Couple transform Peckham shell into £835k dream home


First floor lounge

Mark Disley and Alison Fitzpatrick have spent the last 12 years transforming a disused workshop in the backstreets of undesirable Peckham into a dream home. They originally bought the shell for £220,000, and have put it on the market for £835,000.

But is it worth the money?


The couple were inspired after a trip to New York in the 1990s. They were determined to create something similar in the UK, and spent four years searching for the ideal property.

In 2001, they finally found what they were looking for: a workshop in unfashionable Peckham Rye. It was once the home of a military milliner, but was a run down mess by the time they bought it for just £220,000.

The couple didn't have an awful lot of money to spend on the property. Fashion stylist Fitzpatrick, said: "We did it in stages, as and when we could scrape the money together for the next stage. We made our first room out of cardboard boxes, and we used a ladder for stairs and a bucket for a W.C."

Her partner, computer repair engineer Disley, said: "It was my job to work out where the walls, stairs and doors should go and Alison was in charge of the interior design." He added: "It was hard work between our day jobs, over several years, but well worth the effort. We love the house and we love the village community in this part of Peckham, where many local people pitched in to help us do the house."

Over the 12 years, Fiztpatrick's eye for style has meant the property has achieved everything they set out to: it's a loft apartment in a mews house in an area which is becoming increasingly desirable. The estate agent, Becky Munday, of GJM Property calls it: "an extraordinary property in a fabulous area that is still undergoing gentrification."

Now, they have decided to sell, and have put the property on the market for £825,000. That's an impressive price for a property with only two bedrooms.

From Peckham shell to dream home - Choumert Mews

From Peckham shell to dream home - Choumert Mews

But is it worth it?

The agents are convinced it's a real find. You could argue that they're bound to be enthusiastic, after-all they only get paid if they sell the place. However, the language they use on this property is unusual to say the least, stating: "Pinch yourself. This is actually happening. Truly rarely available, the last time one of these exclusive properties was available was way back in 2009."

It adds: "Upstairs you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked on to the set of 'Friends'." And "Locations don't get much hotter than this."

To add to their argument, there's the fact that £835,000 seems to be the going rate for a two-bedroom property in the area which the sellers consider to be outstanding. Disley and Kilpatrick's home has been featured in The Sunday Times, but there's another property on the market nearby, which was built-in the 1950s and renovated in 2007, which won the Sunday Telegraph's award for best renovation in 2007. The owners are also asking £835,000.


However, it's a very pricey property for Peckham. According to Foxtons, the average price of a flat in the area is £324,166, and the average house costs £533,488. It says you could buy a typical four bed property for about £730,000.

There are are a couple of eight-bedroom houses for sale in the area for just £14,000 more than the asking price of this two-bed property.

It's also worth bearing in mind that the area may be up-and-coming, but it still has a fair way to go. Many people associate it either with the 2011 riots or the Trotter family.

It has a reputation for gangs - and a sad history of shootings. Last year a woman was shot while out shopping - caught in the crossfire between two men. It also suffers more violent crime than other local neighbourhoods in the borough - and even the police station was petrol-bombed this year.

Clearly the target market for a stunning property in the area is not going to be enormous - and not helped by the fact that there are two on the market at the same time a stone's throw from one another.

Perhaps the most telling fact is that the couple themselves value the money more than they value the property. With two young children they have weighed up their options and decided to move from the two-bedroom property with no garden.

Disley says: "We have done so well on the house financially, as well as on Peckham Rye's rise in value, we want the children to benefit by using the money to buy something bigger so they have more space."

But what do you think? Can a two-bedroom property in Peckham ever be worth so much?

Inside the £450k hoarder house

Inside the £450k hoarder house

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