A British art dealer spent 15 years building a boathouse that looks like a medieval castle. Now he's selling it for $5.8 million — take a look inside.

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A boathouse in Dartmouth, England, is on the market for $5.8 million.
  • David Southwick designed a boathouse that looks like a medieval castle in Devon, England.
  • The property took 15 years to complete, and in 2008 Southwick and his wife moved in.
  • The boathouse is now on the market for £5 million, or around $5.8 million.

David Southwick spent 15 years building a five-story boathouse on the River Dart in Devon, England. Now it's on the market for £5 million, or around $5.8 million.

boathouse river dart
The boathouse on the banks of the River Dart, England.

Southwick, an art dealer from the UK, told Insider that he was inspired to design the boathouse in 1993 after visiting Ninfa, an Italian town 50 miles south of Rome that's known for its ruinous buildings. He said he wanted the exterior of the building to look like the ruins of an ancient building or a castle. 

The four-bedroom property has scenic views of the River Dart and is one mile away from Dartmouth, a town in Devon.

river dart
The scenic views from the boathouse on the River Dart.

The River Dart is popular for water sports such as sailing, kayaking, and paddle boarding, according to Visit South Devon. Meanwhile, Dartmouth is known for its food and restaurants and local beaches, according to Discover Dartmouth.

In order to build the boathouse, Southwick said they had to demolish a much smaller property that stood on the site since the 1960s.

original boathouse property
The original property that stood on the site.
David and Annette Southwick

The former property had two floors and was 10 feet wide. It had been built on the site where a boathouse stood since the 1850s, which they were able to keep in its original condition. 

Southwick said they demolished the 1960s property but kept the original boathouse on the ground floor.

original boathouse river dart
The original boathouse has stood on the site since the 1850s.

The boathouse has a vaulted timber ceiling and built-in seating, according to the real-estate agency Savills' online listing.

The current property is more than 4,000 square feet across five floors and was built 19.5 meters below ground level.

boathouse river dart
The boathouse was put on the market in August.

It also has a private beach and an indoor swimming pool, according to the listing. 


Although Southwick and his wife Annette only moved into the boathouse in 2008, he said people assume it's hundreds of years old.

boathouse exterior
The exterior of the boathouse was inspired by the ruinous village of Ninfa in Italy.

Southwick said he and his wife moved in shortly after the property was completed in 2008, but people assume it's an ancient building due to the way the exterior was designed. The boathouse was built from stone quarried on site and the roof was laid with Delabole slate, Savills' listing states.

"Everyone thinks it's an old building that we restored, but it's actually a new building in an old style," he said. "That was one reason to do it, to make it look like it's been here for hundreds of years."

After living on the property for 14 years, the couple now plan to relocate to Italy.

boathouse river dart
The decking of the boathouse looking out to the River Dart.

The couple are selling the property because they want to move to Italy, Southwick said. He added that they also own another property in the area, which they'll stay in while in the UK.

The interior of the boathouse was designed to look like a yacht, with hatches on the floor for storage, Southwick said.

boathouse kitchen
The kitchen.

The kitchen has oak paneling, built-in cabinets, and two glass double doors.

The kitchen leads into the living area. This room has glass paneling on the floor, which gives a bird's-eye view of the indoor swimming pool on the floor below.

boathouse living area
The living area.

The living area also has a door leading out to the balcony.

There is a stairwell to the lower floors, however, Southwick said he helped design an elevator shaft that was never installed.

boathouse stairwell
The stairwell.

He said he has no current plans to install it, but the future buyer would be able to do so if they wish. 

The pillared swimming pool was designed by De Lank Quarry, Cornwall, which is known for building London Bridge and the Princess Diana memorial fountain in Hyde Park, the listing states.

swimming pool in boathouse
The swimming pool.

There is a bespoke stone fireplace at the end of the swimming pool.

This bedroom has oak flooring and double doors with views of the River Dart below.

boathouse bedroom
One of the bedrooms.

The bedrooms have a modern and airy feel to them, with plain white walls and large windows.

The library and study room has a built-in bookshelf with a ladder for the higher shelves.

boathouse library
The library.

The room also has a built-in storage cupboard.

Southwick said the property is ideal for anyone who has ever dreamed of living in a castle.

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A boathouse in Dartmouth, England, is on the market for $5.8 million.

"I just hope somebody can appreciate it," Southwick said, adding that it's the ideal home for anyone interested in living in a castle, or a property that looks like a castle.

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