13 Montpelier Villas

Clifton Terrace, Powis Villas and Western Terrace are all perhaps candidates for the accolade of best road in Brighton. But, all things considered, I think that Montpelier Villas in the Montpelier & Clifton Hill Conservation Area is most deserved of the top spot – and a house is now for sale on this fine street.

Montpelier Villas features just twenty houses, which equates to five pairs of near-identical Grade II listed semi-detached residences on each side of the street. Save for a few self-contained basement flats, they are all whole houses. Fortunately, as the front doors are on the sides, hallways separate the front and rear rooms, which makes conversion particularly tricky. Submerged basements and split staircases also help in that respect.

No. 13, on the west side of the road, has just come onto the market after nearly 50 years with the same family. Bearing in mind that at least four houses on the street have changed hands for £1.6 million and over since 2005, the current asking price of £1.35 million seems incredibly reasonable.

Like all of the houses on the street, No. 13 features two principal storeys, a deep basement with high ceilings, and rooms in the roof. The road was built from 1845 to the designs of prolific local architect Amon Henry Wilds, who was also responsible for Montpelier Crescent, Hanover Crescent, Park Crescent and the Victoria Fountain. I particularly like the lead canopies above the front bow windows (there are also side and rear bow windows) where glass inserts allow light to flood into the rooms behind.

Much of the charm of Montpelier Villas can be attributed to its maintenance as a carefully thought-out composition. An Article 4 Directive, which dates from 1977, specifies non-negotiable paint colours for both exterior wall surfaces and windows (white) and ironwork (black). An earlier photograph that I found shows one property with black windows and white walls alongside another with white windows and grey walls. Uniformity here is key.

The whole street is said to have been built on a bluebell wood. Whilst I didn’t see any bluebells in the surprisingly spacious rear garden of No. 13, a number of my other favourite plants, including euphorbia and climbing roses, were present in abundance.

Nick Muston at Austin Gray is the man to speak to if this sounds like your dream home – and you have £1.35 million spare to buy it.

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