Clash and match – fake and real, flowers and stripes, the Kindle and the paperback – is all the rage. A place where the bish and the bosh come together is the rather unprepossessing Chepstow Place, tucked off Chepstow Corner, and nestled between Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove.
The yin is there with fashionable Farrow and Ball, stylish vet’s surgery Pets Naturally (where free poo bags hang enticingly outside on a hook), and hat emporium Misaharada Millinery. And yet, when you’re feeling a bit yang, you can pop along and place a bet at William Hill, run your clothes through a cool cycle at Central Wash (one of the remaining launderettes in west London) or buy a paintbrush and roller at Lords decorators merchants.
It’s rare to have both the normal and extraordinary in one short city block, but Chepstow Place seems to manage this with swaggering self-possession – to the degree that Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster parking zones have chosen this avenue to conjoin. Which means either permit allows you to park on both sides of the street. Life doesn’t get much sweeter than this for London parking junkies.
The mirroring goes on with authentic Italian eaterie, Assaggi. It’s so real you need to be Roman to read the only-in-Italian menu. Perched below the fegato di vitello is Colchis, a Georgian eat-a-whole-suckling-pig kind of place – but only if you pre-order said swine 48 hours in advance.
This whiff of the Continent blending with nouvelle Russian and heritage English (note the Jubilee-friendly red pillar and telephone boxes in front of Art Deco building, Baynards) sums up the housing as well.
Where else can you find whitewashed Fifties houses next to wisteria-clad Victorian terraces? An ambitious new scheme at the Westbourne Grove end (the bigger the skip, the bigger the Bluetooth speaker system?) juxtaposes with the old Blighty-ness of ‘Chepstow’ etched ceremoniously in glass over a 19th century front door.
It’s the spot where it all ebbs and flows, where net-a-porter-clad downsizers rub zip-detailed leather shoulders with young couples en route to Otto’s for a cornmeal crust pizza and root beer float. Chepstow Place is really a micro-London, where a little bit of everything feels somehow right taking it easy next to each other.