Ronnie Wood trashed my tower! Why this six-storey property needs a £75,000 refurb before the owner can sell


A sign at the foot of the spiral staircase of Jennifer Lacoste's Ruxley Tower instructs visitors to take off their shoes before ascending. It is clearly rather too late for that.

As a member of the French clothing dynasty, Lacoste admits she is set to replace the carpets throughout the six-storey tower following the departure of her last tenant, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

'He left it in such a state I could barely get through the front door,' says Jennifer. She is spending more than £75,000 on replacing the carpets, which she claims Wood stained with coffee, cigarette burns and paint from his artistic creations.

Ruxley Tower in Esher, Surrey, needs more than £75, 000 spending on it after Ronnie Wood stayed there

Ruxley Tower in Esher, Surrey, needs more than £75, 000 spending on it after Ronnie Wood stayed there

She has already repainted the walls that 'went from being bright white to yellow from Ronnie's constant smoking'.

Ronnie, 63, lived in the octagonal building with vaulted ceilings and trompe l'oeil entrance hall, for two years. He moved into the home in Claygate, Surrey, in September 2009 with his young girlfriend at the time, Ekaterina Ivanova, for whom he left his wife of 23 years, Jo.

Jennifer takes his bad behaviour with the sort of resigned good grace you might expect from a long-suffering rocker's wife. She is such a fan that she agreed to give Ronnie a 50 per cent discount on the rent. 'Just because he's Ronnie, I charged him £4,000 a month, rather than £8,000.

Ronnie lived in the octagonal building with his young girlfriend at the time, Ekaterina Ivanova (pictured), for whom he left his wife of 23 years, Jo

Ronnie lived in the octagonal building with his young girlfriend at the time, Ekaterina Ivanova (pictured), for whom he left his wife of 23 years, Jo

'If I'd known he would be moving in, I would never have installed that pale carpet in the first place. What was I thinking? But he was a fantastic tenant, really - it worked both ways. He always paid his rent on time. And I'll always remember his collection of Ugg boots in different colours,' she says.

It's easy to see why the musician, who is also an accomplished artist, was so taken with the tower. It is flooded with natural light.

'It is the sort of magical place that appeals to some people,' says Jennifer. 'Ronnie painted in every room. Some of his work was incredible. He has talent.' Jennifer's history with Ruxley dates back to 1996, when she bought the four-bedroom tower from a developer for £1.2million.

If I'd known he would be moving in, I would never have installed that pale carpet in the first place. But he was a fantastic tenant, really... I'll always remember his collection of Ugg boots in different colours

The Liberal peer Henry Thomas Foley, 5th Baron Foley, built it in 1870 for his wife Lady Evelyne as an extension to their existing 64-room mansion, which has subsequently been knocked down. 'Queen Victoria came over from nearby Claremont, her childhood home, to take tea with Lady Evelyne,' says Jennifer.

At the top is a sun-trap of a roof terrace, which offers a panoramic views towards Central London.

'On some days you can see Windsor Castle,' says Jennifer, who has made her own mark by installing three new en suite bathrooms, a kitchen and a utility room. She also installed a fittingly grand 15th Century marble fireplace from France in the drawing room. Ronnie's decision to move from Surrey to London last September prompted Jennifer to put the house on the market.

'Whoever buys it will love it as much as we have. They will buy it on the spot and sign the cheque there and then,' she says. She fondly remembers barbecues on the roof with her son during the 13 years the pair lived in the property before letting it to Ronnie.

Fairytale: The £3.5 million Surrey tower has a crenellated roof and spacious living area

Fairytale: The £3.5 million Surrey tower has a crenellated roof and spacious living area

But she adds: 'It's time for other people to have the enjoyment of Ruxley Tower.' Potential buyers will need a fat chequebook to meet the £3.5million price tag. Even for Claygate, which along with neighbouring Esher and Cobham is nicknamed the 'Beverly Hills of Britain' because of its high ratio of celebrities and wealthy residents - including Gary Lineker and Chris Tarrant - it is a premium price.

A four-bedroom house in Claygate normally sells for between £700,000 and £900,000. Selling agent Barbara Moore, of Fine, admits that if Ruxley Tower sells for the asking price, it will set a new record for Claygate, which is a shade cheaper than Esher and Cobham.

'You can't value a property such as this on a price per square foot as it's so unusual,' she says. 'I think it will be bought by an international buyer who is taken by its historical significance, and has homes in other parts of the world and wants a base close to London.'

Fine, 01372 841 910

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