Architects and designers Elliot March and James White established their design house March & White in London in 2010, beginning with the interiors of luxury yachts.
They later expanded into designing some of London’s elite private clubs, including The Arts Club and Devonshire Club, and have marked their first foray into New York real estate with 125 Greenwich Street, a building by Rafael Viñoly. The duo designed the building’s interiors, including the amenities space on the top three floors. They now have offices in New York City and Los Angeles.
March & White also worked on the Los Angeles home of reality TV judge and producer Simon Cowell.
We caught up with the duo, both 39, to discuss what international homebuyers now want from their home amenities, the future of London and Los Angeles real estate and more.
Mansion Global: Describe your dream property.
Elliot March: It’s very simple. A property anchored to the ground and directly connected with nature. A place that allows me to continue my passion for surfing and being in the water.
James White: We are fortunate in London that there is such a mix of beautiful properties, the stucco-fronted regency-era buildings with perfect proportions are always my favorite, ideally overlooking a garden square.
MG: Do you have a real estate property that got away?
EM: Not yet. Let me answer this question next year.
JW: No, although we get attached to every project we finish.
MG: What does luxury mean to you?
EM: True material luxury for me is the right combination of materiality, craftsmanship, function and aesthetic, all of which we incorporated into our designs at 125 Greenwich Street. In life, time is the only true luxury we are given which should never be overlooked.
JW: To me luxury is all about the one-off and unique. The finest luxury brands all started with exceptional craftsmanship. In our work we focus on using the finest artisans and craftsmen to create truly unique interiors.
MG: What area do you think is the next hub for luxury properties?
EM: We work globally and demand ebbs and flows. The true global hubs of the world such as London, New York and Los Angeles, which we operate out of, will always hold over time. Specifically, Downtown Manhattan, where 125 Greenwich Street is located, is getting a lot of attention, with all the excitement around [Santiago] Calatrava’s Oculus, Nobu and Eataly Downtown. We also are seeing strong demand for luxury homes in Mumbai and New Delhi, which caught us by surprise.
JW: Anywhere with sheltered waters suitable for mooring. We are currently working on a super villa concept which combines yacht technology with a residential platform to create the ultimate villa that can be moved from location to location.
MG: What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?
EM: The absolute necessity to produce a major cinematic production to sell a home over $50 million.
MG: Where are the best luxury homes in the world and why?
EM: I have to go with L.A., but I could be biased as that’s my home now. The L.A. luxury homes market never ceases to amaze us. The demand is still strong due to the real emergence of the tech industry now coming to the city whilst the freedom to express great design with amazing topography is a massive draw for both designers and buyers.
JW: In the south of France, the outlook from the coast around Cap Ferrat is just so breathtaking the house becomes secondary. It has been my aspiration since childhood to design a villa in the area.
MG: What’s your favorite part of your home?
EM: The outdoor fire pit. It’s the place where we gather with both family and friends to relax, chat and be happy.
JW: The family room. I love everything about it, particularly the bay window and the backdrop of beautiful London buildings which you see beyond. From outside looking in, you see “The Queen Bubble Gum,” an artwork by Michael Moebius.
MG: What best describes the theme to your home and why?
EM: Farmhouse chic. It’s above all a family home and we have mixed rustic materials, such as old barnyard wood from France with more polished materials, such as bronze and polished nickel.
JW: Greys with warmth. We have a backdrop of light grey walls and silver grey timber which is then enriched with cognac leathers, rich timbers and platinum tones.
MG: What’s the most valuable amenity to have in a home right now?
EM: Two very simple things. A real fireplace where I can burn proper logs and a swimming pool that can keep people entertained all day long. That is true luxury. We incorporated both into the amenities space on the top three floors at 125 Greenwich Street.
JW: We are launching our own bar cart, inspired by our work on clubs, yachts and homes to bring this piece of luxury into the home.
MG: What’s your best piece of real estate advice?
EM: Buy the worst property on the best street.
JW: Buy with potential to add square footage.
MG: What’s going on in the news that will have the biggest impact on the luxury real estate market?
JW: In the U.K. there is an adjustment in values at the top end of the market. We think that the developers that can really deliver beautiful designs and quality into the market in the next couple of years, will be well placed, while others are cost cutting.
MG: What is the best area now for investing in luxury properties?
EM: We are involved in luxury-branded developments with five-star hotel amenities. We see this as a massive area of growth [around the world] over the next few years for the pied-a-terre buyer who wants to own in a global city but doesn’t want to deal with the complexities of buying, renovating and maintaining.
MG: If you had a choice of living in a new development or a prime resale property, which would you choose and why?
EM: Either. It just depends on where you are with your life and lifestyle. It comes down to what suits you at that given time in your life.
JW: There is always a desire to have the prime resale property. However, in terms of living space, a new building development provides incredible lateral living and entertainment space which a house just cannot rival. For me a really amazing lateral apartment allows a flow from one use to another without the constraints of stairs and rooms that typically define a house.
MG: What area currently has the best resale value?
EM: The ones we are closely involved with and have kept an eye on in prime L.A. are Bel Air and Holmby Hills. The area and prices just continue to surge year on year.
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