MADE In Chelsea star Oliver Proudlock, 31, has been renting his two- bedroom apartment in a converted church in Kensington for two years — but thinks it’s time he got on to the property ladder.
‘Me and my girlfriend found a house in Shepherd’s Bush we really wanted. It was three storeys, had three bedrooms and a garden — but it needed a lot of work. Unfortunately, someone else made a higher offer, so we lost out on that one,’ he says.
Proudlock says he and his model partner Emma are now planning to go on a serious house-hunting mission and want to buy something early next year.
But even a three-storey home in Shepherd’s Bush would be a far cry from the place Ollie spent his early childhood — Grade II-listed country house Lasborough Park in Gloucestershire. ‘It was beautiful and had amazing grounds, but things changed and we had to downsize,’ he says.
‘The perception of people from Made In Chelsea is that we’re all minted. But I work very hard and I’ve been earning my own money since I was 17. I’ve had a good education but I’m not loaded.
‘We’ve been saving for the last three years and feel that now is the time to invest in property.’
Ollie grew up with his interior designer mother in the Gloucestershire countryside.
‘Mum used to change the house all the time,’ he says. ‘One week it would be all white, the next purple with gold leaf everywhere. And it was featured in interiors magazines quite often. There were shoots happening every other week; it was like a show house.’
And when Ollie was a teenager, his mother set up a design business themed around denim. ‘She used to upholster interiors with denim. The whole house was denim. My bedroom had black denim wallpaper — it’s still the same now; she hasn’t changed it.’
Ollie says his mother has inspired his work in fashion — he runs and designs for his own label, Serge DeNimes. ‘It’s a link to my upbringing and my mum,’ he says.
There was so much denim around the place that when Ollie returned from doing his Fine Art degree at Newcastle University he clad his Fiat car in it. ‘I even did the hubcaps,’ he says. ‘I drove around in this denim-ed Fiat but I didn’t seal it, so it all fell off after a couple of months.’
He points to a large artwork on the wall. It’s a 5ft by 4ft piece he did after leaving university. A tyre mark from the Fiat runs across the piece and there are denim patches which were offcuts from his mum’s materials.
The flat features more of his art, such as two abstract pieces printed on aluminium, inspired by the work of Robert Rauschenberg. There are also three reindeer skulls and a couple of cow hide rugs which were given to him by his mum.
‘I’d say my taste in interiors is a mix of English and Swedish — I like that minimalism. But we went to Morocco last year and I really like those rugs and lanterns — we’d want to include that in our new place. I’d want something pretty contemporary but also cosy,’ he says.
As the apartment is rented, there’s a limit to what Ollie and Emma can do but they have converted the second bedroom into a dressing room to store all their clothing. ‘We both work in fashion so we have a few clothes. This place is awesome but there aren’t many cupboards — so we need more storage.’
And Ollie still likes the features which initially attracted him to the flat. ‘I love the windows. It used to be a church and there are also skylights in the main room, so there’s lots of light that comes in. And I like the area. Since I moved to London I’ve always lived in the west,’ he says. ‘But it feels like we’re at the point now where we want to find a place that can become a project.’
His dream home would be something ‘open plan with a lot of natural light’ in Notting Hill. ‘There’s an amazing energy there. It’s got that villagey vibe, but has amazing bars and restaurants. I’m just excited to try to get on the ladder. It feels like a buyer’s market at the moment. There’s potential to find a real gem if you put enough time into it.’
■ Oliver is founder and designer of urban clothing brand Serge DeNimes, sergedenimes.com
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