When it comes to our homes, most of us are happy with a roof that doesn’t leak and four walls that keep the world at bay. But some home buyers have a vision beyond the bland, seen-one-you’ve-seen-em-all estates the big builders often throw up.
They’re the sort who can look at a derelict barn and envision a bespoke Grand Designs-style home from the ruins. If all you need is imagination and the cash to realise your vision, here are five of the more off-the-wall places and properties that could make a unique place to live.
All at sea
In 2016, a World War One sea fort off the Lincolnshire coast came on the market for a sale price of £350,000.
Built between 1915 and 1918 to protect the east coast from potential enemy attacks, the Haile Sand Fort is certainly one of the sturdiest constructions around thanks to the 40,000 tons of concrete and steel used to build it.
The fort was still in use until the early 1960s but has long since been abandoned by the military. Only accessible by boat, it offers outstanding views of the Lincolnshire coast and will certainly be a challenge to turn into a liveable state.
Island in the stream
We’ve all dreamed at some point of having our own island, an idyll away from the stresses and strains of modern life. While our dreams might take us to a tropical paradise, there’s an island a little closer to home that was recently available.
Listed on Rightmove in late 2017 with an asking price of just £550,000, Thorne Island sits off the Pembrokeshire coast and comes with its own 10-bedroom mansion that was once a military fort. While uninhabited for a long time, the property offers incredible scope for someone who perhaps fancies secluded living or even turning the home into a boutique hotel.
On the march
Former military barracks and land across the UK, sold off by the Government, have become a popular development opportunity.
The former Prince Philip Barracks in Bordon, Hampshire, are the most recent development, with more than 3,000 homes expected to be built in what will effectively become a new town. A timelapse video, shot over two months, shows the scale of the barracks and the extent of the dismantling and preparation needed before a brick could be laid in anger.
At your convenience
Buying a public toilet may not be everyone’s idea of a good investment for a home. But if you’re feeling flush – do you see what we did there? – a good, old-fashioned construction can be the ideal foundation for something a little more swish.
Back in 2015, Savills was listing a former public convenience in Arnold, Nottingham, at a guide price of £5,000-£10,000. And with the local council looking favourably on a change of use application, the 100 sq ft building could certainly have made a quirky choice as a home.
Forget the naughty step if your kids are playing up. Just bang them in the cells. Well, that’s an option if you’re living in a converted former police station that comes with its own bar – and cells.
The Old Nick in Derbyshire is now a five-bedroom home worth around £500,000. But the Grade II listed building began life in the 1840s as Derbyshire’s first police HQ. The cells have become an entertainment room while the exercise yard, where prisoners once toiled, is a courtyard garden.