How the Clooneys are planning a few home improvements in their new £10m mansion, including a swimming pool, new terrace - and, of course, a home cinema
For the world's most famous couple even an immaculate nine-bedroom £10million mansion on the Thames was never going to be enough as their first marital home.
George Clooney and his British wife Amal Alamuddin bought this stunning Grade II-listed manor house in Berkshire after their four-day wedding last year but have submitted expensive plans to revamp it and the grounds.
Despite having its own library, gym, spa, steam room, wine cellar, and perfectly manicured grounds, the property appears not to have all the creature comforts they wanted.
The couple want to build a new swimming pool and pool house, a grand terrace and obviously a large private cinema that actor and director Clooney, 53, would come to expect from his main British residence.
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Country pile: This £10million manor house was snapped up by George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin after their recent marriage - but the couple now want to make some improvements
Lavish: The Grade II listed home sits on the Thames in Berkshire but the couple want to spent a substantial amount of money on a new swimming pool and private cinema
New life: George and Amal, left on their wedding day and right on a date in New York this month, would like to make their British home even more comfortable
Sketch: This diagram shows the private cinema the Clooneys would like to add to their already beautiful Home Counties mansion
Pool house: This plan shows how the cinema will be part of a larger pool house with private bedroom, kitchen, bar and seating area
Workmen could be seen carrying out repairs on the roof of Mr and Mrs Clooney's nine-bedroom £10million mansion on the Thames
Plans submitted to their local council also reveal alterations to the mansion's existing boat house, replacement of entrance gates and piers, erection of outbuilding for services, new boundary fencing and replacement garden room are all planned.
Last September Amal and George married in a lavish ceremony in Venice and have already settled in to life in their country mansion.
The elegant nine-bedroom Georgian mansion alongside the Thames affords the pair unrivalled privacy and luxury.
And for high-flying human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, 37, it has the advantage of easy access to London.
In between their hectic schedules they have been seen drinking in their local 500-year-old pub near their new home, setting tongues wagging with locals saying they 'couldn't quite believe' they had chosen the village to settle down.
But it is clear that the ivy-covered property boasting a suite of elegant reception rooms with high ceilings, book-lined walls, chandeliers and open fireplaces, is not enough in its current form.
Their planning application says the 'Grade II Listed Building has been a home since its construction in the late seventeenth or eighteenth century. The proposals will assist in its continued use as a home, the use for which it was originally designed.
Despite its own library, gym, spa, steam room, wine cellar, and perfectly manicured grounds, the property appears not to have all the creature comforts they wanted
One side of the Grade II listed manor in Berkshire is covered in scaffolding, as the Clooneys submitted plans to improve the property
A workman waits outside the mansion's iron gates, which will be replaced with solid oak gates if the Clooneys are given planning permission
Changes: The couple's planning application also includes proposals for a large terrace in the already immaculate grounds
Beautiful: The grand dining room inside the house belonging to Mr and Mrs Clooney, complete with traditional wood fireplace and parquet flooring
No expense spared: One of the main living areas in the multi-million pound house in Berkshire, which has grand open windows and traditional fireplaces
London home: The kitchen comes with an island worktop in the centre of the room and an Aga stove. Doors open onto the vast acres of garden
Plans: This building in the grounds, known as the river house because of its proximity to the Thames, will be converted in to an office and meeting room
Refurbishment: The Clooneys want to add a large terrace to their already grand Grade II property in Berkshire
'Both the character and the appearance of the resulting home will be positively enhanced as a result of the proposals.
'The detailed design and access of the proposals have been carefully considered with the sensitivities of the site foremost in mind, including the heritage, flooding, biodiversity and arboriculture interests of the site'.
The couple's near–neighbours will include illusionist Uri Geller and Home Secretary Theresa May. Clooney is thought to have become interested in the area after visiting the Buckinghamshire village of Fingest while shooting scenes for his film The Monuments Men.
If the couple need live-in staff or a gardener to maintain the perfectly manicured lawns, they will be able to house them in a separate cottage in the immaculate grounds.
The house was bought through a privately-held company and the development, if approved, would be carried out by a developer based in Soho, London.
Today workers could seen walking in and out of the vast estate on the banks of the River Thames, with vans and trucks parked on the lawn.
A digger and other construction equipment could also be spotted on the usually immaculate lawns, which looked worse for wear from all the traffic. The luxury country mansion was surrounded with a scaffolding and tarpaulin whilst workers make vital repairs to the roof and structure.
Workers have erected a series of six-foot high wooden poles along the whole river frontage of the Clooney's garden on the banks of the Thames, and a wicker work fence was being weaved between them - which rumour has it is to keep away prying eyes.
However, the couple have submitted plans for a new perimeter fence which is thought to be a replacement for the makeshift lattice.
Plans show a mix of woven hazel and riven Chestnut pale fencing will be put up around the country estate, as well as extensive planting of oak, yew, holly and box edge to enhance the couple's privacy.
Sweeping views: The newlyweds enjoy huge, mature grounds, close to their village church (pictured) and their local pub, where they have been seen drinking by locals
Workmen carry out landscaping work on the lawn of the estate, which looks worse for wear as vans and cars parked up on the grass
Application: The proposals involve the demolition and replacement of a substantial range of existing buildings that are of 'low heritage significance', believed to include these
Neighbours in the quiet village seemed relaxed about the renovation plans, with one walker saying she had no qualms with the fence, so long as it does not make the house and grounds look like a prison.
'As long as it doesn't end up looking like Fort Knox I think it will be fine,' she said. 'If it does it might cause some problems.
