What do you call an estate agent who’s not really an estate agent?
- Credit: Archant
Ellie Rees of Brickworks prefers to sell carefully selected north London properties with the help of arty photography and conversation, rather than underhand tactics and fierce competition
What’s special/different about your agency?
Primarily the fact that we have combined backgrounds in academia, the arts, teaching and law, putting us at ease with our clients. Our ethical approach is fundamental too. And then there’s our marketing. It’s the thing most people comment on: the artistry of the photography and the quality and comprehension of the written literature.
Where do you live and with whom?
In South Tottenham with my daughter and partner, Rex, the sales director of Brickworks. We also have four cats.
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Why did you buy your current property? What’s your favourite thing about it?
My favourite thing about our house is a large, purple Wysteria which climbs along the side wall (we’re end-of-terrace) intertwined with a white rose. They scramble their way up the back of the brick and make it the prettiest house on the street. It makes me smile every time I come home.
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If you weren’t an estate agent what would you be?
I really don’t consider myself an estate agent. I happen to be an artist running a property business. I feel that my role is to help people move home, but I’m not part of the established industry.
When did you buy your first property and what was it like?
Rex and I bought a beautiful two-bedroom, Georgian flat in Islington, which we refurbished about 18 months ago. I loved it at first sight for it’s potential and the fact that we were able to re-configure it without stripping away any of its inherent charm. High ceilings and huge double-height windows make it very light and very special.
What’s your dream house?
I’d opt for a particularly large, Victorian house on Pembury Road, near Bruce Castle Park in Tottenham. It’s where Rex and I met because he was the agent showing me round. The owner didn’t sell in the end and we vowed that one day we’d buy the place and raise our family there. We go back every year to ask the owner, but we’re yet to grind him down.
What’s the most shocking/surprising thing you’ve seen on the job?
Pink, carpeted bathrooms with (carpeted) steps up to a sunken bath are always a winner, but I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years so nothing too shocking just yet.
In what ways has the north London property market changed since you started out?
We have quite a lot of quality control and so we’re lucky in that we really only take on really lovely property. Good stuff is always in demand so we haven’t seen much fluctuation since we began.
What are your top tips for things to do in north London?
The simplest, most obvious things are often the best: a walk in Waterlow Park followed by a glass of wine at The Bull and Last; supper at Fredericks on Camden Passage; the Turkish eateries on Green Lanes have got to be the best place for properly delicious grub. The art and music in north London is good too: the Union Chapel for gigs; the Almeida for theatre and a few small galleries including the Zabludowicz Collection. Some of the best charity shops can be found in Islington, Crouch End, Highgate and Muswell Hill and I LOVE the Southgate Auction House, which is a bit of a hidden gem for mid-century furniture bargains.