read my round-up of Bohemian homes and hadn’t realised that a few jazzy blankets and a bit of wacky colour was all it took to be considered Bohemian. Even you! Although you’ll never actually get to meet me at this party in my £13m Hampstead swimming pool, oh authentic Bohemian lady, because I’ll be incognito like the Great Gatsby, celebrating my own personal Jazz Age somewhere you can’t find me. 

Perhaps I’ll be in my deep red study, seducing my best friend’s wife over a few cheroots. Or perhaps I’ll be in my floral green boudoir, playing hide and seek all by myself in my jaunty fitted wardrobes. Or perhaps I’ll be in my basement cinema with those massive portraits that aren’t at all scary and definitely don’t conceal eye-holes for the prisoners who are trapped behind them. 

Or perhaps I’ll be in my garden, which seems not to be adjacent to Hampstead Heath at all but in fact the setting of a Marguerite Duras novel about a steamy love affair in French Indochina IS THAT BOHEMIAN ENOUGH FOR YOU oh I give up. 

Knight Frank

(Image credit: Knight Frank)

Knight Frank

(Image credit: Knight Frank)

Knight Frank

(Image credit: Knight Frank)

Knight Frank

(Image credit: Knight Frank)

Knight Frank

(Image credit: Knight Frank)

See more of this property here.

Hastings, £1.5m, M&W

M&W

(Image credit: M&W)

Now this house is very familiar to those of us who scour the property listings every day of our sad little lives, Jane. In fact it’s been on and off the market for as long as a Kardashian in a publicity-friendly but ultimately morally challenging relationship. I wonder why it isn’t selling? Is it because it seems to have been built as the set of a TFI Friday spin-off show presented by Chris Evans in 2002? Oh come on, that would be a bloody good party though. The other day I saw a millennial on Twitter having a disparaging moan about certain journalists, describing them as ‘the long 90s commentariat’ and it made me hysterical. The Long 90s! These are my people! Mi gente! Even though they sound like a case of covid you just can’t shake off for several decades. Even then. This house has a definite case of the Long 90s, or perhaps the Long Noughties, with its vintage fairground signs, repurposed industrial chic, bowling alley. Its burlesque and its brass baths. Its saucy carnival of pre-packaged vibes. Of course, the listing can’t legally spell out anything about the multiple possibilities of doing too much partying in the toilets before having a long involved conversation about yourself, with yourself, but look hard into every photo and the subtext is there. 

M&W

(Image credit: M&W)

M&W

(Image credit: M&W)

M&W

(Image credit: M&W)

M&W

(Image credit: M&W)

M&W

(Image credit: M&W)

See more of this property here

Covent Garden massive building, £8m, Unique Property Company

Unique Property Company

(Image credit: Unique Property Company)

I know this building! You know this building! Everyone has taken an Instagram  selfie outside this building! Everyone except me, because I’m morally superior to all of you and don’t need the validation. Alright, because I have frizzy hair and don’t know how to take selfies. Anyway this building is the very heart of Neals Yard, which is the secret heart of Covent Garden (nicer than the piazza), which is the not-so-secret heart of London. It used to have that world food restaurant upstairs and then yoga rooms above that and it looks like the whole bloody shebang is for sale. 

And while there are lots of cute colourful bits to get excited about - those dangling sleep pods, for example, omg - it’s the roof garden that is blowing my tiny mind. I had to look through the photos and watch a video on the Unique Property Company’s website before I really got it. It has a real wonky old  lawn and real wonky old walls and looks, to all intents and purposes, like an old country house garden. But it is actually on the roof, up there with the chimney pots, in the absolute middle of London! Chim chinminey cherooo! My god, the parties you could have. I dream. I plan. I do the maths. I weep for us all. 

Unique Property Company

(Image credit: Unique Property Company)

Unique Property Company

(Image credit: Unique Property Company)

Unique Property Company

(Image credit: Unique Property Company)

Unique Property Company

(Image credit: Unique Property Company)

Unique Property Company

(Image credit: Unique Property Company)

Unique Property Company

(Image credit: Unique Property Company)

See more of this property here

Saul, Gloucestershire, £1.2m, Hamptons

Hamptons

(Image credit: Hamptons)

Someone I follow posted this house online and said it belongs to her relatives and she will miss it painfully when it’s sold, so I shall refrain from my usual snark, but that’s also because I don’t have any snark for it. Look at it! It’s just the most gorgeous, most desirable house I have seen in some time, sitting out there on the very mistiest edge of the Cotswolds, right beside the Gloucester and Sharpness canal and close to the tidal River Severn. 

It’s not too far from the towns of Gloucester or Stroud or Cheltenham, and you could pretty easily commute to Bristol too, but it also feels like it’s at the end of the world, so you could throw a party at the end of the world. Which would, crucially, involve a canoe. 

And look how they used that tower! Anyone who can fit a kitchen (because kitchens tend to involve right angles)  into a tower (because circles tend not to involve right angles) and make it as pretty and simple as this one is clearly some kind of artistic genius. Perhaps they used the canoe. 

Hamptons

(Image credit: Hamptons)

Hamptons

(Image credit: Hamptons)

Hamptons

(Image credit: Hamptons)

Hamptons

(Image credit: Hamptons)

See more of this property here.

Hollywood Hills house, $2,199,000, via Zillow

via Zillow

(Image credit: via Zillow)

Oh god. Oh hell. Oh help me. 

I decided, with my theme of parties, to take a quick look at what was for sale in the Hollywood Hills, because you can always find some real party houses for sale over there. And what I found was a house in the Hollywood Hills which I have actually been to. To a party! A dinner party for about eight people. And this was when I was new in LA (I went on to live there for two years) and I was giddy and excited and didn’t quite realise that I would be taken seriously, as a human being, by film producers and all those sorts of industry people, who seemed to like me and find me in some way charming. I don’t know, it must be the British accent. I thought we were all in on the joke. And so I made myself into the joke. 

One of those producers was, at the time, living in this very house alone, having split up with his wife, and he was a really nice thoughtful guy, not some Weinstein creep, and he invited a few of us over for dinner, and perhaps there was, I don’t know, some chance of healthy flirtation there, who can say? But I hadn’t quite taken any of this in, or perhaps couldn’t believe my luck. And so when we all sat down to dinner at the long posh table and they all remarked on how nice the house was in a normal sort of way, because they were all used to LA, I of course said OH. MY. GOD. YOU CAN SEE THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN OUT OF YOUR BLOODY WINDOW!!!! 

Well that was the first bit. That was fine. 

But then the dinner carried on and I couldn’t calm down about the Hollywood sign and I continued, in front of all these strangers, to ask about the Hollywood sign, until reaching my stunning finale when I asked him, there at his dinner party, something unprintable about whether he could do that something alone in his bedroom and then get it to go all the way out of the window and actually land, splat, on the Hollywood sign? 

Let’s just say he went on to marry someone else and have two children with her and why they haven’t invited me to any more of their parties, even as the kids’ entertainer, I simply can’t imagine.  

via Zillow

(Image credit: via Zillow)

via Zillow

(Image credit: via Zillow)

via Zillow

(Image credit: via Zillow)

via Zillow

(Image credit: via Zillow)

See more of this property here.

And see some of Sophie's other Property Binges here:

quirky houses for quirky people

town houses that feel like country homes,  

homes to make you happyartists' homes

mansions for under a million

bohemian homes and

houses with pools

Sophie Heawood
Sophie Heawood

Sophie Heawood is a journalist and author, who writes regularly for The Guardian, Evening Standard and The Observer. Her book, The Hungover Games, was published in 2020, and she runs the instagram account @propertyjazz