Our Welcome Home feature is an opportunity to speak to Southsea residents about their abodes and what they like best about them. Kate Thompson interviews Jason West about his beautiful Southsea penthouse. Images by Portico Marketing
Home has taken on an even greater significance for us all as we are forced to stay put to beat the Coronavirus. The lockdown means we will all be getting reacquainted with our four walls over the coming weeks.
One man who is counting his blessings is Jason West. He has to have one of the best views in Southsea and he likes nothing more than looking out over the busy Solent.
“We feel very fortunate. It’s not a view, it’s like a kaleidoscope and I never get bored with it.
“At any one time there are a dozen little stories you can focus on from the sailing boats on the water to all the stuff going on the Common. It’s like a Lowry scene,” said Jason, who made Southsea his home in 2012.
He lives at Park House on Clarence Parade and has created a luxurious penthouse home complete with stunning outside space.
Originally, he bought the apartment that sits behind the one where he now lives. The idea was to do it up and rent it out.
“Initially I was going into partnership with Aaron Mokoena who was the Portsmouth FC captain. He found the flat and we were going to do-it-up together because I have been in real estate for 20 years.
“But then Portsmouth went into administration and he went back to South Africa,” explained Jason.
The opportunity came up to buy the adjoining flat which faces the sea – where Jason now lives. When planning permission was finally granted at appeal, Jason worked with Southsea’s Design Team Studios to create the architectural plans.
“As part of the consent I had to pay £65,000 into the freehold pot. The committee decided it would be a good idea to renovate the lobby areas and I designed a scheme for them to be built in an art deco style.
“By this time, I was running short of money, so I decided to do all the labouring myself. There are 62 steps to reach the apartment, so I had to carry everything up and, of course, bring everything back down again – including the rubble from seven chimney breasts.
“I like keeping fit and I was working from 7am to 7pm every day. On the day I finished, I went to Australia for six weeks and I knew all I needed to do was rest,” he said.
When asked what element of the development gives him the most pleasure, Jason doesn’t hesitate to answer.
“We have given justice to the views by fitting bi-folding doors and larger windows. Before there were narrow little windows and you couldn’t properly appreciate the beautiful vistas from the lounge and bedroom,” said Jason.
And perhaps the perfect finishing touch has been the addition of a 1950s telescope that used to be sited at Dover Castle.
“It’s one of those that you would pay 10p to be able to use. We had it reconditioned with stronger lenses and I must admit I like nothing more than looking out to sea.
“We can see half of the Isle of Wight and when the Round the Island race is on there is no finer site,” he said.
Kate Thompson is a Southsea writer with a passion for uncovering quirky human interest stories