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Evolution of Home Cinemas to VIP Club Lounges

Wetherell provides some valuable insight into the evolution of private cinemas in Mayfair’s finest luxury homes, featuring some of the most sophisticated VIP club lounges.

May 22, 2018 | By Shirley Wang

The invention of the first Kodak 8mm film projector equipment in the 1940s made it possible for movies to be enjoyed simply from home, and thus the popularisation of the home cinemas in United States and Britain luxury homes in the 1940s and 1950s.

Now, home cinemas have evolved into sophisticated VIP club lounges complete with cocktail bars, wine cellars and night-club style spaces.

Posh private nightclubs – known as “VIP club lounge” in developer-speak – are the most popular “must have” room that London’s super-rich want in their homes, a new review of wealthy lifestyle habits has found.

The luxurious private club lounge at Curzon Cinemas.

Private home cinemas, personal gyms and health spas – previously “must have” entertainment rooms – are now seen as “tame” and “standard” kit for the super-rich. For houses priced above £10 million in Mayfair, 70% have a private home cinema/media room whilst another 20% have a VIP club lounge. The remaining 10% having a large cinema-like TV screen set in bespoke joinery in the main reception room.

The percentage for VIP club lounges however, increases drastically to 60% for houses above£20 million. Commonly, 300 square feet will be designated for a spacious private cinema or a more general media room space. These private clubs cost between £850,000 to £2 million to install – a rather high price tag that costs more than the average house price in London – but has the potential to offer the must pampering luxury for its guests.

The entrance to the Curzon cinemas.

The Evolution of Home Theatre

The first generations of home cinemas reveals the great evolution that they have underwent. In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt installed a 42 seat private cinema in the White House, a trend that promptly caught on in the US by Elvis, John Wayne and Liberace. In London 1951, the Duchess of Argyll had a private projection room installed in her Mayfair mansion at 48 Upper Grosvenor Street and in 1953, HLM The Queen Mother installed a private cinema in Clarence House. Yet in those decades, private cinema rooms still had to rely on expensive and fiddly film projectors and so remained the haunt of celebrities and VVIPs.

However, during the 1980s, the development of VHS videos and large format television screens allowed for the much wider development of private home cinemas in luxury homes across the UK and USA. Rooms became dressed with movie-theatre style tiered seating facing a large cinema-like screen.

By the 2000s, home cinemas or media rooms had become essential in Mayfair’s finest houses, mews and mansions. Newer luxury apartments had a shared media room/cinema, which residents could book via a concierge.

The Adam’s Row house that offers a 10 seat media home cinema.

Trend of VIP Club Lounges

Over the last five years, Wetherell has observed that newer luxury homes favour installing a VIP club lounge over standard home cinema. Designed to reflect the ambience and amenities of a VIP member’s club like Alfreds, The Arts Club or Soho House into a home, these private clubs can be personalised to offer the best for its guests.

Wetherell currently have a range of homes for sale offering either VIP club lounges, home cinemas or some form of special cinema facility.

A bespoke bar in the clubroom of the Culross house.

The Culross House on Culross Street Wetherell, the only newly built townhouse-mansion currently for sale in London’s Mayfair, is built by ultra-prime developer K10 Group. Priced at £35 million (freehold), the house consists of a new 8,051 sq.ft (747.99 sqn.) five bedroom ambassadorial house, complete with VIP club lounge, swimming pool, spa complex and private rear garden.

Its spectacular VIP club lounge has bespoke cocktail bar with ice machine, fitted cabinets and kitchenette, with the bar bordered by bespoke bar chairs. The lounge also features a spacious cinema room with a super-large projection screen and lounge seating. The club lounge is complete with glass walled walk-in Humidor and wine cellar, with separate red, white and champagne fridges, set a different temperatures.

On Farm Street, a double fronted 8,139 sqft four bedroom house which has a private home cinema on the lower ground floor with loungers, coffee tables and bespoke cabinetry for drinks and refreshments. Adjoining the vip club lounge is a cocktail bar/kitchenette also serves cocktails and champagne to cinema guests. The Farm Street house is priced at £25 million.

For those who desire a more cosy home, a 3,834 sqft four bedroom coach house on Adam’s Row offers a 10 seat media home cinema, complete with a special champagne/wine wall and an adjoining kitchenette and bar area for serving drinks and refreshments. The Adam’s Row house is priced at £10.95 million.

For the most ultimate home cinema, Wetherell presents four 2/3 lateral apartments at the Grade II listed Curzon Cinema Building at 37-38 Curzon Street. Home to one of London’s oldest and most prestigious cinemas, the Curzon Cinema Building was designed and built in 1963-66, with the basement and ground floor containing the cinema and offices on the upper floors. In 1967 the offices were converted into five luxurious apartments.

Dating back to 1934, the Curzon Cinema was a popular venue for Royal visits and red carpet premiers. The original cinema was demolished in 1964 and replaced by the current building by architect Francis Lorne with modernist and Art Deco interiors by designer William Mitchell. The Curzon Cinema Building has hosted numerous red carpet premiers, including names such as Justin Timberlake (In Time premier), Sandra Bullock (The Heat) and Julianne Moore (Still Alice).

The ground floor entrance foyer to the penthouse flats at 37 Curzon St.

Peter Wetherell, Chief Executive of Wetherell says: “When the Duchess of Argyll and HM The Queen Mother installed private cinemas in their homes during the 1950s it was seen as the height of luxury and refinement.”

“Today, home cinemas are viewed as a standard feature in Mayfair, and the benchmark has now been raised so that having a VIP club lounge is seen as the “must have” lifestyle amenity.”

For further sales information on these cinema linked homes, contact Wetherell below:

Tel: 020 7529 5566 /

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