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Grand Designs water tower sold: Grade II-listed London home that cost £2 million to renovate sells after price reduction

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Sold: the £2m renovation of this water tower - which ran £1.4m over budget - pushed its former owners and their credit cards to the max (Foxtons)
Sold: the £2m renovation of this water tower - which ran £1.4m over budget - pushed its former owners and their credit cards to the max (Foxtons)

The Grand Designs water tower in Kennington, that once supplied the workhouse that Charlie Chaplin lived in as a child, has finally been sold after the price was slashed from £3.6 million to £2.75 million — Homes and Property can exclusively reveal.

The unique 10-storey property, which was rescued from dereliction just over a decade ago and underwent a £2 million transformation into 4,500sq ft home, has sold this time around in less than two months and has just made the stamp duty holiday deadline.

The Chancellor’s Covid tax break saves buyers £15,000 and ends on 30 June.

Dating back 150 years, the abandoned structure was bought in 2010 by a savvy real estate developer and his partner and converted on a nail-biting episode on Grand Designs.

The new owner is considering adding a hot tub to the unusual property’s glamorous roof terrace (Foxtons)
The new owner is considering adding a hot tub to the unusual property’s glamorous roof terrace (Foxtons)

Leigh Osborne and his partner Graham Voce spotted the tower from their rented apartment on the 36th floor of the Strata building, just a few hundred yards away.

They bought it for just £380,000 and spent close to £2 million in transforming the abandoned Grade II-listed building into a five-bedroom, four-bathroom home. They risked everything to complete the project, which cost far more than they had budgeted for, and even put some costs on Osborne’s grandmother’s credit card.

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It has now been sold by Foxtons to London-based commercial director Jamie Hamer. A spokesperson for the estate agent declined to comment on price. However, there was lots of interest in the property suggesting that it went for close to the asking price of £2.75 million.

The home was first put on the market by Osborne and Voce in 2018 where it sat for six months before the price was lowered once and withdrawn. It was then launched again in April at the lower price as lockdown restrictions began to ease. Contracts were exchanged this week.

The tower was built in 1867 to provide a 30,000-gallon water supply for the nearby Lambeth Workhouse where more than 800 destitute families were once housed and where seven-year-old Charlie Chaplin lived with his impoverished mother.

The renovated tower’s top room is used as a reception area and covers 24 sq ft with panoramic views (Foxtons)
The renovated tower’s top room is used as a reception area and covers 24 sq ft with panoramic views (Foxtons)

The refurbishment included the restoration of the tower and the addition of a two-level glass cube on top giving views across central and south London with the largest sliding doors in Europe installed. The breath-taking top room is used as a reception area and covers 24 sq ft with panoramic views.

“I have always been fascinated by castles and this is the closest I’ll get to owning one in central London. I plan to put a dining table in the top observation room and may look into a hot tub if the roof terrace allows,” says Hamer.

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