On the river Dart, in the southwest county of Devon, England, is a singular labor of love that has been ongoing for nearly 30 years.
The remarkable home is the result of a monumental feat of engineering, with foundations excavated from solid rock, extending 64 feet below ground, as well as the addition of battlemented retaining walls and 36 foot long anchors. The aesthetics of the house were of equal importance as the engineering of the structure; the owners wanted a property that would blend with the historic elements of the entrance to the River Dart while demonstrating traditional skills done by modern day craftsmen.
Built with stone quarried from the site, the house sits above a small harbor excavated out of solid rock, with a slipway and a harbor wall for protection. Known as Inverdart Boathouse, the property also includes the shore extending to the low water mark. So, at least during low tides, it also boasts its own private beach.
The extraordinary home has won numerous awards, including “Best Traditional Home” in Homebuilding and Renovation magazine, which featured the property on the cover. And now, it’s for sale. Bids over $5.8 million are being accepted via listing agent is Sarah-Jane Bingham-Chick at Savills.
Cleaved to the rocky bluff with epic cross-river vistas from most windows, the 4,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath house is arranged over four floors. Many of the interior fittings have been reclaimed from ship breaking yards and include recorded provenances. Some internal walls are simple rock faces, all of the external and internal woodwork is oak, and an elevator shaft has been cut from the solid rock, with the capacity for an eight-passenger lift to all floors.
In a house oozing with eccentricity, one of its more distinctive features are the glass panels on the floor of the living room that offer an aerial view of the Roman-style indoor pool below. Speaking of the mosaic-tiled pool, the pillars that support the house above were created by de Lank Quarry, in Cornwall, famous for building London Bridge, the Eddystone Lighthouse, as well as the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in London’s Hyde Park.
The various terraces and gardens look almost more Mediterranean than anything else, with wonderful colors through the seasons. The stone walls and terracing were built by the same stonemason who did the stonework on the house, with emphasis on creating places to to sit and enjoy the view.
The original boathouse, from the 1850s, is unbelievably charming with a vaulted wooden ceiling, a wood-burning stove set in an exposed stone wall and built-in seating. Double doors open onto the harbor wall and slipway, and there is an eco-friendly saltwater heat exchange reservoir within the seawall.
Agent Sarah-Jane Bingham-Chick, sats, “Frankly, in all of my career. I have never seen anything quite like Inverdart Boathouse; it really is quite magical. The house is fitted out in the latest technology to ensure that whoever is lucky enough to be home’s next custodian can live in 21st century comfort. Inverdart is a real one off.” Indeed, it is.