Go Gothic: live in a clock tower at The Galleries in Essex

Flats at The Galleries in Brentwood, Essex, feature decorative stonework, Gothic arches, cast-iron columns, timber beams, oak staircases and fireplaces.

Why not go house hunting during the festive break? Developers are opening up this Christmas to offer buyers the chance of choosing a new home for the new year. 

Like beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts, show homes are intended to tempt buyers. If you are going to buy anyway — and you like the designer’s style — then the show home could save you a lot of time and money. You can pick up extra furnishings, fixtures or even commissioned art, at competitive prices. The Galleries, above, in Brentwood, Essex, is a fabulous redevelopment of a former Victorian asylum by City & Country, who are experts at restoration building.

There are 131 homes carved out of the listed buildings and cloisters. Decorative stonework, Gothic arches, cast-iron columns, timber beams, oak staircases, mouldings and fireplaces have all been retained and restored, while the original garden designs have been reinstated. Former needlework blocks have become loft-style apartments and even the deconsecrated chapel is now a special triple-height residence.

Just launched are flats in the clock tower featuring roof trusses and exposed brick walls — and ceilings high enough to accommodate a very tall Christmas tree. Prices from £375,000. Call City & Country on 01277 202122.

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