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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.

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.

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.

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.”



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