This former railway carriage turned holiday home has been ‘Mini Modernised’ by designers Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson. Words by Sharon Dale. Pictures by Andrew Boyd and Chris Snook.
Dungeness on the south Kent coast is a Marmite kind of place. Known as the desert of England and flanked by a nuclear power station, it has been described by some as “bleak” and “postapocalyptic”. Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire have a friend who used to play the soundtrack to the dystopian film Blade Runner as he drove down to the beach to visit them but they love this nature-rich headland and all its strangeness.
The Yorkshire-born designers, AKA the duo behind hip homeware brand Mini Moderns, are a bright addition to the small community after buying a holiday home on the shingle.
“We have been visiting Dungeness for nearly 20 years and have always loved the landscape, the atmosphere and big skies,” says Mark.
The pair, who have a main home in London, viewed a Grand Designs-style property before spotting their converted Victorian railway guard’s van. It is one of several placed on the beach in the early 1920s when workers employed by the then Southern Railway bought old rolling stock and turned the carriages into holiday shacks.
“We decided against the Grand Design and went for what some might have described as ‘a shed next to a nuclear power station’. It had been rented out and had seen better days but we loved it immediately,” says Keith.
Its location between the two lighthouses and its uninterrupted