'We don't really want a wall when we're walking along the river, that would make it look like a prison.'
One neighbour, whose children go to a nearby school, said that the main problem with the plans was the danger of it all being flooded.
'The fence is going to be a problem because obviously it floods a lot,' he said. As soon as it floods it is going to be washed away.
'We don't want it to be a fortress, but if it will blend in and not ruin the view along the river that will be fine. It's really nice along here, but with a big fence you're not going to be able to see anything.
'There's never anyone in that garden, I've never ever seen anyone there, so I hope it's not going to be turned into a walled garden.'
Another neighbour joked about George and Amal hosting movie nights for the town in their proposed state-of-the-art 12-seater cinema, to be built in a converted greenhouse.
'That would be nice,' she said. 'But a lot of people have home cinemas around here though. We have a lot of rich and famous people around here so George is yesterday's news.'
Dilapidated four-bedroom home in San Francisco sells for astonishing price
The power of San Francisco's white hot property market knows no bounds.
Despite a dismal listing that made no secret of the 'deteriorative state' of a 4 bedroom home in the city's Outer Sunset area, the owner's felt comfortable asking $799,000.
Two weeks after listing, the home sold for $1.21 million.
So what did the buyers get for $411,000 over the asking price? In short: ocean views, great location for techies and a big mess.
White hot market: Despite a dismal listing that made no secret of the 'deteriorative state' of a 4 bedroom home in the city's Outer Sunset area, the owner's felt comfortable asking $799,000.
The ripped-apart 1,832 square foot property features torn carpets up the stairs, appliances ripped from the kitchen, a boarded up door and other not-so-amenable features.
'Contractors' Special! Seriously. Property is in a deteriorative state; needs everything, not for the novice,' read the listing on Zillow.
'Decedent Trust sale. House sits on a deep and wide lot (120 x30) with ocean view from upper level and attic. Very hip area -- great upside potential for builder/contractor.'
The ocean view helped spur the generous offer, which Redfin reports was all cash, no doubt.
But the real driving force behind this and similar unbelievable real estate transactions happening across San Francisco is the city's massively competitive property market.
The technology's industry's rapid growth coupled with 49-square-mile San Francisco's constrained supply of housing is a big part of the story behind the city's ascension to a rarified real estate bracket already occupied by New York City, but Silicon Valley wealth also is stoking the market in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, according to Andrew LePage, an analyst with CoreLogic DataQuick, a real estate research firm in Irvine, California.
Big mess: Two weeks after listing, the home sold for $1.21 million.So what did the buyers get for $411,000 over the asking price? In short: ocean views, great location for techies and a big mess
Disrepair: The carpet up the stair is ripped and floors throughout the house are in disprepair
Linoleum: Appliances were unceremoniously ripped from walls and the home still features outdated flooring
And then there's the view: The home, in addition to being in the hot city of San Francisco, sits at the edge of the Pacific Ocean
Coveted: While not the sort of beaches where you'd want to swim, the home's nearby shoreline is coveted by home buyers
Between April and June, the Bay Area saw a record number of homes and condos going for $1 million and above, and they accounted for one-quarter of all sales in the region, CoreLogic DataQuick said in a report released on Thursday.
During the same three-month period, six of the Bay Area's nine counties set records for the number of homes and condos selling for over $2 million, as did California as a whole, the report said.
‘The robust tech economy and the overall economy mean the Bay Area has been doing better than most for years now,’ LePage said.
‘It already was expensive, and a lot of these high-end markets weren't hammered as hard during the downturn because they weren't exposed to subprime mortgages, so they had less ground to recover in the first place.’
George Limperis, an agent with Paragon Real Estate Group in San Francisco, agrees that freshly minted technology millionaires who can afford to bid up a property until they win it with an all-cash offer are helping to drive up demand.
But unlike during the city's first tech boom in the late 1990s, the buyers prepared to lay down more than $1 million on a fixer-upper in a neighborhood within walking distance of shops and restaurants also include Asian investors and retirees from other major cities who already are accustomed to skyscraper prices for shoebox dwellings, Limperis said.
All cash: San Francisco is experiencing an unprecedented tech boom and newly minted millionaires are able to snatch up the properties of their choosing with increasingly exorbitant cash bids
The home was in far better shape when it last sold in 2008 for $935,000 but it's unclear what happened between then and this past February when it hit the market once again
‘It feels like a very different city than it certainly did even 15 years ago. There is money coming from so many places now,’ he said.
‘So many of these buyers today, they have lived in London, they have lived in Hong Kong, they have lived in New York, and to them these prices are parallel. We can't compare San Francisco with median housing prices even elsewhere in California because this is an international level we are dealing with.’
Being prepared to go well over a home's asking price and willing to sacrifice style or a second bathroom are some of the pointers that Kelly Kang, a colleague of Limperis' at Paragon, gives to buyers.
Kang just represented a young couple with a child who were interested in a 756-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath row house built in 1950 in a newly hot neighborhood near a park and public transit that was listed at a little more than $1 million after having sold for $710,000 five years ago.
The couple offered $1.2 million and wrote a ‘love letter’ about the house explaining why it was just right for their family. They got the house.
‘People that want to stay in San Francisco really love the city, so what they are buying is the city more than the property,’ Kang said.
The ocean view helped spur the generous cash offer, no doubt. But the real driving force behind this and similar unbelievable real estate transactions happening across San Francisco is the city's massively competitive property market
The backyard is now overgrown and will require a lot of effort to get into the same form as those of many of the neighborhood's homes