My Week: Richard Crosthwaite, Estate Agent with Knight Frank

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The Independent Culture

Everyone should go to a garden centre on a bank holiday and spend at least pounds 100. I buy a stone bench for my garden that takes three men to load into my car. I wonder how I and my wife will unload it. We return to London, and my fears are borne out. The bench remains in the car. I fear it will become a permanent fixture.

Spend the evening worrying about tomorrow. We have had four years to prepare for the sale of 15a Kensington Palace Gardens - at pounds 35m, it's believed to be Britain's most expensive house. The launch has been organised with military precision. My main concern is that the brochures will not be delivered on time. On Friday I was told they would be delayed until tomorrow morning owing to a "technical hitch".


In the office at eight. Needless to say, it's a case of sod's law (or is it Murphy's law?): if it can go wrong it will. Only two of 750 brochures ordered arrive. I race over to Kensington Palace Gardens in my car, complete with garden bench, and try not to look downcast as 26 property correspondents share two brochures.

None the less, it's the most successful property launch ever. The early edition of the Evening Standard carries the story as the lead. It's absolutely unbelievable. Our two dog-eared brochures have assumed platinum status.

The day ends with radio interviews for BBC News and GLR. I go to a friend's watercolour exhibition before going home, exhausted and hungry. I have survived all day on two cups of coffee and adrenaline. I have supper and go to bed


I have a telephone interview with Anne Diamond at eight. The decorators arrive; they have just heard Chris Tarrant on Capital Radio. He has estimated that my commission will be about half a million pounds. Kevin, the builder, says that he's adding two noughts to his estimate. I beat an early retreat to the newsagent.

All the dailies have run "The most expensive house ever" as a major story. A staggering reaction.

Other senior estate agents come for a tour of the house. It takes about an hour but burns up the calories running up and down. They are naturally curious about what Knight Frank will make from the sale. The answer is a closely guarded secret.

Back to the office to follow up some serious inquiries. Some are from well-known names, but maximum discretion is essential if they are to come anywhere near the house. We are charging pounds 30 for brochures. Some people just want them for their coffee tables.

I go to bed exhausted.


Arrive at Kensington Palace Gardens. There was an attempted break-in last night. The eagle-eyed security spotted two people trying to climb over the gate. The police were summoned, and 20 armed officers and a helicopter arrived. It turned out that they weren't terrorists but just having a laugh. The security guard is sheepish. Later I attend a presentation about a new Frank Knight Internet site.

In the evening I have a dinner party for some close friends. They take pleasure in teasing me about my instant fame. I go to bed at 1am.


I decide to have a rest from Kensington Palace Gardens. The cleaners and gardeners are getting it ready for viewings next week. I think the best feature of the house is the swimming-pool, which I plan to swim in when the house is sold.

It's my 12th wedding anniversary today, but I haven't had time to buy my wife, Nickie, a present. I think it will have to be the garden bench - and she can deal with taking it out of the car.

My eldest son is back from boarding school, and we all spend a lovely evening together as a family at home.