Trend Spotter

Foot in mouth

With news that a London flat’s being sold in cubic feet, it’s time to run for the hills, argues guest blogger Cheryl Markosky

Okay. The world’s gone completely mad. Apparently it’s now commonplace (well, as common as it can be at the luxury end of the market) to tot up and charge for the cubic footage in your home.

In my view, this smacks of the Emperor’s new clothes. It takes  me back a few years when I toured a Kensington apartment then on the market at an eye-watering £30 million. The justification for the price tag was that this rare five-bedroom duplex apartment measuring nearly 6,000-square feet was made up of four joined-up units.

When I got home and hit the calculator, the £5,000 a square foot figure quoted somehow didn’t add up (especially when the norm in the area then was about £2,000 a square foot).

When I rang the agent, he explained that a chunk of the cost was additional cubic square footage, because a floor had been taken out of the flat to create majestic double-height ceiling space.

A bit like eating candy-floss, I thought, but without the sugar rush. The rationale behind this state of nothingness is that you could squeeze a mezzanine into your airy home at a later date if you want. And if there’s a trendy void space there already, then naturally, you should pay for all that trendy volume. Even though you can’t use it.

But you can look at it. So, the logic follows you should pay for these ‘unusable’ spaces in a look, but don’t touch kind of way.

I’m told measuring in cubic metres is all the rage in Paris. So, in a tale of two cities, some Londoners are following their Gallic cousins and running the tape measure up those high ceilings and along imaginary lines where a mezzanine might one day sit.

So, we’re into an Alice in Wonderland hinterland of falling down rabbit holes, mad March hares and a caucus race with no clear winner. The King and Queen scolded Alice for growing at a rapid pace and taking up all the air. But Rule 42 cited that all persons more than a mile high had to leave the court. Maybe justice will be done (off with their heads?) and we won’t be expected to pay for thin air that’s neither a fixture or fitting.

Cheryl Markosky