Annunicata Elwes argues the case for nanny flats that are practically perfect in every way, and finds three beautiful homes which show off how things can be.
With the release of Mary Poppins Returns on December 19, we look forward to reconnecting with the Banks family, who – thanks to a nanny who was ‘practically perfect in every way’ and has inspired a sequel 54 years after the initial film – will be back flying kites and dancing with chimney sweeps.
Back in pre-First World War Britain when the original Mary Poppins was set, nannies commuted over rooftops with an umbrella and were content with a pint-sized room under the eaves with an iron bed, dresser and washstand.
Today, he or she deserves something more in keeping with 21st-century living. ‘If you want the best nanny, then you have to look after her,’ says Rupert Sweeting of Knight Frank.
‘She will nearly be part of the family and will desire her own car, holidays, a Christmas bonus and correct accommodation.’ That means going beyond IKEA’s finest and granny’s cast-off quilt.
Just as a nanny’s curriculum vitae has expanded – as well as caring for youngsters, they act as chauffeur, tennis coach, French instructor and cordon-bleu chef – so has her choice of residence.
Camilla Elwell of Savills says that adds many families often include a high-end dwelling for staff as part of their plans when moving to the country, and recommends a self-contained space with external access for distance when off the clock.
‘It’s a good idea to futureproof your home with flexible space that can be used by the nanny in the first instance, then as a home for granny, followed by housing for a couple who can look after you down the line,’ she says, adding that converting an outbuilding into a cottage or studio flat, with a kitchen containing a good oven and dishwasher, can pay dividends. So not only can you can bag a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nanny, you can also add value to your property.
A self-contained nanny flat is tucked away on the lower-ground floor of this five-bed-room, double-fronted house over four storeys on Jubilee Place.
There’s a walled garden and Chelsea’s Kings Road is conveniently close.
Early-Georgian Hall Court was once a vicarage and now has nine bedrooms, a large kitchen, a coach house with stables and a self-contained staff flat.
In Midgham Green village, three miles from the market town of Thatcham, Nature studies can be conducted in 7½ acres of gardens and parkland – perfect for flying a kite.
Berkshire – £2.395 million
Substantial Victorian The Old Rectory in the village of Tidmarsh has six bedrooms, high ceilings, fireplaces and oak flooring. There’s a lodge across the main drive with accommodation.
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