An unexpected windfall
Words: Kate Thompson
As soon as you walk into Mark and Jan Taylor’s super stylish Southsea flat, you can tell it has been a much loved home for many years.
The couple are the perfect mix of ingenuity and know-how combined with a great eye for a mid-century bargain. Their choice of furniture and lighting sit perfectly in the light and airy ground floor flat they have remodelled to perfection.
Jan brushes off any attempts to flatter regarding her choice of furniture but will concede that she and Mark work well together. Often they have picked up great pieces online but, all too often she has grabbed a bargain in a market or second hand shop and Mark has breathed new life into it.
The garden, which wraps around the property in a series of tantalising spaces, proved invaluable during the pandemic. Their grandchildren love to feed the squirrels in the shadow of what must be Southsea’s most spectacular mmosa tree.
And on the other side of the property is a garden space complete with bar, spectacular seating area, and pizza oven which makes a fantastic entertainment area. Although, Jan laughs, her sister Bev always says it’s such a sociable garden with the two most unsociable people.
Mark can turn his hand to just about anything and Jan has been a willing accomplice, picking up many skills along the way.
“Jan and I have done everything ourselves, and being able to do that has meant we could be more adventurous in what we have done,” said Mark.
For most of his working life, Mark looked after the estate of a well-known Southsea property owner called Sadie Howe.
“My father looked after them before me and when I was 15, I joined him, and Sadie continued to run all 37 flats until the day she died,” explained Mark.
Imagine his surprise when he learned upon her death that Sadie had left him not just the flat that he lived in, but the entire property with another two flats above stating in her will it was for all his tremendous hard work over the years.
She so kindly left all the other properties to charity, and stipulated that Mark was to retain his job looking after the other 34 properties, which he continues to do, to this day.
Mark and Jan moved into the flat which they still call home and have enjoyed up-dating the properties interior/exterior for the past six years since inheriting it.
With retirement beckoning, the couple are looking to sell the block as an investment property, and are looking for a property they can leave their mark on once again.
“We’ve decorated so many times over the years and changed quite a bit, with the input and knowledge from sisters Gina and Bev, now it’s time to look for a new challenge”.
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