Sep 27, 2016

Off The Wall Properties

Church Conversion

We take a lot of pride in our homes.

And rightly so. They will almost certainly be the biggest financial investment that we ever make.

Is it worth it?

On reflection, yes, it probably is. Owning your home gives you the security that you can’t get with renting, no matter how affable your landlord might seem. Indeed, he or she may be the most affable person you know. But that doesn’t stop the monthly rent you pay them almost certainly exceeding what you could be paying on a mortgage for a similar property.

Let’s face it, whenever they see you, all they hear is this.

There’s also the fact that the value of your home will almost certainly increase as the years pass. Consider those who were able to get themselves onto the property ladder for the first time back in the 1990’s for example when the average UK property price was £51,245*.

For the first quarter of 2016, the average house price in the UK was £198,564.

OK, it’s the proverbial mathematics on the back of a beer mat. But it’s not unreasonable to think that those who bought a home back in the 1990’s and have now either paid off, or are very close to paying off their mortgage are sitting on a very nice little nest egg thankyou very much.

As good as cash in the bank? No, better, miles better. Name a bank or a pension plan that gives that sort of return on your initial investment.

You might be struggling.

But let’s not dwell on the negative. That isn’t our style.

What we like to do at Loft Blinds is, as the song goes, accentuate the positive......

Because the property market isn’t beyond everyone. Not, at least, as it might have been a few years ago.

And if you’re ready and willing to be just a little bit leftfield in your property search then you might just end up with something that can not only be bought for a reasonable price but will, over time, almost certainly draw a lot more interest and attention than the average three bed semi.

Because I’m not talking about the average here. And we’re not going to be enthusing about any three bed semi’s. Or anything like them for that matter.

*Figures from House Price Crash.

We’re looking at properties that are a little bit different. Unusual? Yes. Unique? Perhaps. Not the average three bed semi? Most definitely.

Water Tower Property

Take this water tower for example.

Unusual? You bet.

But come on, take a closer look. Open your mind to the possibilities here. Yes, it might, when you first look at it, seem as if it should be on the set of A Clockwork Orange.

Yet concrete brutalism is rapidly becoming, for many, almost a ‘must have’ in terms of its design, look and overall aesthetic appeal.

And with a bit of imagination, that brutal looking water tower might end up looking something like this.

Or how about this?

Don’t tell me that interior isn’t stunning. Because it is. That bedroom looks like the sort of room that people in 1976 thought might be the norm forty years later.

Turns out they weren’t that far out.

Polished Chrome Open Kitchen

This image is one of a kitchen in the same water tower that the one of the bedroom was taken in.

If people didn’t know where that picture was taken, indeed, if they were simply told it was a modern kitchen in that proverbial three bedroomed semi in Purley, well, they’d all want one.

And, whilst one argument might be that having an imagination is all very well, but it takes a lot of time and, crucially, money to make that sort of vision a reality, then consider this.

The price guide for that water tower we showed you earlier was just £4,000.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Let’s move on.

Ever thought about living in a Church, for example?

They were once regarded as places where those looking to escape from the long arm of the law could seek safety and sanctuary.

Yet now, they are, in ever increasing numbers, being seen as somewhere you can seek sanctuary in as your home.

This is the Church of St Mary Magdalen in Radstock.

It was previously the home of Dai Bradley who British film aficionados will remember played the part of Billy Casper in Ken Loach’s acclaimed film Kes.

In a conversion that was anything but a spiritual one, the architects who worked on the Church’s transformation from a neglected place of worship to a much loved family home made sure it retained much of its original character with the vaulted ceilings, beams and masonry all left intact and as they were.

And you know what?

It now looks like a place of real warmth. Something it might never have been whilst it was serving out its life as a Church in the more traditional sense.

Fancy a room with a view?

Then this former RAF Control Tower might be just the place for you. Or at least it might have been.

Offering some superb views of the surrounding Scottish countryside, the airbase was once used to train Polish pilots before being converted into use as a German prisoner of war camp.

How about that as a story for your first dinner party?

Mod Bunker Building

The conversion of the tower into the four storey home that the artists impression shows will now be complete and, no doubt, it will have been sold and be both lived in and loved. And no wonder. As well as those views and that great feeling of space all around you, something which now comes very much at a premium in the property market, the home has three bedrooms, all of them en-suite as well as a glass walled sun room and a roof terrace. It is also, for golf fanatics, just ten miles from Gleneagles, scene of the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Magnificent. No question.

Unusual? Most definitely.

Finally, how about a property opportunity which, not so long ago, would have been the very epitome of all things final?

Built at a cost of £30 Million in 1990, it went on the market for just £200,000 a couple of years ago.

No wonder the MOD is short of tanks and ships.

It’s at the Cultybraggan camp near Dundee and had an original remit to protect 150 local worthies in the event of an imminent nuclear strike on the UK.

So it’s going to be roomy at least.

Among the extra’s that the base offered at the time was a custom built BBC studio designed, in the aftermath of the holocaust, to reach out and see if anyone was left on the outside.

A sobering thought. And plenty of ghosts, no doubt, in and around the place, even today. But hey, with a front door like this, you wouldn’t have any problems keeping the local charity collectors away.

This particular site was eventually bought for just £150,000 by a technology company keen to use it for the storage of data and long term projects of a similar nature. So its brief to provide protection is, at least, still being provided.

And let’s face it, it’s one hell of a place to go to work in. And as safe a work place as you could ever wish for if someone pressed the button whilst you were at work!