By Alex Jones
A DARK and dreary terraced house bought for just FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS in the 1980s has been painstakingly revamped by its owner and is now on the market for almost £2M.
Photos of the stunning four-bedroom Victorian townhouse show an exquisite home chock-a-block with tasteful designs and period fixtures – including a luxury bathroom with standalone tub; an elegant living room with a fascinating array of antiquities; and a jaw-dropping bedroom filled with natural light.
Another set of photos shows the remarkable change the neighbourhood has undergone in the last four decades, with a grainy snap from the 80s showing very little in the way of skyscrapers whilst more recent shots from the property’s roof terrace show the distinctive gleaming glass super structures of Canary Wharf.
Michael Hart (61), a builder and plasterer by trade, has lived in the London property since the early 80s, completely refurbishing the dilapidated property into a spectacular family home while holding down a full-time job and raising his two boys.
“It’s been my life’s work, a real labour of love,” explained Michael.
“When I bought the house I paid £5,500 for it and helped the then-occupant and his wife moved to a new property around the corner – the house had become too much for them and they were happy as Larry in their new place. I gave them an extra £500 to help set them up there too.
“The first thing I had to do was gut the whole building as it was a bit of a state. I had a young family and was still learning my own trade so that was the hardest part, just getting it to a position where I could start making the home my own. With all the plastering and shoring up the basement, it was around six years before it was properly habitable. It was a lot of work and a lot of the time I was testing out skills that I’d never used before. I just moved in and cracked on. Though, nothing else for it. Every penny I earned went back into the house.
“It’s all a bit different nowadays – even though the extension took a lot out of me – and there’s a lot of mates who have helped me out over the years by offering up their skills too. But I’m proud of the house, it’s taken me 36 years but everything is the best it can be and I did so much of it by myself.”
After living in the property for the vast majority of his adult life, Michael admits it will be a wrench to leave the home he spent decades labouring over, but he now has different priorities.
“When I first bought the house, there was nothing around here, just a bus to and from the docks every now and again,” he recalled.
“Bit of a ghost town really. It’s funny, now the only way I get to see any sky is by looking directly up! I’ve spent most of the last 40 years living in, or surrounded by, building sites. I’ve got my grandkids to think about now, I’ve done all I can do here so it’s time to go get a new place in the country – somewhere I can get my hands dirty and the kids can run around. I’ve got to the time in my life where I want a bit of fresh air and a bit of peace. You’re not going to get that here, it’s a hectic pace of life – full of bankers and big city types. Different to how it was.
“It’s going to be very hard to leave nonetheless. I did originally have it on the market for £2,500,000 a few years back but Brexit has made the market turbulent. I’ve dropped to £1,800,000 and I won’t go a penny below that – the worst case is that I live out the rest of my life in this gorgeous house and that’s not so bad is it?”
The striking property is on the market with luxury estate agents Fine & Country where it is listed for £1,800,000.
Alongside Michael’s handiwork, the four-bedroom home boasts stained glass windows, ornate fireplaces, decorative cornicing and ceiling roses, and exposed brickwork.
Accessed via a charming cast iron spiral staircase, the lower ground floor holds an extensive living room spanning the length of the property. The room benefits from a number of features including a hand-renovated wooden floor. There are three bathrooms throughout the house. It is also within a few minutes commute of Bank and Canary Wharf.
A spokesperson for Fine & Country was thrilled to have the unique property on their books.
“Michael’s home is a testament to his character and tenacity,” said Alexander Fords of Fine & Country.
“This charming house has been lovingly and expertly restored, filled with eccentricities and period features. Like Michael, it’s a true east end gem, one of its kind and offers a distinctly rare opportunity to own a slice of history in the east.”
For more information, please visit https://www.fineandcountry.com/uk/property-for-sale/london/e14-3nu/1570574