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OPULENCE & SPLENDOUR

Luxury and the arts From houses to cars and from Hockney to van Dyck, a profile of the best and the worst

Which bear will take the 13th seat?

Could the number 13 be the reason Halcyon Hall has failed to sell?

 

Several over the top Californian residences we’ve featured on The Steeple Times, namely the $40,000,000 Chateau d’Or in Bel Air and the $87,000,000 Villa del Lago on the Newport coast, were properties that have seen huge price reductions. Though $15,000,000 has been sliced off the asking price of the Bel Air pad, it remains unsold and meanwhile Villa del Lago, now renamed One Pelican Hill Road, achieved just $18.5 million in a bankruptcy auction. It sold for less than a quarter of what the developer originally sought for it.

 

The 25,000 square foot Chateau d’Or, 10425 West Sunset Boulevard, Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, CA 90077 first came on the market at $40,000,000 in 2009. At $25,000,000, it still hasn’t sold.
One Pelican Hill Road North, Newport Coast, Newport Beach, Orange County, California, CA 92657 was originally on the market for $87,000,000. It eventually sold at a bankruptcy auction for just $18,500,000 and features a 17,706 square foot Italianate mansion with 8 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms. Additional features number staff accommodation, a gatehouse, garaging for 17 cars, a 1-acre lake with terraced waterfalls, a tennis court, stabling and a riding area and a private vineyard with a wine cave.

We believed monstrous white elephants like these were confined to the US, but we are afraid we’ve come across something today that truly proves otherwise. The behemoth we refer to is a 14,000 square foot house in Radlett, Hertfordshire. Built in 2005 for a businessman named Barry Beck, “Halcyon Hall” stands on the site of a far more modest property that was simply known as 11 Newlands Avenue.

 

The phrase “halcyon days” refers to “the seven days of winter when storms never occur” in the Greek myth of Alycone but whether this inspired Beck in naming this place is unknown. He and his wife, Pauline, did, however, decide upon an “Elizabethan theme” for the residence and our pictures illustrate their extravagantly eccentric tastes adequately.

 

Halcyon Hall, 11 Newlands Avenue, Radlett, Hertfordshire, WD7 8EH
The entrance hall is guarded by a pair of knights in full suits of armour
The hall and entertaining salon is far from understated
The main staircase is guarded by a life-size bear
The dining room attempts to look Elizabethan
Whilst the kitchen dabbles with medieval meets “The Real Housewives of New York”
Decorating mish-mash continues in a formal entertaining space
And the “games gallery” isn’t exactly neutral either
The master bedroom suite takes “over-the-top” to another level
But it is the thirteen seat cinema that we find most curious

Undoubtedly the construction of this vast Hertfordshire crib is of a high quality but the look is nothing other than ludicrous. Here is a mix of pastiche, ostentatiousness and just plain odd. Not even a WAG could have come up with décor this curious and such things as a private cinema with 13 seats can plainly not be the choice of someone who follows the curse of the hangman’s noose.

 

This 7-bedroomed house, which stands in 1.17 acres, would strangely, though, be ideal for someone who is a little paranoid. As well as all the security features you’d expect of any multi-million pound mansion in the Home Counties, it also includes a bathroom that doubles as a panic room. If you close the door in a certain way, steel bars supposedly come down making sure no intruder can follow you inside.

 

Two knights in full suits of armour guard the entrance hallway and a life-size stuffed bear stands dominant in the games gallery of the house. Plainly this beast’s not persuaded anyone to bite yet as whilst the price of Halcyon Hall has fallen from £15,000,000 in February 2011 to just under £13,000,000 in November 2012, the house remains on the market. We suspect that the curse of “Unlucky Thirteen” may well be alive and well somewhere between numbers 11 and 15 Newlands Avenue.

Halcyon Hall, 11 Newlands Avenue, Radlett, Hertfordshire, WD7 8EH is for sale through Statons. For more information telephone: +44 (0) 20 8445 3694 or email: nick@statons.com

Comments

4 comments on “Which bear will take the 13th seat?”

  1. I think it’s truly beautiful and seems to have a life of it’s own…but then I am drawn to the unusual and tend to have eccentric tastes.

    1. I admire your courage in making this bold statement. I remember visiting a film props warehouse-funnily enough in Herts.This house looks as if the owner did a rental deal with them….

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