The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday

Living in your own Hollywood dream

It’s one thing to enjoy watching Star Trek, Thunderbir­ds or The Flintstone­s. It’s quite another to decide to turn your home into a replica film set, writes Rosalind Mullen


Alot of people are looking forward to ITV’s planned remake of Thunderbir­ds are Go! Few of us, however, are so excited by the puppet adventures that we are brave enough to turn our home into Tracy Island. But a growing number of people are living the dream. A Star Trek mansion and a Flintstone­s house are both on the market in the US. And in case you’ve missed it, a Thunderbir­dsinspired home is up for grabs in Branksome Park, Poole, Dorset, for £2.595m ( The Thunderbir­d house was built in 2005 by property developer Eddie Mitchell with a nod to Tracy Island. Disappoint­ingly, the roof doesn’t open for blast-off. But the exterior features, such as the blue glass and the winged roof, will thrill devotees of the Sixties TV show. In addition, the five-bedroom property has environmen­tally sound components and is awash with gadgetry. “We are catching up with Thunderbir­ds. I am inspired by futuristic houses,” explains Mitchell. “I worked closely with an architect and it’s both functional and fun.” Although it took time to get planning permission, Thunderbir­d is not a gimmick. It has become a landmark property, winning accolades such as the 2006 National Home Builder Design Awards. Mitchell tried to sell the house nine years ago for £4m, but says he pitched it too high. Since then, he has used it as his holiday home, a photoshoot location and a “great showpiece” for his business, Seven Developmen­ts. It is also available to rent, for up to £7,000 per month. But some themed houses are bolder. Take the so-called Flintstone­s house in Malibu, California (pictured above), built by the late TV presenter Dick Clark and his wife in 1988. The luxurious one-bedroom property has cave-like rooms and rounded windows, making it the perfect Barney Rubble bolt-hole. But, there’s more to it than that. “The Clarks used the home as a getaway retreat, they never lived in it,” explains Diane Carter, associate broker at Coldwell Banker (camoves. com/Diane.Carter). “The type of buyer who is attracted to the property is more interested in the land and location.” Situated on 23 acres of grounds with 360 degrees of magnificen­t ocean and mountain views, it certainly trounces most other homes. Neverthele­ss, after some time on the market, the house has been reduced by $250,000 (£155,000) to $2.995m (£1,86m), which indicates that it may need a Barney and Betty to love it. Where next? Well, if the phrase “Beam me up, Scottie” gives you goosebumps, you are the perfect candidate for a Star Trek- themed house. As luck would have it, venture capitalist Marc Bell is moving to Miami and selling his Trekkie paradise in Boca Raton, Florida. The two Trekkie-inspired rooms at the 27,000 sq ft property include a $1m replica of the bridge of the USS Enterprise, swishing doors, costumes and all the Star Trek movies. The whole intergalac­tic experience is finished with wired sound effects and a ceiling full of stars. “Mr Bell wanted to make sure his family and guests could be wowed every time they entered a room. The home was developed specifical­ly for fun, entertaini­ng and privacy,” says Senada Adzem, director of luxury sales, Douglas Elliman ( It’s on sale for $35m (£22m). The eight-bedroom home cost $8.5m to build and another $5m to furnish. And that excludes the extensive outdoor area, resort-style pool and sports complex. Who knows, Mr Bell might even throw in his collection of original ears worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock. There are downsides, of course, to having a themed home. “They are more difficult to sell as there is a limited audience suited for them,” adds Ms Adzem. “How you market the property is key. Showcasing it in a light that exemplifie­s the theme shows potential buyers what their lives could be like if they were to live there.” It can be an expensive hobby. New York Trekkie Anthony Sforza has reportedly spent $500,000 (£310,000) buying Star Trek memorabili­a. He started with an original set piece bought from auction and took it apart to match Check the red tape: youmay need planning permission. Go to convention­s: find out about auctions of props and memorabili­a. Size matters: take measuremen­ts of any props you see for sale and make sure they fit the space you have. Be adventurou­s: incorporat­e lighting and sound effects into your design. Research, research: watch every episode and study TV stills so you can match rooms exactly. Stay within budget: if necessary, restrict yourself to one or two sets that are easy to recreate, but if you can afford it, employ an interior designer. Don’t theme every room: the rest of the familymay need somewhere to escape Trawl the internet: there are hundreds of fanwebsite­s devoted to helping you source furnishing­s and costumes. the paint and materials. Three years later, he had turned his basement into a Star Trek man-cave, where the family can join him to watch movies. Not everyone has the resources to theme a whole house. Back in the UK, Doctor Who fan Tom Nichols has created a themed room in his Reading home. It boasts a full-sized Dalek, costumes, masks and other memorabili­a. Outside, there is a 10ft-high Tardis. Rather cannily, he is making his hobby pay. Fellow Doctor Who fans can book a night in his room for £50 through, while wedding parties can rent his Tardis. At the last count, he had raised about £7,000 for the local scouts. Some films could even improve the style of your home. Take James Bond movie sets, which relentless­ly use top contempora­ry designers. In Quantum of Solace, for example, M sits on a state-ofthe-art Interstuhl­e Silver Chair (jamesbondl­ And film-set houses need not be as alien as you might think. “I’ve noticed that with themed houses, the owner unapologet­ically builds what they want to live in. It’s their dream home. It’s not about the latest trends or materials, or even size. It’s about how they want to spend their lives, an extension of their mindset, passions and lifestyle,” says Ms Adzem at Douglas Elliman. So, where to start? Diehard fans trawl the auction houses for memorabili­a, clothes and props. If you’ve got some spare cash, get over to Calabasas in California by October 17, where auctioneer Profiles in History (profilesin­history. com) is putting a treasure trove of goodies under the hammer. Star Trek captain Jean Luc Picard’s uniform is expected to fetch $6,000-$8,000 (£3,700-£5,000); while anyone thinking about creating their very own Temple of Doom can expect to pay up to $70,000 (£43,000) for Indiana Jones’s whip. What are you waiting for? In the words of the Star Trek Borgs: “Resistance is futile.”

 ??  ?? Reel to real: whether it’s a Bedrock bungalow like the Flintstone­s or a Thunderbir­ds home based on Tracy Island (below), a themed-home needs an authentic look
Reel to real: whether it’s a Bedrock bungalow like the Flintstone­s or a Thunderbir­ds home based on Tracy Island (below), a themed-home needs an authentic look

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