For many house hunters, the words ‘special find’ or ‘unique home’ in a property description can send tingles down the back of their spine. These are the words reserved for those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities when extraordinary homes or architectural delights come on to the market, offering a buyer the chance to own something inimitable and rare.
Unique homes are often associated with the extravagant self build ideas rolled out in TV programmes such as Channel 4’s Grand Designs. Where engineering and steel meets nature and history and castles are given a modern twist or water towers are clad in glass. These visionary upgrades help create iconic, stand out buildings and add a much-needed splash of colour to the UK’s ‘cookie-cutter’ housing stock.
However, owning a home that’s different doesn’t always have to involve a grandiose self-build. There are many properties in the UK brimming with character and original features that can offer the perfect backdrop to living in something unique and different.
Period homes, cottages and historic property often have great character and usually a good story to tell that make them unique. Thatched roofs, curved turrets, exposed beams, hidden alcoves, stained glass, medieval fireplaces and the whisper of a ghost story can all bring a unique quality to a home that makes it memorable.
Often, an unusual location or grand view can make even the most ordinary-looking building highly desirable. Beachfront bungalows, canalside cottages or a converted railway station can all offer a novel place to live. A builder in Norfolk even saw the potential in a disused Victorian toilet block – its uniqueness was its beachfront location and it was transformed into a luxury two-floor beach villa.
Developers are increasingly seeing the potential of Britain’s quirky heritage and transforming lighthouses, windmills, churches and factories into homes that offer more than the two-up, two down terraces that have become such a dominant feature on Britain’s streets.
If you want an unconventional home there are many websites dedicated to helping people start their property search:
- Unusual Homes Advertises a wide range of unusual properties and unique homes for sale including luxury houseboats, castles, islands and watermill conversions.
- The Listed Property Owners’ Club A comprehensive source of information and advice on the maintenance, responsibilities and ownership of Britain’s protected buildings.
- Unique Property Bulletin A not-for-profit website to help folk find unusual places to live.
- The Unique Property Company A bespoke agency specialising in selling and letting one-of-a-kind properties in London. Think urban lofts, school conversions, penthouses and warehouses.
- Primelocation This monster property search engine now has a special section offering special architecture and heritage properties to help you find your dream home.
Happy house hunting!