Money

Homeowners are more inclined to improve their current property rather than move house, research carried out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has found.

Orderly again

Old Church Street in Chelsea is famous as the road that includes London's most expensive house - the pounds 25m Old Rectory. In the late 19th century its main claim to fame was as the location of several superior brothels. The Echo of 10 April 1885 reports the owners of Nos 155, 125, 127 and129 being prosecuted for keeping 'disorderly houses'. No 155 has been restored as a fine family home with six bedrooms, four bathrooms, four reception rooms and parking. It is for sale through John D Wood for pounds 1.7m.

Ripe for renewal

One of the few unconverted houses in Eccleston Square SW1 has come up for sale for a relatively reasonable pounds 750,000. No 14 is unmodernised and has six storeys with 15 rooms and three bathrooms.

Spring Ram shuts tile subsidiary: Underlying operating profits bounce out of the red as kitchen and bathroom sales revive

SPRING RAM has closed its Artisan Tile subsidiary, a poorly performing business that contributed to the collapse in the group's fortunes in the past two years. Roger Regan, chairman since last year, said: 'The board has considered the extended period of start-up losses and believes these are likely to be prolonged by intense international price competition.' Artisan made trading losses of pounds 7m in two years.

Edinburgh Festival: Jeff Green

He's the bloke next door with the wicked sense of humour who chats happily about girls' bathrooms and boys' underpants as if he's known you - all 150 of you - all his life. 'You can heckle, you know,' he says at one point. I wouldn't dare if I was you, though; the little devil's just waiting to poke fun ('Why do they always put the miserable ones in the front?'). Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George St (031-226 2428). 9pm.

Edinburgh Festival / Day 9: Side View

BRUCE MORTON on his Big, Big House, and on making it up as he goes along

Hot new words for the weather? That's a sticky one

THIS TIME last week it was so hot that everyone was grumbling, except the woman behind me in the queue at the Bradford-on-Avon fish stall on Thursday who said out loud: 'Well, I'm not complaining about the heat - I'm really enjoying it while it's here]', which caused immediate silence among other queuers, who were bandying around words like 'close' and 'humid' and 'airless'.

Park and ride

7 Northington Street might be worth buying as a garage as well as a house. The unusual freehold has parking for nine cars in the old stables. There are two reception rooms, two bedrooms, a third bedroom/study, kitchen and bathroom. A spiral staircase leads from master bedroom to roof terrace. The house, behind Gray's Inn Road, is being sold by E A Shaw (071-831 1012) for pounds 595,000.

In thing: Starfish candles

For that post-holiday candle-lit bath, Wax Lyrical have just the thing.

QE2's pounds 30m facelift

The QE2, which has been in service for 25 years, is to undergo a pounds 30m refurbishment. The work will involve redecoration of every cabin on the 69,000-ton Cunard liner and every bathroom is to be replaced.

Nash on the park

One of the grand Nash houses overlooking Regent's Park, 1 Cumberland Place, comes a little more expensive at pounds 5.85m. With 9,300 sq ft of accommodation, it includes a ballroom-size drawing room, seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and an indoor swimming pool. The house, being sold by Lassmans and De Groot Collis, is on a 72-year Crown Estate lease.

Letter: Writing on the wall

Sir: A much more encouraging mirror maxim than that of Father Lee (letters, 2 May) is pinned to my bathroom wall. Written by a Jesuit, John Powell, it says this: 'You are looking at the face of the person responsible for your happiness today.'

Letter: Personal reflections

Sir: Father Lee's message (letter, 2 May) on his bathroom mirror that he is 'looking at the problem' sounds a bit grim to me. Our milkman told me that if ever he catches sight of himself, say in a show window, he raises his cap.

Letter: Mirror, mirror, on the bathroom wall

Sir: John Osborne braces himself with a maxim as he performs his ablutions: 'Since I gave up hope I feel so much better' (Living, 26 April). But I think Virgil was there first, with 'Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem' (Aeneid, Book II, Verse 354), which means 'Losers have one salvation - to give up all hope of salvation.'

Bottom Line: Graham plays a cautious game

YESTERDAY'S pricing of Graham, the builder's merchant being spun off from BTR, was more conservative than expected, raising just pounds 210m at 183p a share, compared with forecasts of up to pounds 250m.

Health Update: Bathtub rings

BATHROOM manufacturers should redesign plugholes to prevent small fingers from getting caught, says a report in the British Medical Journal. It describes the case of a 20-month-old girl taken to casualty wearing only a nappy and a plughole, which was stuck on her forefinger; it had taken six fire officers 45 minutes to free her. In another case the fire brigade had to cut a two-year-old out of the bath after she got all her fingers stuck.
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