Published: 00:00, 21 April 2015 |
Updated: 08:40, 21 April 2015
The famous “mystery buyer” of the town’s former youth centre has opened up the refurbished building exclusively for the eyes of Faversham News readers.
Paul Joyce, a filmmaker, artist and photographer, who has worked alongside Quentin Tarantino, Dennis Hopper, Robert Redford and Johnny Cash, bought the property on the corner of South Road during an auction in February.
Since the auction, he has transformed the grade II listed building, spending £140,000 on the renovation so far and restoring the Georgian property, now known as South House, to its former glory.
With a glimmer of the youth club still in every room, such as a basketball hoop in what was once a sports hall and now Paul’s art studio, the eccentric pensioner even featured on an episode of Homes under the Hammer earlier this year.
But a few months down the line, the building is even more spectacular than what was shown on the BBC programme.
Paul calls his £410,000 winning bid a “bargain” and says a property with this potential in London would be worth £3-4million.
He also says that his bidding war pushed out another eager buyer,
who was intending to turn the building into 12 individual flats – a use which would “ruin” it, says Paul.
He said: “I was told this building would be unsalvageable, that it was beyond repair. Well, they should come and take a look.
“A project like this is like a piece of artwork.
“Its Georgian features were completely hidden away or fully taken out before I moved in.
“There were originally 14 Georgian doors which had been taken out and thrown into a skip. I went out and bought 14 more Georgian doors to replace the fire doors which hung in their place.
“I wanted somewhere I could store my work in, somewhere I can do my research, a place to work and a place to live – South House is perfect.”
"I wanted somewhere I could store my work in, somewhere I can do my research, a place to work and a place to live – South House is perfect."
The building, which dates back to 1790, has four huge rooms downstairs and four equally large rooms upstairs, with a wide entrance and circling staircase.
It is a manor house more suited to Downton Abbey than in our market town.
As a keen artist, the main gym has become Paul’s studio and he also has an exhibition room upstairs.
With a library downstairs, filled with thousands of books and CDs, and an open-planned, exquisite kitchen, Paul has turned the former community club into his ideal home.
He said: “I’m adding to its financial value, but more importantly I’m adding to its aesthetic, historical and cultural value.
“Within the next four months, we should be nearing completion.
“I have built and developed around 15 properties so I know what I am doing now. In walking into any building, I know within five minutes whether I would like to buy it.
“I had an instinct about this one.”
Paul, who volunteers at Oxfam in London and has helped them to find suitable buildings for development, has fallen well and truly in love with Faversham.
He has moved from Dulwich in London and has two sons and a granddaughter.
He said: “I love the town. It’s very pretty and has some great shops. I have bought more antiques in the last two months than I have in the last five years, and all of them have been from Faversham.
“There are very good reasons to be in Faversham.”
Paul says that anyone is welcome to contact him and ask to view the property and his studio.
What do you think? Leave your comments below.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
We have four editions of our Kent Homes, Gardens and Interiors magazine for you to read. Click here to view them all.