In 1937, the local water company in Faversham built a water softening and purification plant consisting of two giant concrete funnels filled with lime. While the process works and is still sometimes used, the design of the building was flawed and it was eventually closed down and abandoned.
The Lime Works was bought in 2005 and (mostly) converted into an Art Deco-influenced home. The current owner, sculptor Jeff Lowe (a long-standing client of Unique) bought the building two years ago and has since continued the work of its last owners, putting his very personal stamp on it, and the surrounding land and buildings. It’s now a wonderfully eclectic home which houses not only his own sculptures but also a large collection of tribal art and other architectural and artistic curiosities from all over the world. The result is a visual feast which, by Jeff’s own admission, is still very much a work in progress. “If I’m not actively building I get bored,” says Jeff, “as well as making sculpture every day, there’s always something new I want to add to this place.”
One of those additions is an adjacent building, once full of redundant pipework, which he has transformed into a studio and workshop. The main building is quite unlike anything else. Essentially, it’s two enormous concrete funnels separated by a central tower. There are now living spaces both inside and outside the funnels, which makes for some fascinating room shapes, not to mention some pretty remarkable stairwells.
Jeff’s involvement with property goes back to his days as a recent graduate when, in need of somewhere to work, he managed to convince Lord McAlpine to build him a studio on a plot of land in Greenwich which he’d rented from the (then) ILEA. This early experience led him to buy what were, at the time, unwanted and unloved warehouses or industrial buildings and converting them into live/work spaces. In many ways, this latest venture of Jeff’s is the ultimate live/work space – a forgotten and unloved industrial pile which has been transformed into one of the country’s most remarkable homes.