Wanstead property update, 25.7.11; Grand Designs and Mulholland Drive

What precipitation! What irrigation! What downpours! A couple of nice days, admittedly, giving us a tiny breathing space in which to cut back the overgrown lawns, but with more rain forecast, next week’s column might turn out to be Parker’s Arks.

I’m not a great one for galoshes, and it’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors, except when cocktails are involved.

So when the monsoon arrives, I like to spend some quality time with the remote control and my favourite armchair, and an afternoon’s-worth of reruns of Grand Designs and the occasional hob-nob.

I must say there’s something of the young George in dear Kevin McCloud. The principles, the passion, the sensible knitwear .. he’s got it going on all right.

As for his programme of dreams and ambitions – I guess you could say that Wanstead hasn’t really featured in the shows to date.

Perhaps there’s a conjunction between the relatively high land prices and innate conservatism of the area – or maybe the producers find it easier to film when there’s a lovely loch as a backdrop.

Whatever those reasons, Wanstead, Snaresbrook and Aldersbrook have a number of former churches, shuttered-buildings, brownfield parcels and the like which are crying out to be brought to their full potential. Remember the grim facade of the current Belgique site, before the croissants arrived! And that was just a makeover, not a Grand Design!

Redbridge are currently evaluating a plan to replace 12 scratty old garages with a residential development in the heart of Nightingale country. Existing residents rightly raise issues of congestion, intrusion and privacy – but it’s very tempting to point out that the status quo is not worth preserving.

The ambitious plan, whose architects are actually based in the Corner House, includes a grass roof, solar panels, and heat recovery equipment too. Assuming the developers keep to their positive pledges regarding sensitivity of design, sustainability and renewables, the proposed four-bedroom house and two apartments would greatly improve the site and of course its situation. I’ll be keeping a close eye…

Mulholland Drive

When I’ve finished my McCloud binge, and cannot manage a single ‘will they be in by Christmas’ cliff-hanger more, I move on to the DVD collection.

Firing up the popcorn maker – that reminds me, we could do with a health-food shop on the High Street like this one – I make a selection based on the usual criteria – Oscars won, famous scenes, whether or not the current Mrs Parker is at home, and so on.

I’m unerringly drawn to film noir with its dark brooding heroes (and villains), the dirty deals and the charismatic properties that provide the backdrops.

So as I surveyed the curving expanses of Grove Park this week, I was excited to see this hidden gem peeping through the lush and overgrown frontage. To me it instantly evoked a Hollywood villa in the idiom of a Lloyd-Wright, though they do mention it’s hardly been done up since Frank’s day (and yet is on the market for offers in excess of £800,000). It’ll need more than TLC and a new red carpet inside, but with all the room available, a well-appointed home cinema would be a possibility, although I’d demur from gold stars and cement handprints set in the patio. With renovation in mind, the agents have provided a storyboard of their own, marketing the property with detailed graphics suggesting how new owners might create their own happy ending.

Spot any Wanstead properties on the market which put you in mind of TV, films or even musical theatre? You can always drop a line to George at georgecparker@wansteadium.com with your rave reviews.