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A room with a view: Charlie Mullins

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Words by Carol Driver

Photos by Christopher Bissell christopherbissell.com

Self-made millionaire Charlie Mullins is standing on the vast terrace of his London apartment taking in the sensational views when we speak to each other over the phone.

“I can see the MI6 headquarters, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Westminster Cathedral,” he explains.

He’s in his “pinch me” home; a jaw-dropping £10million, ultra-modern 3,500sqft sub-penthouse in a highly desirable location overlooking the Thames in Westminster.

It’s a dream apartment that 40 years ago, Charlie, dubbed “Britain’s richest plumber”, never imagined he would be able to afford.

Although Charlie, 69, himself may not necessarily be a household name, his former company Pimlico Plumbers certainly is.

So when he sold his business in September 2021 for an incredible £145million, he decided to treat himself to the apartment he had fallen in love with.

And he now classes premier league footballers and Tom Jones among his well-heeled neighbours.

Charlie says: “The owners were initially reluctant to sell it. It’s a brand new apartment and has never been lived in. They allowed me to rent it and I finally persuaded them to sell it to me. I can't believe that I own a place like this if I’m honest.

“It was undoubtedly the views that attracted me to it - and the architecture too. I love its contemporary design, which fits perfectly with the vista on the banks of the river opposite the iconic MI6 building recognisable in recent James Bond films.

“The design of the exterior is curved to reflect the curve of the Thames, which creates fantastic terrace space too. The concierge service is exceptional too and it's very, very secure.

“I’ve had ten apartments along the river and this one is head and shoulders above them all. I’ve never seen quality workmanship like it. I have homes in Spain and Hutton Mount in Essex, but this is a different class. There's no place like London. It's beyond a dream to own an apartment here.”

When Charlie first moved into his ultra-luxurious three-bedroom apartment during the pandemic, it was already decorated with a sleek, modern white and dark wood colour scheme, which he saw as a “blank canvas”.

Today, extravagant and unique accessories, art, sculptures, pottery and artefacts chosen by him, for him, or commissioned by him, are dotted throughout the entire sub-penthouse floor.

There are towering antique Chinese vases, bespoke paintings of London landmarks, photos of Charlie with celebrities and politicians he’s met over the years, as well as his framed OBE certificate and a photo of when Prince Charles presented it to him.

In every room there are two huge brightly coloured quartz stones, some that are 3ft in diameter, as well as a 90-year-old limited-edition Rock-Ola Jukebox in the lounge, and a life-size bronze skeleton in the bar area.

“I’ve always held back a little from doing too much to a place that I have been renting, but once the sale was agreed, I started to put my stamp on the place, which now reflects my personality and interests,” Charlie says.

“When people come up here, it takes their breath away. The vases all come from a collection from Canterbury Antiques. There’s a 7ft blue and white one in the lounge that is based on a Famille Blue Chinese Temple, and originally stood in Sir David Tang’s “Shanghai Tang” fashion store in Regent Street. Everything in here is very sought-after and unique - you can’t buy anything better than what I’ve got.

“The energy rocks give off different energies, such as wellbeing or health. Rocks are the oldest things in the world, so if you believe in them…

“People do say I’m a bit of an oddball. So when people come up and see what I’ve done to the place, they say it’s ‘typical Charlie’, it’s ‘typical Charlie to have the biggest vase’ or it’s ‘typical Charlie to have a Harley Davidson’ in the flat. People say ‘this is you’ when they see what’s in here. I didn’t think I was that outrageous but people seem to think it fits the bill.”

Guests can access Charlie’s apartment via two elevators that come directly from the highly secure, ground-floor entrance and concierge to the apartments, opening straight into his hallway.

They are then greeted by signed photos of "absolute legends" Charlie Chaplin and Muhammad Ali, in a 35-foot entrance, which is filled with a dark-wood decor, along with a huge light-up mirror and matching sideboard by renowned designer Timothy Oulton.

There are also framed photos of Charlie with the past three Prime Ministers.

The impressive hallway leads to each of the three bedrooms, as well as the lounge and kitchen area. Each of the rooms has a beautiful terrace area, affording the property with stunning 360-degree views of London.

Charlie says: “The hallway is often neglected in a home, but I have made it a statement room. I wanted to show it was a piece of me as soon as guests arrived! It has beautiful wood panelling adorned with signed pictures of famous actors, singers and VIPs I’ve met, like members of the royal family.”

The master bedroom boasts spectacular floor-to-ceiling curved windows, which open out onto a large terrace. The ensuite bathroom has two walk-in showers as well as a free-standing bath - which Charlie says is perfect when he needs some “peace and quiet”.

There’s also a guest bedroom and a third bedroom, both with ensuites and views across London.

But it’s the lounge where Charlie likes to be - whether it’s to relax or entertain friends.

As well as the flashing jukebox and colourful huge rocks, it’s adorned with a Paul Oz portrait of Winston Churchill signing V for Victory, a “very unusual” specially-made designer coffee table with a chrome ‘crack’ splitting it into three pieces, and a large grey sofa and an 80-inch TV.

There are also Art Deco clocks, sculptures, a large question mark hanging on the wall, and a huge fireplace which makes it feel “homely”.

And there’s the cabana-style bar, which is stocked with “everything, mostly champagne”, that’s being propped up by the lifesize statue of a skeleton holding two bottles of Moet & Chandon.

“That’s where the skeleton always sits,” Charlie says. “It’s just a bit of fun; a talking point. It’s an antique bronze skeleton and he’s always at the bar. To the left of him, we’ve got a Harley Davidson petrol pump, which is a light-up champagne cupboard.

“There are also signed photos of celebrities and VIPs on the walls, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones, Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Princess Di and Prince Charles, Vera Lynn, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

“I love the curvature of the lounge set against the views across the river. I’ve added antique and Art Deco pieces that really ‘pop’ against the white walls, plus the bar is a popular place to relax so I’ve just commissioned an Art Deco bar too.

“When people come round before we’re supposed to be heading out into London, we’ll be around the bar area socialising or out on the terrace, and you find people want to stay in. Why go out when you live somewhere like this?

“I have a singer-songwriter called RaRa living with me at the moment, so the lounge sometimes gets turned into something of a recording studio. I’m giving her business guidance as she’s just released a record called Biker Boy, which is going to be a hit.

“I’ve always been interested in the music business – even though I can’t hold a note myself – and after selling Pimlico Plumbers it has given me the opportunity to try something new.”

So now Charlie owns his dream home, what’s next? Buying another one of course!

“Tom Jones lives in the apartment above us currently; we sometimes have chats over the balcony,” he reveals.

“His place is really nice, so I’m trying to buy it. If it does become available, I’d put stairs in there, to combine the two apartments, you know, for family. It’s so good, I want two!”



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