‘In five years we’ve only had one viewing’
would look out of place, though, is next door to the council tip, on a bypass near Bishop Auckland – which is where it is. The house has 38 rooms, self-tanning showers, a bar big enough for 50 people, an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, and its own wind turbine. And it could be all yours for just £3.65million.
Tindale Towers is the home and vision of County Durham furniture magnates Mike and Jules Keen. But with the couple’s children having now left home, they are looking to free up capital to invest in their business, so in May 2011 they decided that it was time to move on. But they’re still there.
“We didn’t think about the long term,” says Mike, who is selling it through George F White. “We’re from the area and work in the area. I didn’t build it for anyone else, I didn’t think about what would happen when the time came to downsize. In four or five years we’ve only had one viewing – some bloke who turned up in an ancient Corsa and just wanted to be nosy. It’s not going to be possible to sell it. We’ll need to find a lottery winner or rock star who comes from Bishop Auckland.”
Kevin McCloud is less pessimistic and, as the presenter of Grand Designs, he has seen more than his fair share of what he calls “idiosyncratic homes that reflect the personalities of the people who built them”.
“I’ve been asking the question for years, but the truth is that they do sell because there will always be buyers for quality, contemporary homes designed by quality architects,” he says. “They won’t sell straight away. And, of course, a house with a revolving kitchen or a helipad on the roof will take longer to sell, but if you make a house that is well-crafted and well-designed, there will be a market. The house that won’t sell is the one that’s bland.”
That’s a sentiment shared by Russell Harris, whose Cheshire home featured
Tindale Towers in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, has been on the market since 2011, and is on sale for £3.65 million