Scents that sell properties – The London Magazine
What does a few million pounds smell like? At Buxmead, a new development of apartments ranging from £6.9m to £16m on The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead’s “billionaires’ row”, it is a combination of fir needle and petitgrain – the scent found in the young leaves and twigs of the orange tree. In the spa, the hidden ingredient is coriander seeds, while patchouli and aged vetiver enhance the sultry sophistication of the screening room.
The bespoke scents at Buxmead, which is being marketed by Savills, have been created by Alexandra Soveral, a woman with one of the best noses in London. Paradoxically, she thinks it may be a tumble she took as a toddler, which left her with a broken nose and no upper sinuses, that has lead her to have such a heightened sense of smell. It’s a skill she has honed to create bespoke skincare products and perfumes for individual clients, but Buxmead represents her first foray into infusing a residential development with a signature scent.
The sense of smell is so personal and so connected to our memories and emotions that Soveral has left the apartments’ aromas to their future owners to choose (some of whom have already commissioned her to design them a bespoke scent). She has focused her attention on the communal areas, including the corridors, whose smell is inspired by the pine trees in Buxmead’s 2.5 acres of private gardens.
“They feel like alpine woods and I wanted to bring the Christmas tree element into the building with balsam fir, which smells of freshly cut wood from the pine trees,” says Soveral. “I didn’t want to do a perfume that would be exhausting. The smell is so fresh and natural, as if someone has opened the window.”
With nothing built at first and carte blanche when it came to the budget, Soveral imagined what buyers – who will most likely own multiple properties around the world – would want from their home at Buxmead. “I wanted it to be their favourite home, where their heart is,” she says. “I wanted it to feel lived in already, with character and sophistication, to bring the feel of an old leathery chair to a brand new concept.”