A digital missive from Flower Perfectbush, our real estate-obsessed operative on the ground in the U.K., let us know that preternaturally talented — and uncommonly comely — two-time Oscar winning Aussie actress Cate Blanchett and her playwright-director husband Andrew Upton are widely rumored in the British tabs to have shelled out somewhere around $4.5 million for Highwell House, a 13-plus acre country estate near Crowborough in the bucolic and heavily celebrified East Sussex area, about an hour south of London.
The decidedly grand, red-brick Victorian manor house was originally built in the late 1800s, recently restored and thoroughly updated with bespoke fittings and fixtures, and measures in at about 9,000 square feet, according to the floor plan we dredged up, with seven bedrooms plus a one-bedroom staff apartment, a total of eight full and two half bathrooms, and more than a dozen antique fireplaces. The mansion’s mostly baronial-proportioned living and entertainment spaces include a paneled reception hall with a solid oak staircase, a 40-foot drawing room lit by a glitzy pair of crystal chandeliers, a secondary lounge that opens through French doors to a black slate terrace, and a formal dining room. There’s also a cozy study/library, a colossal eat-in kitchen, and an unexpectedly wee family room. The Arcadian estate’s verdant grounds offer vast lawns, a private pond with island, and an array of mostly decrepit outbuildings. Some of the nearby towns and villages are home to the high-profile likes of fellow Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills, and musician Bryan Ferry.
Upton and Blanchett, nominated for a seventh Oscar for her nuanced portrayal of the titular role in the much-lauded “Carol,” listed their historic and sophisticatedly renovated estate in the Sydney suburbs last year for about $14.75 million, quickly sold it for around $14.1 million, and immediately plunked down somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million for a modern-minded five-bedroom duplex apartment in downtown Sydney once owned by drag entertainer Barry Humphries, a.k.a. Dame Edna Everage, and purchased from “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” host Mark Bouris.